There hasn’t been much buzz about Taking Back Sunday for some time, but now they’re back with their fourth studio album. As a fan, I was excited about their continued progression from fledglings in the music industry to powerhouse, as heard in their third album.
However, I am deeply disappointed.
With the heightened success of the third album, Louder Now, there is the expectation of the continued greatness heard in their last albums.
However, New Again is definitely not a progression from the glass-shattering experience of “What’s It Like To Be A Ghost,” “Twenty-Twenty Surgery” or “Error: Operator” of Louder Now. It’s a step backwards.
This CD should be the first album of a new band, not the fourth album of an established and experienced band.
With the departure of guitarist Fred Mascherino and the studio introduction of Matt Fazzi, referenced in “Capital M-E” on the new album, musical and lyrical changes are possible.
The direction seems drastic. The band went into a completely different direction with softer vocals and guitar chords.
Also contrasting with past CDs, the album lacks cohesiveness due to a lack of an overall theme lyrically or musically.
Even with the “new again” or rebirth identity nothing stands out or breaks through. New Again just seems like a collection of songs with no power – no motivation for the audience to get up and sway, dance or something. It’s bland in comparison to the vitality of prior albums.
The songs that might appear to stand out because of similarity to popular singles are “New Again,” “Sink into Me,” “Swing” and “Where My Mouth Is.”
“New Again” is a witty twist on the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. The song evokes a story about a toxic relationship, the resulting personal changes and the quiet confidence resurfacing.
“Sink into Me” will definitely be a fan-favorite because of the sexual connotation that can be applied. Also, it’s catchy and could easily be stuck in your head.
The only song slightly reminiscent of Taking Back Sunday’s older style is “Swing.” The first stanza and the repetition in the bridge fits right in with the style of second album, Where You Want To Be. “Where My Mouth Is” isn’t similar to past CDs, but stands out because it’s the only song to concretely display the “new again” direction.
The sound is completely different, yet well-written and well-played. The audience will not be begging for more.
Overall, New Again Taking Back Sunday is not “new” at all. The CD is not refreshing, ground-breaking or enticing.
Taking Back Sunday – New Again
Label: Warner Bros.
Track Picks: “New Again,” “Sink Into Me,” “Swing” and “Where My Mouth Is”
Released: June 2, 2009
Our take: ** 1/2 (out of 5)