When The Used emerged in 2002 with a self-titled debut, the band was instantly adored by nearly all outlets of musical analysis. In preparing for their sophomore release, the members of The Used likely received the same piece of yearbook-esque advice: ‘Stay cool.’
Which they did. Sort of.
Released Sept. 28, ‘In Love and Death’ was a highly anticipated follow-up and thus had many expectations to live up to. The first single and the first track on the CD, ‘Take It Away,’ was teasing fans from the band’s official Web site and gracing radio stations with its promising preview. Boasting singer Bert McCracken’s signature screaming vocals, ‘Take It Away’ is a strong starter and the high point for ‘In Love and Death.’
However, some tracks bear a melodic and lyrical quality that sometimes struggles to match its predecessor’s critical and artistic success. Even though they have the potential to be entirely original, unfortunately, The Used draws comparisons to contemporaries like Taking Back Sunday, Thrice and Finch.
Still, ‘In Love and Death’ is an enjoyable listen with a variety of both traditional hard-rock tracks like ‘Sound Effects and Overdramatics’ and slower tunes like ‘Yesterday’s Feelings’ and ‘Hard to Say.’
The Used defies what some may characterize as the band’s sound by hopping on the pop bandwagon with ‘All That I’ve Got.’ Repeat listens will surely be employed by the upbeat melodies on ‘Cut Up Angels.’
Despite the typical sophomoric letdown in progressing its sound, the new album from The Used should be considered an overall success.
‘In Love and Death’ is currently in stores everywhere.