Reviewed! Taking Back Sunday - 'New Again'

Taking Back Sunday
‘New Again’
Warner Bros. Records

Just the Los Angeles Lakers needed to win this years’ NBS Championship to make a statement about their team, Kobe Bryant’s first without center Shaquille O’Neal, Taking Back Sunday needed to release ‘New Again,’ their first record since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino, in order to make a statement about the status of their band. Ok, the scene kings of Long Island might not be Lakers fans (Knicks fans probably, ouch) but that’s beside the point.

That statement should read – ‘things are just fine.’

With Mascherino out and ex-Facing New York guitarist Matt Fazzi in, the overall sound of ‘New Again’ is different. Frontman Adam Lazzara has even gone so far to say that the reason the band chose the title was because he thought they were like a new band altogether. Fazzi’s voice just isn’t what Mascherino’s used to be, and for it, the hooks suffer.

Taking Back Sunday’s entire songwriting mantra should be fairly prevalent at this point in their career; their song structure is built around the bands ability to craft eye popping hooks that leap off the record, something ‘New Again’ sort of lacks. There isn’t any ‘You’re So Last Summer’-esque brilliance on this record, but that’s not to say that there aren’t quality standouts, like the charging title track, catchy-as-hell debut single ‘Sink Into Me,’ and the albums obvious winner, the infectious, sugary sweetness that is ‘Cut Me Up Jenny.’

Lazzara moves inward when it comes to songwriting on ‘New Again,’ publically admitting that ‘Capital M-E’ is about Mascherino and comments he made regarding the band after his departure. Also, many think that the albums closing track, the emotionally laden ‘Everything Must Go,’ is about Lazzara’s failed engagement to Eisley guitarist Chauntelle DuPree.

‘New Again’ lacks the cocky swagger and over-the-top bravado that Taking Back Sunday has become known for , but it just goes to show that even the most emo of emo bands can mature, the mature of the All-American Rejects ‘When the World Comes Down,’ and less Blink-182’s ‘Untitled.’ This collection of songs is truly proof positive that this is a band that has gone through hardships and ultimately shows they have picked up a few things along the way.

Let’s face it – Taking Back Sunday isn’t going to remain successful releasing the same record over and over. ‘New Again’ is a step in the right direction as it should both cater to their core fans as well as introduce the band to a new wave of listeners. While it might not be their most triumphant work to date, its good, and it should do enough to spawn the hanging of many Taking Back Sunday posters in bedrooms worldwide.

Grade: B
Listen to: ‘Lonely, Lonely,’ ‘Cut Me Up Jenny’