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Taking Back Sunday - New Again Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.75
Musicianship 8.75
Lyrics 7.75
Production 9
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 89%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.04
Musicianship 8.11
Lyrics 7.96
Production 7.86
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 6.57
Reviewer Tilt 7.82
Average: 78%
Inside AP.net

Taking Back Sunday - New Again

Reviewed by: kamikaze_alex (06/02/09)
Taking Back Sunday - New Again
Record Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 2nd, 2009

2002’s Tell All Your Friends put New York’s Taking Back Sunday on the map as frontrunners of the ‘emo’ scene. We’ll let that be the only time that word gets brought up. 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’ Roses. 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 that it‘s almost as if he's 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, therefore not being 'mature' enough to be subjective about music? Could be. Most likely. Yeah.

But after subjectively listening to TAYF multiple times after its "peak," I am completely 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 being "Ghost Man On Third" (save for the outro). Plus, the production is shoddy. That’s a story for another day though. After all, the band is 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, frontman 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.

Lyrically, New Again is Lazzara’s most simplistic work. The lyrics are incredibly straightforward, save for a few metaphors here and there (“Your 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 good 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-criticizing kids everywhere fairly satisfied.

Adam’s vocals on New Again are some of the lowest they’ve ever been. For the most part, he 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 but couldn't name, 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. In "Cut Me Up Jenny," he does have those same vocals, but not as often as you (or I) would like, but still remains passionate throughout. Not to mention he does his best Daryl Palumbo impression in the breakdown of “Catholic Knees,” which is bonus points.

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 Where You Want To Be and Louder Now. 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” in “…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” (no coincidence that they toured with Envy On The Coast prior to this album), and “Everything Must Go” make for an extremely enjoyable album with tons of longevity, and allows for multiple plays through (thanks, last.fm). New Again marks a new era of Taking Back Sunday, one you may love or hate, but one you have to appreciate. The album is littered with energy, and you know the guys had tons of fun putting it together. It's a much more aggressive departure from Louder Now, and the new style can be credited to either the departure of Mascherino, the welcoming of Fazzi, or both. Guitarist Eddie Reyes says without Mascherino he doesn't "feel the pressure and it feels like it just flows", and it's more than apparent. The sound is much looser and free, yet still brings a raw energy only found in a select few bands. They’ve been daring enough to try to change with each album they put out, and have succeeded yet again.

Recommended If You LikeTaking Back Sunday - Where You Want To Be; The Strokes; Envy On The Coast


myspace.com/takingbacksunday
 
Displaying posts 1 - 12 of 12.
06:32 PM on 06/14/09
#2
doppelganger
katy song
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the review awkwardly worded and had some run-on sentences at parts - especially the 2nd paragraph. im not trying to be a dick, just saying.

head club and ghost man on third are probably the songs that have the longest lasting value for me from TAYF.

i really don't like this album after several listens. everything must go is easily the best song. you gave an insanely high score imo. the fact that you gave lasting value the highest subscore (besides reviewer tilt) baffles me.
07:52 AM on 06/15/09
#3
Noah Fawkes
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The first really good review I've seen about this album in absolutepunk. I totally get what you mean. I wish that I could rate the album here or on any of ap.net's New Again reviews, but oddly I can rate any album but this one. Pretty pretty odd, I'd say. I've seen your review in your blog before, it seems that you did some revisions on it and I think it's pretty much spot on. It reflects what a lot of people think about New Again, even if some people wish otherwise. Congrats for speaking for us.

Since I can't rate it, here it goes my ratings:
Vocals 9.75
Musicianship 10
Lyrics 9.75
Production 9.5
Creativity 9.75
Lasting Value 10
Reviewer Tilt 10
Final Verdict: 98%
07:59 AM on 06/16/09
#4
Rickaly
Regular Member
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this is an amazing album!
08:41 PM on 06/16/09
#5
Cliff Diver
Uncle Jesse
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This album sucks.

Sorry.
08:42 PM on 06/16/09
#6
Cliff Diver
Uncle Jesse
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Since I can't rate it, here it goes my ratings:
Vocals 9.75
Musicianship 10
Lyrics 9.75
Production 9.5
Creativity 9.75
Lasting Value 10
Reviewer Tilt 10
Final Verdict: 98%

Deaf?
12:57 PM on 06/17/09
#7
mcrmy09
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This is TBS's best album yet. Hands down.
01:51 PM on 06/17/09
#8
Noah Fawkes
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Good musical tastes, that's all.
08:49 PM on 06/19/09
#9
kamikaze_alex
like a boss
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The first really good review I've seen about this album in absolutepunk. I totally get what you mean. I wish that I could rate the album here or on any of ap.net's New Again reviews, but oddly I can rate any album but this one. Pretty pretty odd, I'd say. I've seen your review in your blog before, it seems that you did some revisions on it and I think it's pretty much spot on. It reflects what a lot of people think about New Again, even if some people wish otherwise. Congrats for speaking for us.

Thanks. Out of curiosity, was it in a blog on this website? Cause I don't remember ever posting this in a blog here...

the review awkwardly worded and had some run-on sentences at parts - especially the 2nd paragraph. im not trying to be a dick, just saying.

head club and ghost man on third are probably the songs that have the longest lasting value for me from TAYF.

i really don't like this album after several listens. everything must go is easily the best song. you gave an insanely high score imo. the fact that you gave lasting value the highest subscore (besides reviewer tilt) baffles me.

I'm just a biased TBS fan i guess. I'm still listening to this non-stop, and I grabbed the leak that appeared about 2 weeks before release, so there's tons of lasting value for me, personally.
04:35 PM on 08/02/09
jordalsh
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I really like this album.... but I don't really think it deserves an 89.
I'd give it a 70 t0 80. But still, the different take on this album is refreshing on this site
11:46 AM on 08/04/09
bodinemonkey
you'll never give what you get.
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surprised to see a good review of this album on this site. love this album. good review.
09:49 AM on 11/07/09
Yellowcard2006
I'll buy you a raincoat
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Great review. I also love this album.
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