Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Album Retrospective: Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends

For anyone who was ever sixteen, Taking Back Sunday’s rather groundbreaking Tell All Your Friends is for you. While the term “groundbreaking” may be a bit much, it’s tough to deny that Taking Back Sunday set the scene on fire for much of the last decade. Finally, there was an album and a band that captured teen angst in a less melodramatic and less agonizing way, combating the painful amount of forgettable, comparable acts of the mid 2000’s. Sure, Simple Plan whined and wailed about the pains of being a teenager (surely those years must have almost killed them), but Taking Back Sunday casually romanticized the coming of age theme. Tell All Your Friends was not angry, caustic, nor depressing, but dramatic in a somewhat jovial way. Tell All Your Friends was fun, exciting, and something you could waste an entire summer away to.

More importantly, however, is that Taking Back Sunday weren’t in any way trying too hard. Rather, the album felt natural—an off the cuff endeavor that saw the band at their most creative. Sure, Adam’s vocals were slightly strained, and the band as the whole was still trying to find their niche. Despite this, the band’s confidence made the entire effort stave off sounding hackneyed or contrived. The dual layered vocals, the simple yet effective instrumentation, and the ridiculous catchiness of it all coalesced to make the album fantastically listenable. Simply put, Tell All Your Friends was the sound of a young band simply loving making music, and that fact, more than anything, is precisely why the album succeeded.

Tell All Your Friends
was full of standouts; songs one could turn the volume up and sing along to with the windows all the way down. “You Know How I Do,” “Ghost Man on Third,” and “You’re So Last Summer,” while sounding somewhat similar, all capture the excellence of the entire album. Moderately paced, and with a flair for the dramatic, each track symbolizes the sound Taking Back Sunday so effortlessly captured.

Tell All Your Friends was, and still is a great album. Musically, there really isn’t a lot here to tear down conventions.Sure, it’s solid, and hell, it was easily one of the most consistent albums of the last decade, but more importantly, it captivated and entire scene, and an entire age. The amount of Warped Tour garbage that polluted the airwaves and television was almost too much to bear, but suddenly, a band that seemed genuine and honest appeared, and suddenly, pop-punk wasn’t a scarlet letter, but a badge of honor. Regardless of what the band have since become, Tell All Your Friends still to this day stands as an achievement, not only for the band, but for the entire genre.

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