The Used has finally released their new album, nearly two months after releasing the music video for their single “Cry.” Lead singer Bert McCracken tends to focus on love and drugs when writing lyrics.
The band’s sixth studio album Imaginary Enemy, however, is a political statement. There isn’t much room for another interpretation. While there are two or three “love” songs inserted into the album, there are a lot more calling out the US on topics such as war and drugs. With lyrics such as, “We’re saying no way, no way USA, by declaring war on terror you declare war on yourself,” they make their point abundantly clear.
The band members are attempting something new with this latest project. Historically, the band has cemented their sound as a mix of post-hardcore punk and early 2000s emo-core. Their first several albums were angry and auditorily vicious, mixing McCracken’s ability to seamlessly switch between clean vocals and screaming guitar riffs that were packed with energy.
In Imaginary Enemy, their sound changes drastically, imitating that of a poppy faux-anarchy cliché. While they do have some very strong points on the album (both instrumentally and vocally), they’ve also lost a lot of what set them apart originally as a band. A lot of the songs on the album sound specifically tailored for a radio chic generation, including an added attempt to employ electronic/synth-beats, which are used almost haphazardly and more experimentally.
The album sounded more like an attempt to bridge the gap between albums than a completed project. It just didn’t seem like there was anything that stood out about it. There were hints of the band’s old personality sprinkled throughout but I expected something different. In the end I was left feeling a little disappointed.
Album rating: 4/5 stars