Real music, new sound

Taking Back Sunday returns with a new album that features a new addition to their band. (credit: Kristen Severson | Photo Editor) Taking Back Sunday returns with a new album that features a new addition to their band. (credit: Kristen Severson | Photo Editor)

Rolling Stone gives rock band Taking Back Sunday’s new album only two and a half stars, but they do say that “Sink Into Me” is the best track on New Again and should be coveted by the Foo Fighters.

It seems ironic that the name of the album is New Again, and yet Taking Back Sunday has brought back the same old sound. In reality, the title of the album has little do with the music and more to do with the band’s history. New Again is the fourth studio album from the American rock band and was released on June 2, 2009. The title of the album refers to the addition of the band’s new guitarist, Matthew Fazzi, who brings a whole new sound to the band. “[Fazzi] brings an excitement and a fearlessness to working on music that really makes us feel even more so that we can do anything and call it us,” bassist Matt Rubano said. The band has turned in a new direction and, with the help of Fazzi, may be able to claim a fourth gold album.

Despite the review from Rolling Stone, many other critics give the album much better ratings — three stars and higher. Scott Heisel of Alternative Press said that the album “leaps forward as the best album of Taking Back Sunday’s career to date.” The album has been called “perfect,” and Channing Freeman at SputnikMusic has said that “[Taking Back Sunday] have never felt like more of a summer band than they do on New Again.” The band’s new sound is reminiscent of a drive-in concert at the beach where everyone is just having a good time.

Listening to some of the band’s previous music, it is evident that the style of sound has changed. Each of the songs presents something different. There are heavy vocal stylings on “Catholic Knees” and pop hooks on “Summer Man,” and many of the album’s songs are very strong and give listeners a chance to hear many of the new guitar stylings of Fazzi. The band’s lead singer, Adam Lazzara, has mentioned in previous interviews that the lyrics are more personal than before. “Lyrically it’s really autobiographical, whereas normally I try to mask all that just so people can take whatever they want from it. But [“Everything Must Go”] was one of the more straight-forward tunes on the record,” he said, referring to the last song on the album.

The band promoted the new album through the most basic and fastest growing medium: social networking. The name of the album was announced on the band’s MySpace page on Nov. 6, 2008. “We kicked around a bunch of different titles, but [New Again] always remained the top of the list, and that’s because it really does feel like a new band,” Lazzara said.

Taking Back Sunday’s previous album, Louder Now, received higher ratings and, as of June 2008, had sold 900,000 copies. Like the band did with Louder Now, it has released a special edition CD/DVD that offers track-by-track commentary and includes a “making of the album” special and even an autographed booklet.

This new album seems like a great way for the band to reintroduce themselves after three years and get back in the limelight.