The Used

1. I Come Alive
2. This Fire
3. Hands and Faces
4. Put Me Out
5. Shine
6. Now That You're Dead
7. Give Me Love
8. Moving On
9. Getting Over You
10. Kiss It Goodbye Kinda Hectic
11. Hurt No One
12. Together Burning Bright

Bert McCracken (Vocals & programming)
Quinn Allman (Guitar & add. vocals)
Jepha (Bass & add. vocals)
Dan Whitesides (Drums & add. vocals)

The Used (2002)
In Love and Death (2004)
Lies for the Liars (2007)
Artwork (2009)

William Control (add. vocals on 6)

John Feldmann (Production & mixing)
Brandon Hall Paddock (Engineering & add. production)
Jeremy Hatcher (add. engineering)
Spencer Hoad (add. engineering)
Courtney Ballard (add. engineering)
Joe Gastwirt (Mastering)
Frank Maddocks (Artwork, design & photography)

Released 30/3-2012
Reviewed 17/5-2012

hopeless records

The American punk sensation The Used might not have had the same kind of breakthrough around the world as in the home country with three gold certified albums out of four releases, but they are still pretty big and now they're back with a fifth album and on a self-owned label. According to the band themselves they've taken one step back to get two steps forward. That sounds like quite a reroute but in this case perhaps it was necessary to take a step backward to get forward and apparently this step backward has been good for the band as this album sounds really good!

During the years, The Used has been labeled as many different things - everything from emo to screamo and even hardcore and perhaps this is because of the diversity in this band that has tried some different things in their ten year long career or perhaps it's because of the rich and genre blending sound the band have? Well, clearly this album is hard to put in one particular genre because what we get is an advanced kind of punk rock with some tendencies to touch AOR and vocals mostly related to screamo. The music is playful and rich on interesting elements but the forward moving drive from the punk is clearly there and in the grander ballads Getting Over You and Together Burning Bright is where I feel a hint of AOR. The opening tracks has sounds that could be sampled from a circus or amusement park with some laughter and the music of the kind of high pitched music that's played on carrousels. The second song is called This Fire and it don't only begins with strings but ends with it as well and I think this is one of the best tracks on this album with a great chorus beside the nice opening and close. The following track is called Hands And Faces and here Bert McCracken sings with voice distortion and I feel there are some progressive elements in the music as they do tempo changes and try some other new and different things, though the chorus is pretty "normal" and very strong. Put Me Out have a text line that goes "I gave you everything, you threw it away - put me out like a cigaret" and above this they have a guitar sound that feels inspired by U2. Bad then? Quite the opposite - it sounds really good!

The fifth track is Shine and it's a somewhat slower song with a scaled downed sound containing mostly of just vocals and rhythm in the verse but with a stronger, more "normal" chorus. The next song repeats a similar pattern but this is scaled down in another manner - more to a 70's sound and how punk and hard rock sounded then. Give Me Love is the seventh track and it's one of my favorites on the album with an extended chorus that's divided in two parts, beginning with something similar to pre-chorus that goes the same way before every chorus and then transporting into a sort of main chorus with extended syllables and shouting. The eight track is another of the better songs but this is a more standard punk rock song in the vein of bands like Green Day. Getting Over You is one of the ballads mentioned earlier and it offers mostly typical "ballad-song-elements-and-sounds". The tenth song is Kiss It Goodbye Kinda hectic and it's a faster song before the band goes down in tempo again for the remaining two songs on the album. First is the alternative ballad Hurt No One and then the album closes with Together Burning bright, which is more of a traditional ballad and a strong ending for the album with a grander feel and the text line in the chorus is repeated so many times it's destined to get stuck in peoples heads.

I personally feel this album has a mixed feeling between American and British rock music. There is a distinct feeling of punk rock on the album but then also modern american rock and the progressive, new-thinking elements they've used in the music feels Brittish indie rock. The music flow is never certain but thrown around a bit like a Frisbee in the summer sun as the band cuts the music up in parts with varied tempo and different instrumental usage as well as how the vocals are used. The only solid form in the music are the rhythms and melodies, which also is the most important thing to cherish and not just leave to chance. Like if you would put your pension plan in the hands of a casino round. If you don't know what you're doing you'll soon find yourself broke (and the music broken).

As a whole I feel 'Vulnerable' is a really good album and most of the twelve songs on the album are really good! I can't say it's an album in a league of it's own but it's one of the better releases of 2012 so far and despite I've said that quite a few times already this year I mean it everytime because this year just keeps getting better and better all the time with the bar being constantly raised, by bands like The Used. So far I consider this a top 5 album of 2012 and I do that becuase it's a genre blending album that I feel will speak to most fans of rock music. Good melodies, nice rhythms and great songs! Good in every possible way, and though not perfect it's very, very good! I'm pretty sure I will use this album many times from now on!





Label: Anger Music/Hopeless Records/Sound Pollution
Three similar bands: Oel/My Chemical Romance/Silverstein
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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