New Again review by Taking Back Sunday

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jun 2, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (57 votes)
Taking Back Sunday: New Again
2

Sound — 9
I 2002's Tell All Your Friends put New York's Taking Back Sunday on the map as the frontrunners for the emo' scene. We'll let that be the only time that word gets brought up, dont worry. 2004 brought Where You Want To Be, their second album and first with guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino after the departure of John Nolan (see: Straylight Run). After Louder Now (2007), Mascherino, too, fled the band (see: The Color Fred), and they were forced to find yet another new guitarist. Lineup changes are nothing new to this band, after dropping 2 bassists (one being Jesse Lacey; see: Brand New), a drummer, a lead vocalist and 2 lead guitarists; the band has made about as many changeups as Guns n' Rose. The one remaining member is rhythm guitarist and Taking Back Sunday founder Eddie Reyes, the Axl Rose to his Guns, minus all the negatives that come along with being Axl Rose. In 2008, the search commenced and was finished rather quickly. Now up to bat is Matt Fazzi, who fills his role perfectly, and blends so well its almost as if hes been secretly practicing with these guys for years. Fittingly, this first outing with Fazzi is titled New Again. The album was produced by David Kahne, who also produced such works as The Strokes' First Impressions Of Earth and Sublime's self titled album. All factual information aside, it's time for me to be daring: I like this album more than Tell All Your Friends. Maybe it's the fact that I was a mere 10 year old when TAYF was big? Could be. Most likely. Yeah. But after subjectively listening to TAYF multiple times after its peak, I am conclusive about this. Though I love its raw sound and John Nolan's vocals, there were just too many things I dislike about it, the main being the use of Head Club as the closer instead of the unreleased track, The Ballad Of Sal Villanueva. Had Ballad not existed, this wouldn't matter, because of Head Club's sheer power as a closer itself. The other, and I'm bound to break some hearts with this, being the first half of Ghost Man On Third. That's a story for another day though. But were being New Again, right?. The album is quite the departure from TAYF, due to the band's maturity both age-wise and musically. In a recent online interview with MTV, front man Adam Lazzara says, That first record, I was like 18. I'm no longer 18. As far as lyrically, as you grow, you come across a lot of different challenges, and writing like she hurt me! is just doing a big disservice to myself. And a big goal is to keep growing and changing. I don't understand why bands try to write the same album over and over. And they certainly avoided this sophomoric trend.

Lyrics — 7
Lyrically, New Again is Lazzara's most simplistic work. The lyrics are incredibly straightforward, save for a few metaphors here and there (The flower tongue wilts with too much sun from Lonely, Lonely), but they're some of the most honest lyrics he's done. However, the simplicity can sometimes drag songs down. In the rather lackluster drug lament Where My Mouth Is, he repeats the adage of I put my money where my mouth is a few too many times, and it also contains a snoozer chorus: Yeah I had it all, was sitting on top of the world, but I threw it away just to prove that I could. The album is littered with decent enough lines (Lover lover tell me this: passion over consequence, when did the latter take the lead? from Swing, a personal favorite) to keep lyric fiends fairly satisfied. Adam's vocals on New Again are some of the lowest they've ever been. He, for the most part, refrains from the higher, passionate vocals he's made us so accustomed to, and replaces them with the slightly more aggressive vocals reminiscent of songs like Twenty Twenty Surgery or What's It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?. This isn't to say his vocals aren't passionate, but he definitely shows glimpses that he can still sing like old Taking Back Sunday, and it's most apparent in the album's closer Everything Must Go. The song is one of the more personal songs they've written, and there's something in the way Lazzara shrieks in the bridge The love you had we couldn't leave, the past that we were stuck between, beside myself I start to think, Lord what have I done?', you know he's one hundred percent meaningful, and you know he's still got the ability. Not to mention he does his best Daryl Palumbo impression in the breakdown of Catholic Knees, which is bonus points.

Overall Impression — 8
New Again is one of those albums you may be reluctant to listen to, simply because of the band's ever-changing direction. The always evolving Taking Back Sunday does just that; change and evolve. This album, to me, is a step up from Louder Now, especially in the drum department, and is far more tightly produced, the sound being somewhat of a mix of WYWTB and LN. Where You Want To Be still ranks as my favorite Taking Back Sunday album, but this one is very very close behind, surpassing Tell All Your Friends and keeping Louder Now at the bottom of the totem pole. If Taking Back Sunday knows one thing, it's how to properly close an album. Whether it's the repeated Don't call my name out your window, I'm leaving of Head Club, (I know I gave that song some flak for not being my closer of choice, it's still a damn good one in it's own right), the chant of Tonight won't make a difference of Slowdance On the Inside, the swirling noise build in I'll Let You Live, or the sheer passion in Everything Must Go, each album comes to quite the conclusion. Key tracks like Cut Me Up Jenny, Lonely, Lonely, Carpathia, and Everything Must Go make for an extremely enjoyable album with tons of longevity, and allows for multiple plays through (thanks, last.fm). New Agai marks a new era of Taking Back Sunday, one you may love or hate, but one you have to appreciate. They've been daring enough to try and change with each album they put out, and have succeeded yet again.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Bair
    CrabSoldier X wrote: Bair wrote: this album sucked so bad nah, it really doesnt though i doubt youve even listened to it. just so quick to hate. i think its a great album
    i have been listening to for a few weeks now because it leaked really early and i was honestly excited to hear anything new from them...did i ever learn my lesson
    DontFightTheFoo
    I miss Fred. His guitar and voice really made TBS, TBS. New Again is starting to grow on me though.
    the99thaisle
    For me, a lot of the vocals on the first album were just annoying, so I didn't really become a TBS fan until I heard A Decade Under the Influence and This Photograph Is Proof (I Know You Know). My favorite TBS album is Louder Now; I can listen to that one from start to finish with only one hiccup (I usually skip Divine Intervention and Miami). In my mind, with the exception of a handful of actually great tracks, New Again misses the mark in that there's too much Adam and not enough Fred (i.e., none). I miss their vocal interplay, and Fred's personality and delivery. Fred's solo project The Color Fred is fantastic, and I hope he continues to release music in the future. Hopefully TBS will find their niche and have continued success with the new guy too.
    legendarytabber
    I think that this was definietly a good album for Taking Back Sunday. Very good lyrics Frazzi is a good guitarist he doesn't stand out as much as Fred, but in time he will. The only thing I say missing from this album is the vocal call and answer technique they did on Louder Now and Where You Want To Be. Overall best songs on the album are "Cut Me Up Jenny". "Swing", "Everything Must Go", and "Carpathia".
    Thomasoman
    Cut me up jenny is a great song. I thought this was a pretty damn good album. People just don't like change, especially in a band as established as TBS. They're still a good band and it's still a catchy album, and honestly, catchy is all TBS have ever been good for.
    na10tbolt
    I'm seeing them Tuesday. I think this new album is good, especially in the shadow of Fred and the other million people that left, and in the shadow of TAYF and WYWTB. Their studio work has gotten a lot more accessible, but they've also become adults now, so the same things that were important on TAYF aren't important now. Don't you think it would be weird for a 28 something year old guy to complain about a girl or some friend who stabbed him in the back? The problem is these guys haven't matured on their insturments or in their composition like some other bands *cough*brand new*cough*.
    shooshi123
    LewisMasonx wrote: I wish Fazzi got more vocals.
    I agree. Personally I think this albums awesome, the sounds really clean in parts and yet kinda heavier in others - its far more diverse than past taking back sunday albums.
    bequickorbedead
    For me, TBS have never fulfilled the potential that TAYF showed. WYWTB was weak, Louder Now was worse, and New Again seems to have even more tracks that I just hit the skip button for. This album is everything I expected, average at best. Sure there are a few half decent tracks but far too many mediocre ones. ...and anyone else think New Again is the worst song TBS have ever written?
    Alexishxc1337
    bequickorbedead wrote: ...and anyone else think New Again is the worst song TBS have ever written?
    Where My Mouth Is
    Schmeg Junior
    Ya know, I agree that TBS has never quite matched the quality of Tell All Your Friends and Where You Want To Be, but I don't think that they've ever been a bad band. Of course they've changed, they've matured musically and in age. I'm actually very proud to call myself a Taking Back Sunday fan after this album. Sure it's different, but it's still really good. And would you want them to just constantly write the same album? I think it's cool when bands evolve in such ways. It takes a lot of balls to do so too. So, hats off to TBS in my opinion. And, just to put my two cents in, I think Fazzi is the best guitarist this band has seen, but John Nolan has my top pick as second vocalist.
    KurdtStaley
    never was a big TBS fan, but i just got this album off the pirate bay after listening to the title track and am liking it thus far. departing from emo is definitely a big improvement. can't take a band that writes an entire album about being heartbroken.. need to write about some more interesting shit, this album still lacks good theme's/messages and is too straight forward. it's seems pretty decent though, once i really internalize the music maybe i'll have better things to say about it.
    tbs_nismo
    Personally, I'm glad Fred is gone. I just didn't like his voice matched with Adam's. John was by far the best vocalist to go along with Adam's vocals. However, that is the past. I think this album is pretty damn good. I admit, I didn't like it at first, but that's because I was expecting the "old" tbs. If you listen to this album with an open mind about how they have grown up you will appreciate it a lot more. I love it. 4 out of 5 for me.
    pigmaggots
    bobdoerr wrote: I thought Louder Now was an incredible release with incredible production and such a driving (awesome sounding) low end. To me this Taking Back record is a joke. I truly believe Louder Now is a record all engineers and lovers of great tone should study. New Again drives on a more ambient, softer side and it just feels like a shitty follow up release to Tell All Your Friends. (without Nolan). In my opinion they took a few steps backwards on this one. Carpathia and New Again are good tracks, maybe I'll like it more after a few listens. haha anyone else hate sink into me?
    I thought Louder Now was that terrible that i'm not going to listen to this release.
    tremblingwater
    the drums are just so weak in this album. Thats what i can notice first, then the fact that the duel vocals as people have mentioned. I liked nolan but i also liked fred, fazzi is good, although i dont think he brings as much to tbs then the others did. its a shame, i like tbs. This album is average. Not at good as any of the other albums. These songs aren't that much either, its sad to say but none really speak out at all. i hope they pick themselves up and get away from the standard basic sounding songs.
    kylepianoman
    I didn't find myself loving this album like I did the other 3. There aren't really any horrible songs (I can't stand sink into me with all the clapping and stuff... too cheesy) but I haven't really found any tracks I'd play over and over again. I've loved everything they've made so far (demo, tayf, wywtb, and even louder now) except for miami so it's a shame to be missing all the dual vocals and energy that fred and nolan brought
    Spay
    I've listened to the album several times over and I can't get myself to really 'love' more than a couple songs. Decent album, I still thin Mascherino was a better guitarist and vocalist.
    eltravo
    Spay wrote: I've listened to the album several times over and I can't get myself to really 'love' more than a couple songs. Decent album, I still thin Mascherino was a better guitarist and vocalist.
    You should really listen to Fazzi's old band Facing New York then. I say with confidence that Fazzi is the most overall skilled musician in Taking Back Sunday. Love this album though. Gets me really excited for what they'll do next.
    landspeed24
    i never thought i would read two different reviews about a taking back sunday record and get two guns n roses references, anyone else find this kind of odd? Anyway, i like the record, think it may be there best since tell all your friends...
    bobdoerr
    I thought Louder Now was an incredible release with incredible production and such a driving (awesome sounding) low end. To me this Taking Back record is a joke. I truly believe Louder Now is a record all engineers and lovers of great tone should study. New Again drives on a more ambient, softer side and it just feels like a shitty follow up release to Tell All Your Friends. (without Nolan). In my opinion they took a few steps backwards on this one. Carpathia and New Again are good tracks, maybe I'll like it more after a few listens. haha anyone else hate sink into me?
    Cheesepuff
    I miss John.. His little lyrical inserts were the best... there are no overdone dueling vocals on this album... that was the best part about taking back sunday...
    vindapop
    i love this album, i think its more different compared to the two albums with fred in than what people make it out to be. Swing and Carpathia stand-out tracks for me, but i love them all to be honest
    zombie_brad
    This album is average at best.. "Tell All Your Friends" and "Where You Want To Be" are solid albums, but since then they have been going downhill. Now that Fred's gone I give the band two years or so until they disband. Without John Nolan they survived because of Fred, but now that Fred is gone Taking Back Sunday is just weak.
    xDeathxMetalx
    why do you all hate on every cd?. some of you shy away from the rest which i respect. but, for the rest if you dont have anything to good to say about the album, leave it at that. dont type for an hour about something you hate. leave it to yourself, because you may hate it but others might love it. i Personally love this cd. i think Matt Fazzi is a great addition and a great guitarist and vocalist. as a guitarist definately better than Fred Mascherino but as a vocalist, idk im still iffy on that situation honestly.
    swaxq123
    zombie_brad wrote: This album is average at best.. "Tell All Your Friends" and "Where You Want To Be" are solid albums, but since then they have been going downhill. Now that Fred's gone I give the band two years or so until they disband. Without John Nolan they survived because of Fred, but now that Fred is gone Taking Back Sunday is just weak.
    I disagree, I think Louder Now was a very solid album. It's my favourite of all four. The loss of Fred on this record is noticeable as I don't find myself loving every track like I did with louder now. However I think their new guitarist is an adequate replacement (guitar riffs in "Swing" and "Everything must go") and in no way do I see them disbanding in the near future.
    corrie_911
    i think fazzi is a great guitarist, but his vocals sound too similar to adam's to do the two-vocal plays they used to, and while he is a great guitarist, i don't think his style fits tbs. at least not the tbs i'm used to, but i guess that's why it's called "new again"
    CrabSoldier X
    Bair wrote: this album sucked so bad
    nah, it really doesnt though i doubt youve even listened to it. just so quick to hate. i think its a great album
    cobra_disco
    to be honest i think the album is a great album. all you people saying it is to "soft", the go listen to some screamo if it isnt heavy enough for you.
    seventh_angel
    Hum, I just think they don't sound like they did. The lack of dueling voals really throws me away and I didn't listen to anything I call memorable... Catholic Knees, Carpathia and Everything Must Go are the stand outs for me. They've actually been in a constant descent, Tell All Your Friends was an impecable album with loads of "classics" if I may call them. Where You Want To Go was good but not great. Louder Now had just a couple of really good songs... This album is just... Not them as I used to see.
    wecouldfall
    tbs will never top TAYF. this is nearly a certainty, especially because they get worse with every album. new again is a miserable wreck. adam's voice has somehow degenerated. the lyrics are some of the worst i have ever heard. the album may be new again, but it's new in a terrible, horrible way. john nolan has moved onto better things with straylight run, and it is very clear he is a much better songwriter than adam. we can only reminisce about old tbs, and what tbs could have been.