Review Summary: sick of writing every song about you
Don't you just love giving albums a 5-star rating? I do. It used to be something I gave a lot of albums, and then I thought, Well shouldn't it be a sacred thing; only the best
get it? But then I started listening to more music, having more bad days, connecting with more albums, thinking that maybe 5-star ratings aren't so exclusive after all. It's all subjective yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard that whole story before. Whatever.
So what does that have to do with Taking Back Sunday? Well, when I was 14, they were kind of the shi
t. "A Decade Under The Influence" rocked my religiously-inclined mind. I saw the music video for "This Photograph Is Proof" and I remember thinking the bridge was spacey. Weird. (I hadn't heard Tell All Your Friends at that point.) Anyway, recently I became pretty addicted to Louder Now and then Where You Want To Be and then lastly Tell All Your Friends. I thought, This is good pop right here. I listened and listened day after day, eventually settling on Tell All Your Friends as my favorite, and I have some reasons for that and here they are.
I consider myself an atheist, but if there was a god his name is Adam Lazzara. Listen to Taking Back Sunday's music and at first he sounds kind of generic, not much of a standout, scratchy, annoys your friends, whatever. Metalheads hate him, etc. All the prerequisites are met. That's at first, remember. Time moves on, you come back to them, you hear lines like "You're such a sucker for a sweet talker" delivered with precision, every breath masterfully under control, every vocal stop-and-start planned out. Or maybe it's spontaneous. Spontaneous sounds better, yeah. It gives the performance a bit more mystique. The best is "Ghost Man On Third," all breathy intonations, ups and downs, spastic but in a laid back sort of way, a seizure in slow motion. There's also some lovely female vocals towards the end, courtesy of Michelle Nolan. "Cute Without The E" is the other obvious vocal standout, containing the aforementioned "sweet talker" line along with the classic "Why can't I feel anything from anyone other than you?". It is a shame that a vocal performance this nuanced and intricate should be passed over by so many. A scratch here, a break there, a whine somewhere else, a breath there. Notice these things. Love them.
Yeah, Tell All Your Friends is power chords and clean strums and palm muting and reverb. Is that such a big deal? With songs this good, it shouldn't be. Driving bass underneath "We won't stand for hazy eyes anymore," clean picked accentuation of "You've got this silly way of keeping me on the edge of my seat," roundabout drumming on top of "If we go down we go down together." It's all here, solid and undeniably catchy. Drum on your computer desk. Tap your fingers on your thigh. It's not so hard. You might like it. Try "You're So Last Summer," thick and dense with airy atmosphere, a relentless progression with crashing cymbals. If you're embarrassed, shut your door. Eventually you won't care anymore about whether a song has a solo or if there are blast beats or if that guy from Wintersun could have played a little less sloppy in 2004. Genres disappear. In their place? Just music. You're free now.
I got my palms read today. My lifelines are apparently very long (but at 60 I'm going to have an illness, such as diabetes or high blood pressure), so that means I have plenty of time to listen to this classic album. Assuming you have friends to tell, go do that.