Released: Jun 28, 2011
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Warner Bros
Number Of Tracks: 11
Taking Back Sunday has come full circle by once again featuring the debut album's lineup, and in the process it also stays in its comfort zone.
Taking Back Sunday
UG Team, on june 29, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: For those fans of Taking Back Sunday's 2002 release "Tell All Your Friends", it should be satisfying to know the alternative rockers have returned to the lineup featured on that debut record. In the process the new eponymous release doesn't stray too far out of the band's comfort zone, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, Taking Back Sunday captures a fairly nice balance between the pop and rock worlds. One could argue there is definitely a stronger pop vibe on the latest album, but the emotionally driven vocals of Adam Lazzara often provide a much-needed edge in any case.
The record kicks off with actually one of the best tracks of the 11, "El Paso". While the tempo isn't necessarily the most energetic at first listen and the verse is stripped down to just percussion and vocals at times, it allows for the larger-than-life, screamed chorus to basically slap you in the face in the best way possible. The arrangement is one of the most unique on the self-titled album and "El Paso" ends up being one of the most aggressive and refreshing offerings. The biggest issue with the record is that the aggressive side of the band does tend to get overshadowed by the pop sensibility on the remaining tracks.
If there's one constant that you'll find on the new album is the presence of big, sing-along choruses. Producer Eric Valentine has put a great emphasis on layered vocals, with Lazzara's harmonies often taking the spotlight. "Faith (When I Let You Down)", "Who Are You Anyway", and "This Is All Now" all feature Taking Back Sunday's chorus crescendos. While the reliable, instantly likable choruses are satisfying, the moments that are truly fantastic are when the band delves into garage rock ("Money (Let It Go)") or perhaps just embraces their inner emo nature ("Call Me In The Morning"). // 7
Lyrics: The lyrical content is undoubtedly aided by Lazzara's intense delivery, but even without that ace in the hole there are more than a few intriguing lines on the self-titled release. In "El Paso" you get bizarre lyrics like, "My eyes got sore, oh, those perverts are sick; I have the truth on my tongue; Hadn't know until when; What I wanted to know, whether god was away; Cause I was there as you, you play." At the other end of the spectrum is "This Is All Now" that features content that has an in-your-face message ("I know you mean well; With your ancient code of ethics; Lead by example; Can you imagine Christ hitting a child?"). There are undeniable eye-raising instances in the lyrical content, which does bolster songs that might just be so-so otherwise. // 8
Overall Impression: The self-titled album is enjoyable in many rights, although there is nothing too out of the ordinary happening this time around. A song like "Sad Savior" might start out a bit too much like "Everybody Hurts" in the first few moments, but the band wisely discards any similarities pretty quickly. "El Paso" represents one of the best tracks on the album and in Taking Back Sunday's entire catalog, and that in itself is worthy of note. The record won't necessarily make converts out of anyone who didn't feel it necessary to listen to Taking Back Sunday in the past, but fans should still be satisfied in general. // 7
Taking Back Sunday
TheBDanAbstract, on june 29, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Taking Back Sunday return in full force for the follow up to 2009's misstep "New Again". The record, simply named "Taking Back Sunday", is the first Taking Back Sunday record for bassist Shaun Cooper and guitarist/vocalist/pianist John Nolan since 2002's "Tell All Your Friends".
The album opens with a full on rock song in "El Paso". Ironically channeling Brand New, the album takes off with probably the heaviest song TBS has written to date. It then slides into the uplifting sing along "Faith (When I Let You Down)". Present is a more mature sound, like that of "New Again", but with better and more focused songwriting.
The album really shifts into gear with arguably the best song on the record "Best Places To Be A Mom". Nolan's complementary vocals and lead guitar are top notch here as well as in "Sad Savior", the ballad of sorts for the album.
Taking two complete left turns from the previous songs, "Who Are You Anyways?" is a pop-rocker with a great bridge, and "Money (Let It Go)" displays some surf rock basslines and a fast and catchy chorus.
"This Is All Now" is probably the most beautiful song on the album. I can not find a single complaint with this song. I've found myself listening to this song dozens of times already.
One of the better TBS riffs of all time makes up the intro/chorus of "This Doesn't Feel A Thing Like Falling", and in a way is kind of the last up note for the album. The album finishes with "Since You're Gone" and "You Got Me", two solid rock songs but nothing better than the previous songs. The record wraps up with the slow ballad "Call Me In The Morning", a lackluster ballad with very uninspiring vocal melodies. // 8
Lyrics: I've always been an avid fan of Adam Lazzara's awkward vocal approach and writing style. His unique phrasing and snarling vocal style never seems tired or generic. John Nolan is back with his signature rough no nonsense approach to vocals. Nolan is one of my all time favorite vocalists and one I've always mimicked when singing in the car. His parts on the album may not be as memorable as the ones featured on "Tell All Your Friends", but are just as every bit as passionate and beautiful. // 10
Overall Impression: For anyone who had hopes of a "Tell All Your Friends" Pt. II once the Cooper/Nolan reunion was announced, you may need to go into this album with an open mind. It is certainly not a Pt. II to any of Taking Back Sunday previous work, but more of a further evolution of the band. While this is nothing short of a great album by the Long Islanders, it seems like the more mature sound they're progressing towards isn't really Taking Back Sunday. Maybe it's because of my attachment to "Tell All Your Friends" (one of my top 10 favorite albums of all time), but that is by no means me telling you not to enjoy this album. There is plenty for the casual and hardcore music fan o love here, but maybe not as much for a Taking Back Sunday purist. // 8