Taking Back Sunday - Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)

"Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" is a song from the Taking Back Sunday's debut album "Tell All Your Friends," released in 2002.


Story behind the song

This is a song about a boy who finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him and is confronting her about it. He tells her that he already knows and tells her that he'll kill himself for her. He says he knows he should hate her but he doesn't. [1]

Guitarist/co-vocalist John Nolan described this song as "a quick, compact version of what Taking Back Sunday does." [2]

The album title comes from a line in the chorus of this song: "And will you tell all your friends, you've got your gun to my head. This all was only wishful thinking." [1]

John Nolan admitted, that drummer Mark O'Connell came up with the musical concept for the song: "Mark came up with that intro part and chord progression, and possibly the chorus too... he was definitely the one who came and got the ball rolling with the music." [2]

Lead singer Adam Lazzara and John Nolan were responsible for the lyrics of the song. Adam explained, "It speaks a lot to where we were emotionally. We were young at the time, so it was our take on the relationships we had experienced." [2]

In late 2001, Taking Back Sunday hardly planned this song to end up as a single. John Nolan stated, "I don't think we had any concept that any song we wrote for that record would ever be a single at all when we were writing, or even after the record was done." [2]

Later, Adam Lazzara changed the line "all of this was all your fault" to "all of this was all my fault" because "it became hard to just be pointing the finger at somebody so openly and blatantly." [2]

Music videos

Official music video

The video was inspired by the movie Fight Club. John Nolan and Adam Lazzara shared a room at the time. They and their roommates didn't have cable television, they had only 2 or 3 movies, so they got to the point, where Fight Club was always on, even if no one was watching it. [2]

So at some point, their director Christian Winters came with the idea of making a video based on it. [2]

Adam Lazzara recalled, "Our buddy Christian Winters was doing videos. At that time, it was a less of an 'Oh, this one will be the single' and more of a 'Hey, do you want to make a video?' kind of thing. And it just happened to be that song." [2]

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Live version

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Live version from Atticus Dragging the Lake DVD (2003) at the Ventura Theater.

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Live performance in 2002.

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Acoustic version of the song performed in 2009.

Notable covers

There are several piano covers of the song on Youtube.

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Piano cover from "justinnovak06" Youtube channel.

Gear and settings


John Nolan

John Nolan used Guild M-75 Aristocrat.

He also used Gibson SG in live performances.

Eddie Reyes

Hard to say for sure, which guitar was used during the recording, as he uses a rather wide variety of guitars. But in the official video, he plays on black Fender American Elite Stratocaster.

Shaun Cooper

Shaun Cooper is a user of Fender Jazz Bass.

Amps and effects

John Nolan

Marshall JCM800 100W head with Marshall 1960A angled cabinet loaded with Celestion 30W speakers.

Shaun Cooper

Shaun Cooper used Ampeg SVT-CL Bass Amp Head with Ampeg cab.

Amp settings

  • Gain - 4-5
  • Treble - 3-4
  • Mids - 7
  • Bass - 7


Guitars: standard tuning (E A D G B E).

Bass: standard tuning (E A D G).

Song key

The song is written in the key D flat minor.


This song is mostly based on power chords and arpeggios. Also, a good palm muting technique is needed.

Song breakdown

The song has the following structure:

Intro - Verse 1 - Chorus 1 - Verse 2 - Chorus 2 - Interlude - Bridge - Collision

The intro of the song starts with several chord strums, supported with Adam Lazzara's vocals. Then the main riff is played. It consists of two palm-muted guitar lines: the lead guitar plays arpeggios, while the rhythm guitar - power chords. This pattern continues in verses.

In choruses, both guitars play power chords.

The interlude and the following bridge contain a notable bass line, while the lead guitar performs arpeggios with hammer-on/pull-off combinations. In the middle of the bridge, this pattern breaks and the lead guitar plays power chords, followed by palm-muted arpeggio line.

During the collision, the lead guitar plays a single-note riff, while the rhythm guitar performs muted power chords.

The song ends with three power chords.

Guitar cover

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Bass cover

Note, that this bass cover is performed on the 5-string bass guitar, though the 5th string isn't used.

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  1. 1 2 SongFacts.com "'Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)' by Taking Back Sunday"
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 AltPress.com "BackTracking: Taking Back Sunday on 'Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)' by Philip Obenschain"