Sound — 10
Taking Back Sunday ever since their release of "Tell All Your Friends", there seems to be an endlessly multiplying number of bands trying to imitate that sound and (hopefully) adding their own twist to it but Taking Back Sunday needs no twists. With this album, Taking Back Sunday really does outdo themselves. Not just simple power chords played over and over, (well not always) but it really does have interesting progressions played, especially since there's two guitarists, not one. I was listening to the album in one speakerphone and it doesn't give half the same impact as you do when you listen to it in both ears. The audio layers are recorded very well, and the two guitars, the drums, and the bass overlap each other very well. The riffs are A+ material. And wow, the vocals just blow you away. Adam is very talented as a vocalist and gets his voice to very high notes, and then can hold them for a long time. And to make the album sound even more amazing, Fred Mascherino, the new guitarist, (formerly of Breaking Pangaea) adds his own vocals to the mix, including agonizing screams to add that razor edge to each time Adam pours out his heart.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics wow. Probably the strongest aspect of the album. Adam Lazzara, you can't doubt the man's power in writing songs. After Taking Back Sunday's "Tell All Your Friends", I really was nervous that the lyrics in "Where You Want to Be" would never amount to the first album. And well, look now! I have been proven ever so wrong! The album starts out with "Set Phasers to Stun", a song TBS has played live only a handful of times, and it sounds awesome on the album. Adam screams, "I'm sorry it took me so long!" and it just seems as if hes shouting an apology to the fans, for not releasing an album 2 years after the first was recorded. They sing about love, friends' betrayal, heart break, and well, things you'd expect your typical emo band to sing about. And friends' betrayal what a topic to sing about. "A Decade Under the Influence" screams about John & Shaun leaving Taking Back Sunday in 2003, and all of their friends, including Brand New's Jesse Lacey, taking their side. He even borrows lyrics from their own bands, and rearranges them as an extra shove to their faces. (Brand New's "We Used to Be this dying breed, and Straylightrun's "Something sad and delicate"). And to give that final "screw you", "To hell with you and all your friends." On "the Union", Adam seems to sing about his own popularity, sort of giving himself that rockstar persona. "I never started a scene, they came to me." Or maybe he's not singing about his scene status? Maybe it means something else in its entirety? Its up the listener to decide, giving him the choice of what the lyrics mean to him or herself.
Overall Impression — 10
Compared to 2002's "Tell All Your Friends", Taking Back Sunday has proven that they are no one-hit-wonder-album-making band. And even with a new guitarist/extra vocalist and bassist to back them up, no talent has been lost. Theres alot of promise for these guys in the future and I can't wait to see them live this summer on Warped Tour. I still haven't bought the real copy of this cd, considering it's not out yet but once it's released I'll be there, waiting in line to purchase a real copy of it. This cd is worth it ladies and gentlemen. I listened to it over twenty times the first day I recieved it and I won't be sick of it for a while. I skip no tracks, not even the slow-paced accoustic, "The New American Classic". Everything moves in perfect unison, and the cd packs punch after punch, in perfect order. This is a cd not to miss this summer, especially if you liked "Tell All Your Friends."