Track By Track: The Used – “Vulnerable”

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1. I Come Alive:
What I like about this track:

This may just be one of the strongest tracks on the album after listening in its entirety, or at least it reminded me the most of the style that was portrayed that made me fall in love with the first album from the band in the first place. The chorus is strong, and the verses seem to have a lot of variety in the sense that, a lot of lyrics weren’t recycled (which was done a quite a bit more than I’m personally into on this album.) Burt really does seem to tap into his angst-y side, and especially at the end, he really lets it fly, and you can hear the emotion coming through a lot.

What I didn’t like about this track:
There’s a lot of electronic nonsense going on with this album, which I’m personally not a big fan of. Samples, digital vocal effects, stuff like that. This was the first showing of it, but other than that this is actually a really strong offering.

Overall, it’s a great way to start the album. Solid song. If I were to pick one of the songs here to put on a compilation, or offer up a song from this album to show to someone who hasn’t heard it yet and is curious about what “THE USED “have to offer in 2012, I’d go to this track.

Read the entire track by track breakdown here.

2. This Fire:
What I like about this track:
The energy is there. And the verses are pretty good, I dig the strings that they’ve incorporated here, and the guitar riffs are actually pretty infectious. Burt’s melodies are also pretty good, although the lyrics do seem to be a bit “Mailed in” if you ask me.

What I didn’t like about this track:
Well, I think they used the same xylophone sample on this track that they did the previous one. They also did something here on the chorus that is one of my lyrical pet peeves. Using a word right away, after you’ve used it already: “This fire, this fire burning, it burns inside of me.” I don’t know, as a vocalist myself, stuff like that is just something that seems to me, that’s done when you don’t have any other decent ideas for lyrics or vocal structures. Reminded me of Papa Roach’s song “When I see her eyes, Look into my eyes” Wouldn’t it have been easier, and less repetitive to say: “When I see her eyes, look into mine?” BUT I DIGRESS.  Actually, I don’t. It was hard for me to see past that on this track, I could go on about why I hate when bands do that for another 4 paragraphs, but to spare you the long winded diatribe I’ll just move on to the next track.

3. Hands and Faces:
What I liked about this track: The 30 second bridge that’s done in the “telephone” effect.

What I didn’t like about this track:
Right out of the gates I don’t like this track, there’s a weird digital vocal effect that really gets under my skin, to me the lyrics just seem kind of like the same warmed over lyrics that you usually get from bands of this genre, lots of keywords that tend to pop up all over the place when you mix singing / screaming “faces, wasted, crossed hearts, underground, I can’t hear a sound, down on your knees, I can’t feel, etc.” I’m sure there’s a crowd that will like this song more than the others on the album, although for my own personal taste, it just seems like a lot of the same chorus beat into my head over, and over, and over, with few spots of actual compelling, emotion driven content.

Track 4: Put Me Out
What I liked about this track:
The energy and the attack are spot on here. The vocal approach and delivery are pretty damn solid too. This is a song that I could totally see myself doing 120 mph down an open highway too.  The guitar work here, and the rhythm section really did their job well by providing a very driving backbone, this track starts with a lot of energy, and keeps it coming.

What I didn’t like about this track:
A lot of the same issues vocally and lyrically that I’ve noticed on a lot of this album. For instance: Here’s the first verse

You bought your smile on a corner
You paint a pretty painting, you did.
You paint yourself in a picture
As you deny the kind of person you’ve been

You get what you feel, what you wish to be
You can’t live sarcastic sincerity
You shop in your guilt like a guillotine
You get what you feel, you get what you feel

and, the second

You pop right in to the moment,
You paint a pretty painting, you did.
You never noticed how broken
As you deny the kind of person you’ve been

You get what you feel, what you wish to be
You can’t live sarcastic sincerity
You shop in your guilt like a guillotine
You get what you feel, you get what you feel

Lot of the same lyrical content, just being re-used, and to make matter worse on the chorus, which is pretty repetitive as it is, they just fill some empty space left melody-wise, by repeating the same “out like a cigarette” line that’s already said twice previously in the chorus.

Track 5. Shine:
What I liked about this track:

The verse is really catchy.

What I didn’t like about this track:
Parts of the chorus are almost identical to a Foo Fighters vocal melody. They use the same “Clap” sample in this song, which they have now in the past 2 tracks. Again, we’re getting a lot of the same words used right next to each other in the chorus, which is repeated until you’ve been beaten over the head with it. “It’s my time to shine, do it my way, it’s my time baby. It’s my time to burn (Again, with the fire reference) my time to shine” And, I’m starting to notice some REAL formula trends here. Slow, quiet verses, with clap samples, other electronic implementations, and soft lyrics, followed by the chorus, another verse, another chorus, a brief 30-40 second quiet bridge, back into the chorus about 6 or 7 times (Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but when you’re repeating the same 4 words over 4 measures for the chorus, it tends to feel like a lot more.)

Track 6. Now That You’re Dead:
What I liked about this track:

Pretty rad intro here, some interesting guitar work, with a couple samples plucked from somewhere, not exactly sure where but it sounds like an older movie. Although, don’t let the mellow approach fool you, once this song kicks in, it kicks you right in the fucking face and reminds you of some of the personality that got me really into this band in the first place. What’s cool about the verse here is there is pretty minimal guitars or any instruments at all really, and Burt just lets it rip. You really don’t even notice that the guitars are just holding out single notes, the attack is done really well.

What I didn’t like about this track:
Again, at about 2:25, we get the 20-40 second bridge, the same one that’s been on every track thus far.  I think he sneezes and snorts at the end, that’s weird.

Track 7.  Give Me Love:
What I liked about this track:
Right out of the gates there’s some really neat guitar work, and the verse goes straight to business, driven guitars with a rad approach. The lyrics aren’t bad at all, and the melody is very catchy.  I really, REALLY like the melodies in the verses here. And the pre-chorus is really good too, Burt shows a lot of the versatility he’s gained over the years, vocally.

What I didn’t like about this track:
Lots of really cliché lyrics here; “Love, broken heart, my heart skips a beat, my inside’s out, looking in the mirror, I see a monster, blah blah, broken words.” The chorus isn’t nearly as good as the verses are. Annnnnnnd, SHOCKER, at 2:00 we get the token 20-30 second bridge, before going back into the chorus before the song ends. This is really starting to get on my nerves.

Track 8. Moving On:
What I liked about this track:
I liked that it was named after the way I felt about writing this review when track 8 started.

What I didn’t like about this track:
“I watched the cut heal, I know my hearts still beating” …
As I’m listening to this song, I’ve decided if it goes into the same formula again, I’m just going to move onto the next track.  Wouldn’t you know it, 2:19, the bridge goes to a slow tempo, before the last minute of the song is used to beat the chorus over your head once more before the track ends out.

Track 9. Getting Over You:

This actually may be the most inspired track on the album as far as raw emotion goes. Very refreshing from the formulaic program that I’d been listening to previously. Nothing really bad to say here, nice track, nice listen. Good lyrics, very heartfelt.

Track 10. Kiss It Goodbye:

RIGHT BACK INTO THE ROUTINE!
Broken Glass, Break, Goodbye, etc.

The bridge here comes in at 1:49, I KNOW I KNOW, it’s a bit early, but it’s because they had to make room for the weird, totally un-interesting beat boxing that takes up the last minute of the track, but not before they beat the chorus over your head one more time.

Track 11. Hurt No One:
What I liked about this track:
YES! This song is totally reminiscent of an 80’s – early 90’s ballad, and I love that, dramatic melodies, open wide chorus. I was very happy to hear this track, super solid song, and very refreshing as I was expecting another “Slow Verse, Catchy chorus, slow verse, catchy chorus, 30 second bridge, chorus chorus chorus” I don’t think they even repeat the chorus once in this song, just some big hooks, some really inspired melodies. This track is really driving but at the same time it’s pretty heartfelt. Nothing bad to say here, great track, if the album was full of more like this I think it’d have left a much bigger mark with me.

What I didn’t like about this track:
Lots of those cliché lyrics coming out to play again, as much as I did enjoy MOST of the content here, I think they found a way to work “Burn” and “Fire” into every song thus far.

Track 12. Together Burning Bright:
What I liked about this track:
Right away, it’s pretty mellow with some nice piano under it, and I like that as it’s a change up from what I’ve heard thus far as a majority from this album. It kind of sounds like this is their “We Are The World” song, and I actually really dig it. Of course, you’re going to get your fair share of “burning” mentions, I mean just look at the title.  This is a good track to close out the album however; dramatic, emotional, and has a lot of interesting character. Even though at 2:40, we get a bridge, I’m actually okay with it, because it’s really just a quiet slowed down chorus, so they beat me by a technicality. Lots of the same formula here, soft and slow verse, big chorus that is repeated a lot, but something about the character that this song has, gives me the ability to look past that with this song.

What I didn’t like about this track:
Other than the cliché lyric thing that’s proven to be an album-wide theme, and the tried and true formula, I really dug this track. Fun listen.


Summary:
I don’t know, to be quite honest when it came time to pull out my ear buds on this one I was kind of glad It was over. See, the unfortunate thing here is that my girlfriend LOVES this band, so if there’s any god at all I’ll be able to get away with taking the 3 or 4 decent offerings from this album, burning it to a CDR and passing it off as an EP when I give it to her, because weather I like it or not, I’m going to have to listen to some format of this album, and I’d much rather it be the songs that I can tolerate.  In the past, this band has been really hit or miss. They’re either hitting it out of the park, or lobbing foul turds somewhere between the range of “Who gives a shit” and “if I have to hear that one more time I’m going to stab myself in the face with a hot fire poker covered in bile and 2 month old cat shit” so with that said I like the fact that they’re actually putting some more backbone into their sound, I just wish it’d be a little less formulaic, and that Bert would stop writing lyrics like an angry 16 year old.  There are some tracks on here (as stated above) that are passable, but I think this pony’s glory days are behind it. If this band were Mike Tyson, I’d say this was the “I just got a tattoo on my face” era.



One Comment

  1. Jeff4/20/2012 7:41 AM | Permalink

    For one his name is BERT not with a u. 2 the song now that you’re dead is him and wil francis from aiden so its not just him letting it rip. 3 just stop reviewing albums especially if you are just going to say comments like “as a singer myself” review your own fucking material then. Oh wait you probably are just in some local band and cant review your album because you dont have one….

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