Review Summary: I told all my friends, but they got me arrested for threatening to murder you.The Long Island Sound: A Reflection on Suburban New York's Musical History – Part 2
It’s rather unfortunate when a town’s claim to fame is a grisly mass murder that occurred nearly forty years ago. Perhaps the most well known thing about the town of Amityville is the night Ronald DeFeo, Jr. murdered his parents, brothers and sisters on the night of November 13th, 1974 in the house on 112 Ocean Avenue. The event has since been documented in the novel The Amityville Horror
by Jay Anson, which details the haunting of a family that moves into the house where the killings took place. Multiple movies have been made about the haunted house, making it perhaps the most prominent thing to come out of the small Suffolk County town on the Island’s south shore.
Luckily, Taking Back Sunday are the second most prominent thing to come out of Amityville, and for a damn good reason. Their emotional vocal performances coupled with relatable subject matter and catchy hooks made way for them to rise to the top of the emo scene in 2002 with their landmark debut album, Tell All Your Friends
. Although they’ve never been able to recapture the same magic they had, it’s always nice to see them try (well, maybe not always
). With tracks like “Timberwolves at New Jersey” and “You Know How I Do”, is it any surprise that Taking Back Sunday propelled themselves to stardom with such an amazing record?
At the surface, Tell All Your Friends
doesn’t seem like anything special – power chords, clean guitarwork and more power chords certainly doesn’t appear to be all that complex, and it’s definitely not more complex than Your Favorite Weapon
. Yet, even through its simplicity, there’s a sense of energy and passion that resonates through each of the album’s ten songs. Whether it’s Adam Lazarra’s pained cries of “And all of this was all your fault” on “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)” or his assertive declaration that is “This is me with the words on the tip of my tongue, and my eye through the scope down the barrel of a gun” on “Timberwolves at New Jersey”, his vocals add layers of emotion that flawlessly encapsulate the stages of a broken heart.
Album highlight “You’re So Last Summer” is the perfect summary of the album in one song. With its infectious hook of “Maybe I should hate you for this, never really did ever quite get that far”, overdramatic lyrics and effective use of power chords, it’s easily one of the band’s quintessential songs. There’s always times where belting out “if you could slit my throat, with my one last gasping breath I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt” is awfully appropriate and relatable, which is, after all, Tell All Your Friends
greatest strength. Without Lazarra, the band wouldn’t be nearly as good as they were, and it definitely shows. Every scream, every hushed cry, every brokenhearted ***-you is Taking Back Sunday’s calling card.
The road splits in two. I stay on the left and turn left onto Hempstead Turnpike. Next stop? Amityville.
The drive to Brand New’s hometown was perfectly complemented with the best soundtrack possible. I take a second during the red light to open up my glove compartment, rip open the CD cover and ram the disc into the slit. Several honks follow as the light turns to green and I slam it close. Stepping on the pedal as soon as the opening notes of “You Know How I Do”, I remember exactly what made Tell All Your Friends
such a landmark album in the genre. Although it’s rather unfortunate that Taking Back Sunday’s best album had to be its first, there’s still a small part of me that still holds onto the hope that maybe, just maybe, they’ll top this
The album isn’t perfect – there are some spots that lack the band’s brand of energy, and as a result, suffer from it. Those spots are few and far between, but when they do come up it shows. But for now, I’m too busy relishing in the greatness of “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)” to care, screaming “Why can’t I feel anything from anyone other than you?” at top of my lungs. The in-car jam session is, in fact, so overwhelming that I forget to bear right at the fork to merge onto NY 105, Fulton Street. “There’s No ‘I’ in Team” follows, and as I sharply turn right on NY 110, Broad Hollow Road, I decide that hey, maybe I should tell all my friends about this amazing album.
PART III: I was all that you had...