on 15 July 2013
Taking Back Sunday have released three great albums, all in a row, and this is the third and finest of the lot. They started off with 2002's Tell All Your Friends, which is a brilliant, though often overrated, debut. The energy was electric, and that alone helped them to overcome any of the weaknesses common to most young bands, and for this they quickly established a keen cult fan base willing to overlook the repetitive nature of the songs themselves. In 2004, they followed that album with the utterly fantastic Where You Want To Be, which despite receiving a lot of unfair criticism from fans expecting a TAYF's Pt. II, this was a tighter collection of songs and a massive step up from what had come before. I love it, its an emo album every bit as good as The Juliana Theory's Understand This Is A Dream, and much, much better to my ears than either of Brand New's first two albums, which stirred up much media, and fan related competition.
Louder Now, however, completely changed the band. Whereas before the music was sprawling, melodic yet raw, this 2006 release was tight, polished and full to the brim with pop anthems. Like Jimmy Eat World did with Bleed American, and the lesser known but near equally brilliant Juliana Theory did with there sophomore effort Emotion Is Dead, Taking Back Sunday released an album with an almost new sound, and unexpectedly pulled it off. When this was released, magazines such as Kerrang! and Rocksound couldn't contain the excitement: everyone expected a decent record, nobody expected this pop masterpiece. Come the end of year polls, this topped many prestigious rock lists. And 2006 was a phenomenal year for rock, with key releases from the likes of Mastodon, Lacuna Coil, My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco, along with many others, all helping keep the flame of music alive in world growing tired of the cliche ridden nu-metal and post-grunge that had been dominating the rock charts for over a decade.
So, despite stiff competition, in 2006, nobody released a better commercial pop rock album than Taking Back Sunday. Infectious melodies woven into harder, edgier songs resulted in classics such as lead single Makedamnsure, Error:Operator, Spin and the sublime Twenty Twenty Surgery. How none of these songs achieved the same level of success as did efforts by Losprophets or My Chemical Romance, I will never know. For a lot of music fans, this album was as essential as any of the bands previous albums, and was the first (and last) album they recorded that came close to bettering any of Jimmy Eat World's post-Clarity output. Although modern and fresh, it had the feel of older emo classics, helping steer the genre away from a lot of the gothic imagery being infused into the genre by such acts as the woefully bad Aiden, or the rather fantastic, though impossible to pigeonhole, My Chemical Romance. They did this too without ever once resorting to using strong language or questionable subject matter. This music may have been alive, but it was also unbelievably upbeat, and all the better for it!
The production is flawless, everything is crisp and on Divine Intervention, you can hear the background noise of traffic in the distance. It adds an organic feel to the song, and as such it helps make one of the albums slower songs every bit as exciting as the harder edged tracks.
But perhaps the albums finest moments come in the form of energetic opener What's It Feel Like To Be A Ghost? and the epic closing number I'll Let You Live. ...Ghost is a storming, over the top pop anthem, and as such it gets Louder Now off to the perfect start. Think of JEW's Salt Sweat Sugar, or AFI's Miss Murder, then add a dollop of sugar and there you have it. It could have been a massive hit if only it was the lead single.
Closer I'll Let You Live is a wonderful song. I can think of no comparison to make, and I have no words to describe it. It simply is one of the best songs they have ever written.
I really cannot praise this album highly enough. Its a wonderful, dancey, poppy, catchy set of anthems that beg for the listener to get up and dance! As such, it is a key rock album of the last 13 years, and as suggested by the media on several occasions, it is the essential Taking Back Sunday release.
Unfortunately, follow up release New Again sounded tired and worn, and almost undid all the good done by the bands first three albums. As for 2011's self titled release, it is hardly worth the purchase. It now seems unlikely that Taking Back Sunday will ever get back on track, which is a real shame. But Louder Now is one album I think any modern rock fan should have, alongside such massive releases such as Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World, Sing The Sorrow by AFI, A Beautiful Lie by 30 Seconds To Mars, or Emotion Is Dead by The Juliana Theory.
It would be a shame to miss out on all the fun, so buy this album ASAP, if you haven't already!