a new album today, today seems like a great time to talk about Taking Back Sunday. Guess how I first heard about them? Yep, you guessed it - CMJ New Music Monthly. The song "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)" was on one of their monthly CDs, and I enjoyed the hell out of the song. So I went out and picked up the album, "Tell All Your Friends," which was the band's first album. And I think I spent much of 2003 telling people about how awesome it is.
Taking Back Sunday are a band from Long Island, New York that were formed by a guy (Eddie Reyes) who'd been in a number of other bands, none of which had ever taken off much. (Before the band had recorded anything, one of the members split off and went to form a new band, who also turned out okay - they're called Brand New.) After the band recorded their first EP, they moved their bassist, Adam Lazzara, to be their vocalist. And that was when the band started to really gel.
"Tell All Your Friends" came out on Victory Records in 2002, and it was a much bigger success than the label expected. (The album went gold in 2005.) It's a heady blend of post-hardcore and emo-rock, building on some of the foundations that bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral were putting together. In fact, I remember telling people that TAYF was a lot like Jimmy Eat World with a bit more anger and a little less pop.
The band's success caused more than a little bit of chaos in the band. In 2003, two members of the band, John Nolan and Shaun Cooper, left to form Straylight Run, although they rejoined the band in 2010, and it really was for the best. While Taking Back Sunday had some great songs without Nolan/Cooper, their strongest work truly has been together.
"Tell All Your Friends" is one of those albums where there's no shortage of great songs. There were four singles from it - "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)," "Great Romances Of The Twentieth Century," "You're So Last Summer" and "Timberwolves At New Jersey" - but even the songs that weren't singles were great as well. It's a tight album, too, with 10 songs, clocking in under 35 minutes, no song taking longer than it needs to. It's almost like they wanted to keep everything lean and punchy. A couple of the songs get a little rough (both Lazzara and Nolan have cited the last track on the album, "Head Club," as their least favorite song) but on the whole, it's a 35 minutes you will find yourself revisiting a number of times.
There are a lot of great songs I could pick off the album to share, but I wanted to give you just one, and it's been one of my favorite songs for a long time. It's called "You're So Last Summer," and it has perhaps the best lyric to describe painful, unrequited love that I've ever heard - "the truth is you could slit my throat / And with my one last gasping breath / I'd apologize for bleeding on your shirt"
Also, for those of you who don't follow me on Twitter, I am now keeping a Spotify playlist of songs I write about, and if you want to listen to full versions of songs from each album I've written about (for free, no less), you can just load this list up. If you do, go ahead and follow it, as I'll keep updating it every time I write about music. And if you want to support the bands, obviously, there's generally a link to the iTunes version of each album I write about included in the article.