After almost three years since their last album, Taking Back Sunday has released their sixth studio album Happiness Is. This also marks the third album they’ve released since Josh Nolan and Shaun Cooper returned to the band. While their self-titled album left something to be desired, this recent project more than makes up for it.
The alternative rock band has matured immensely since their first album release in 2002. Their musical direction continues to change with almost every new release, but somehow they manage to retain the same post-hardcore angst rock sound that set them apart in the early 2000s.
Despite opening with a quiet string-based track, the album then leaps into lead single “Flicker, Fade.” The track mimics TBS’ earlier work, opening with moments that are smooth and melodic before moving to a breakdown that hits you like a brick. Lead singer Adam Lazzara’s signature croon does not disappoint, only adding to a song that will make you want to start a bar fight and set something on fire.
The entire album is based around songs about relationships and self-destructive tendencies, turning the musical experience into an emotional roller coaster. The tracks move smoothly from music that echoes of aggressive punk rock fury to almost-ballads. TBS has improved immensely lyrically and rhythmically, leading to the creation of songs you’ll be singing along to all night long. All in all, this album is one of my favorite new releases this year.
Taking Back Sunday’s signature lyricism creates an atmosphere that reminds the listener of a punch to the gut. Their songs have developed into an interesting mixture of their early angry rock and a new maturity that is hard to find in the modern music scene. My favorite tracks include “Flicker, Fade,” “They Don’t Have Any Friends,” and “Stood A Chance.” Thanks to these outstanding songs I continue to expect big things from them.
Album rating: 8.5/10