I remember when Taking Back Sunday was one of the bands that I listened to in High School, and got you over whatever pissed you off about the fairer sex. The band has come a long way, giving me lovely songs from their 2002 album Tell All Your Friends, with Cute Without the E, Timberwolves At New Jersey, You’re So Last Summer, and of course The Blue Channel, making up part of what I consider one of the top 50 albums of the last decade.
The band released Where You Want to Be in 2004, featuring my favorites Set Phasers to Stun, Bonus Mosh Pt.2, The Union, and One-Eighty by Summer. Two years later, Louder Now in 2006, featuring the hits Makedamnsure, and What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?(a song from the 2007 Transfomers soundtrack),after which the band had another 2 year hiatus from the scene.
7 Years and 2 albums later, we come to a crossroads for this New York based band. We faced a lineup change that I didn’t think would have such a big effect on me; but it got me seriously upset about this bands future. You see, most people don’t really care about the backup singers of a band, but Fred Mascherino and John Cooper were a couple of those rarities that you listen to, and can’t imagine a band without. The main reason for me anyway, is because of John’s epic vocal contributions to Cute Without The E, and The Blue Channel from my first statement; and for Fred, Bonus Mosh Pt.2, and The Union.
He has since been replaced by lead singer Adam Lazzarra’s now brother in law (I believe its brother…if not then family in law) Matt Fazzi of Facing New York. A news article at Newsday captured the following from Fred before he left:
"There were just problems between the five of us about writing, who was going to do it and how we were going to do it," Mascherino said. "We weren't being very productive because we were fighting too much about that stuff. The band was more about cooking food than making music.”
Back on June 1st, after the latest hiatus, we have the 4th studio release of Taking Back Sunday, entitled New Again. I have to agree, the band is just that. The band took a bit of new direction with their new edition, and it was a great direction indeed.
Adam Lazzarra brings back his distinct singing style to the table for the record, with Matt Rubano keeping a steady bass line and vocals going throughout, Eddie Reyes on Guitar in unison with Matt Fazzi and his backup vocals, rounded out by the powerhouse that is Mark O’Conell.
Right away, the band lets you know right away that they mean business, with the opening track New Again. I gave it love due to the addictive chorus that we can all relate to, and the references to Little Red Riding Hood.
The third track, Lonely,Lonely has a gorgeous bass line in the verses, with another memorable hook with the backup vocals chiming in throughout. The breakdown at 1:50 gave me the first ping of the bands refocused musical talent, putting this on my favorite tracks list.
Track 5, Swing, felt nostalgic for me as far as the lyrical work of Adam, particularly in the introduction, painting a picture whilst Adam explaining his frustration to us as he’s done over the years. Here are the intro lyrics:
Open the gate to your apartment complex, Your not getting off that easily. I climb the fence, The one that you've been sitting on. (How long) Before I'm just a memory, (How long) Before you can't remember me, (How long?)Remember me.
Overall though, my favorite track has to be Carpathia, because of its relation to my life a long time ago, and its ability to allow me to reflect on harder times. The echoing chorus of “Man that was ages ago” alone makes me think of the good ol days of Taking Back Sunday’s ability to mix emotions and music beautifully.
To bring it home, this album tempted the delicate balance of being able to use their old methods to draw in the older fans of the band (such as the singing methods of Adam), while also working out the kinks and becoming something new, developing their skills musically. I whole heartedly believe that this is the direction the band could go, and still be powerful (if not moreso) in the music world. Old fans will have new loves to reflect upon, and new listeners, know that this band is something special that you should have a listen to if you want the same feeling I’ve felt.
Until next time my friends,
P.s.- old fans, try and find the 152 on this album cover.