I have been iffy on The Used in recent years. I loved their first two albums: their self titled and "In Love and Death". "Take it Away", "I Caught Fire", "On my Own", "Maybe Memories", "Box Full of Sharp Objects", "Choke Me"- all incredible songs. However "Lies for the Liars" was an inconsistent album, having some really good songs (liar liar) and some pretty bad ones (smother me), and with the exception of maybe "Blood on my Hands" and "Empty With You", "Artwork" was a largely forgettable album in my honest opinion.
To be clear however, I am not some bellyaching fanboy, which is what most people who criticized "Artwork" seemed to be (often unfairly) labeled as. I have no problem with a band maturing and trying to do new things; all the best ones do. Just when it came down to it, I simply didn't enjoy the vast majority of the music on artwork.
So for the most part after "Artwork" I kinda forgot about The Used. They have a history of taking a long time between albums so I figured I had a few years before I would be listening to them again. I didn't even know until last week that the used were releasing this record. So with the open mind I always bring into music, I preordered it on amazon. However, Zune Music Pass released the album a bit early so I have already listened to the album in its entirety multiple times. All I have to say is that it is really, really good, reversing a troublesome trend where to me The Used's albums were progressively worse.
"I Come Alive" is the kickoff track. It's a really great song and gets you pumped up, of course in a completely different way than their earlier albums' first tracks did. Nevertheless, it was a great a kickoff track, with brilliantly performed vocals, especially toward the end. The next song is "This Fire", another good song. The chorus in this song lives up to the title, absolute fire. The song is just raw enough to remind you that these are definitely the same guys we fell in love with a decade ago (well, minus one drummer).
The next song is "Hands and Faces", which I have mixed feelings about. I definitely do not like the auto-tuning of Bert's great voice in the verses. But, after a few listens, the awesome chorus makes up for it. Next is "Put me Out", probably my least favorite song on the album. Not bad at all, just a bit too messy and repetitive for my taste. The next song is "Shine", probably my next least favorite. Again it's good, but seems a bit too generic and never feels like The Used. However it's positive message is a refreshing change of pace from the usual lyrical content of the band.
After my two least favorite comes what may be my favorite track on the record: "Now That Your Dead". After an eerie and weird intro the song just explodes, into probably the hardest song the band released since Sound Effects and Overdramatics. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that this song is the used returning to its roots. It sounds nothing like anything they ever did, but it's awesome nonetheless and it's nice to hear Bert scream again. The next two tracks, "Give me love" and "Moving On" are also incredible songs and relatively fast paced.
That pace changes with the ballad "Getting Over You", another close candidate for the best song on the album. I can usually take or leave their ballads because I make the mistake of comparing all of them to one of my all time favorite songs, "On my Own". But this one actually doesn't pale in comparison and deserves a spot among the band's greatest songs.
Back to fast-paced kickassness with "Kiss it Goodbye", another quite hard song. Really awesome. This is followed by "Hurt No One", an interesting change in vocal style for Bert, but it works in every way.
The final song is "Together Burning Bright", another ballad, and another top five song on this album. It's hard to overestimate how powerful and beautiful this song is. I will say though that you will hear six words you would never expect Bert to sing: "I think it's gonna be alright"
Overall, this album is absolutely fantastic. It is easily top 3, and I would even put it ahead on In Love and Death and call it their second best ever, their best in a decade. This album is awesome.
I Come Alive: 5/5
This Fire: 3/5
Hands and Faces: 5/5
Put Me Out: 2/5
Now that You're Dead: 5/5
Give Me Love: 5/5
Moving On: 4/5
Getting Over You: 5/5
Kiss It Goodbye: 4/5
Hurt No One: 5/5
Together Burning Bright: 5/5
51 score divided by 12 tracks= 4.25/5
4.25/5- Great Album
If i messed up my math or if you just feel differently, please post a comment for me. Also I typed this whole thing on an iPad so point out any grammar flubs for me. Thanks for reading!