Yesterday, April 24, 2020 The Used released their eighth studio album, Heartwork. Prior to the release, there's been three different singles, along with a handful of marketing that was reminiscent of tarot cards. It all started with the first single, "Blow Me"which was released December 5 of last year. Which is not actually about what you'd expect, given the name. It honestly brings up suicide awareness, and offers a few new elements to The Used's sound. Including a new screaming style, that admittedly I was a bit torn on upon the first couple listens. It grew on me eventually though.
The Used is constantly growing and evolving their sound. Somehow with each album, they still feel like themselves but still slightly different. This particular album had a lot of depth, and frankly had a few songs that felt somewhat topical for the world we live in today. Some of which they weren't even aware of at the time of writing and recording this album. This is definitely one of those albums that requires more than one listen to to fully appreciate it, and to really get a good feel for it.
Right off the bat though, I have to say I really like the sound they've created for this album. It feels oddly kind of calm for the most part. Like something you can turn on and just vibe to, as most of the internet seems to say these days. That being said, it still has its moments of getting you to nod, borderline headbang to it, because come on, its still The Used. That's a must with them. Anyone who's followed their music for any period of time knows that.
As with every album, a handful of songs really stood out to me. My favorite was probably "Bloody Nose", as its one of those songs that you turn on when shit is hitting the fan, but you're still persevering regardless of the circumstances. Despite that though, you do still have your moments of weakness where you're questioning if maybe you deserve what's being thrown at you. Maybe its karma. Chances are its not life punishing you, but the thought has passed through almost everyone's mind at some point.
Another song that I really wanted to highlight was, "Wow, I Hate This Song", because first of all, the title made me laugh. Prior to listening to it, I pictured Bert McCracken writing an untitled song, looking at it, stating that he hated the song, and then proceeding to write it on the page. And then someone took him seriously. After listening to it, I realized that was absolutely not the case, but it was still an amusing mental image for me. The song actually is more about life, but comparing it to an annoying song on the radio that somehow still gets stuck in your head. As someone who finds a way to connect music to literally every aspect of my life, I greatly appreciated this song. Especially the, "Holy fuck, I hate this song." sentiment. Its very genuine, and we've all felt that before.
Congratulations are in order for The Used for making yet another wonderful album, I respect it and will keep listening to it to see how much it grows on me. Who knows, it might just become my next favorite thing. We shall see. For anyone interested, you can listen to Heartwork basically wherever music is available. Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, you know the drill with all that good stuff. Head on over to your favorite one and their official website to see all their merch that's currently available.
It is also worth mention that The Used is also doing something very special right now, just to shed some light on those making a difference in this incredibly difficult time. They are putting together a music video for "The Lighthouse",which is a track I did not bring up in this review. They are asking fans to submit videos of doctors, nurses, grocery workers. Anyone who's putting their lives on the line right now for everyone. You can only do this until April 28, so get your videos submitted now before its too late. You can do this through Google Docs, just click here for the form and further information. Stay safe, everyone! We'll get through this.
While gathering suggestions for the 2020 Immortal Music Awards, I had a few people nominate Yungblud's The Underrated Youth EP for the best album of 2019. I was actually really surprised by this, due to the fact that I actually thought he was a rapper. I've never really had a big rap community through my page, perhaps because I'm not typically a fan, so this idea completely threw me for a loop. I looked him up, and realized he's not a rapper, but is identified as alternative rock, with a touch of hip hop.
Due to the nominations, I decided to give him a shot. He kind of reminds me a little bit of Twenty One Pilots, that sort of hard to define style that's catchy, but most definitely not for everyone. The way I felt about this was its perfect for turning on as background music. I don't think I'd personally turn it on just to sit there and rock out to it, but I could see me turning this on as I cleaned the house or something, you know what I mean? Like it could motivate you to get up and do something just with the tone of it all.
I will say though, "Original Me" actually held my attention more. Its a very introspective song, and seems to touch a bit on anxiety and your own self image. It also kind of gives me more of a pop punk vibe through parts of it. This one also features Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, which I think added a really nice touch to the song.
Another one threw a bit of a curve ball for me, as it was slower and more heart felt sounding than anything else I had heard from him thus far, was "Casual Sabotage." This one was much deeper right off the bat, sounds like it was written after a break up, and you're just questioning everything. Life feels different, you're left alone just with your own perception of things, and are scared of what's going to happen next.
Then there is what is basically the title track, and what seems to be one of his most popular songs, "Hope For The Underrated Youth." Its a call out to everyone who's just writing off those who are different. I think a lot of people will really connect with this one because it reminds them they're not alone, and there's other people a lot like them out there.
I can actually see why people nominated this one. Every track seemed to have a different tone to it, and frankly, his work feels rather unique. I definitely should have given him a shot sooner, and perhaps he'll grow on me further. I was completely wrong about his genre, let alone artistic take on it. If you're a fan of his, leave some suggestions for songs not on the EP, perhaps I'll give it more of a chance.
While we're at it, be sure to head on over to his official website. Due to Covid-19, obviously he is not touring right now, but tentatively does have shows listed in the UK for the end of May, as well as a bunch of merch available for sale. It is also worth reminding that this EP is up for the best album of 2019 through the Immortal Music Awards, so if you feel like this one should win, go vote for it! You can do so by clicking here, and while you're there leave your suggestions for several other categories as well.
On August 9, 2019, the iconic heavy metal band, Slipknot released their sixth studio album, We are Not Your Kind. Now I've actually meant to listen to this ever since it was released, I never actually forgot about it, but for some reason it kept slipping past me.
I finally got around to actually checking it out especially after someone suggested it as the best album of 2019 for the 2020 Immortal Music Awards. While beginning some research for this album, I learned that the title actually comes from a stand alone song called "All Out Life" that came out in 2018, but was on the Japanese version of this album. I had not put two and two together, despite hearing the song at some point between the release of the song and now.
Slipknot is one of those bands that I completely respect, but only seem to listen to when I'm in a certain mindset. Generally, that mindset involves anger, no surprise there. They're an iconic band, and call me basic, but they're never something I'm particularly drawn to. The only songs I find myself ever turning on randomly are their singles, the calling cards for Slipknot. I can't say I dislike them, like I won't tell someone to turn them off, but they're not exactly my cup of tea. I have no reason for this, they're very well produced, styled, their lyrics are decent, they just don't over all speak to me.
I almost didn't want to post this review, because I know it was extremely well reviewed. But if I'm perfectly honest, it didn't really stand out for me. It kind of felt like everything else Slipknot has ever made before, which is fantastic, if you happen to enjoy most everything Slipknot has ever made. But as I just said, I don't absolutely love it. Don't hate any of it, but don't love most of it either. They just don't speak to me really, no offense to anyone who does love them. I can see why people do, but there's just not a strong connection for me.
With all that said, I didn't hate this album. It was worth a listen, and there were a couple tracks that I found myself nodding along to, actually enjoying. But I also found myself feeling a little bored through a lot of it as well. The songs that I felt stood out were, "Nero Forte" and "Red Flag." Both had similar meanings, I would say.
"Nero Forte" is a direct call out to those who are trying to tear you down, and is just straight up pointing out that they're not going to do better than that. The worst they can do to you is speak ill of you, and you're going to just keep doing what's best for you.
"Red Flag" almost goes with it in a way. Its basically just saying you're not letting someone hold you back, that this is your time and you're cutting them out.
I don't know, its not a bad album by any means, but it really just didn't stand out as something incredible to me. I heard so much hype for it, I fully expected more. Maybe if I give it a few more listens, it'll grow on me and I'll randomly love it later on. Its happened before, it could definitely happen again.
Let me know what you think of the album, and be sure to submit your favorites for 2019 for the Immortal Music Awards!
On April 3, 2020, All Time Low released their eighth studio album, Wake Up Sunshine. I don't think this could have come at a better time, especially given the name. This is truly a welcomed bright spot in today's world.
To recap, they released the first single, "Some Kind Of Disaster" with a music video in January of this year and slowly released a handful of other songs between then and now. "Sleeping In", "Trouble Is", "Melancholy Kaledescope," and most recently, the title track. This album had me extremely excited because I was into it from the first couple of verses of "Some Kind Of Disaster."
Curiosity built very quickly for Wake Up Sunshine as the singles were released, the only one I didn't love was "Melancholy Kaledescope", and even that I have no doubt will grow on me over time. I didn't care for their last album, Last Young Renegade, which even front man Alex Gaskarth said was an offshoot from their usual sound. This feels like a slightly more mature version of the All Time Low we all have already known and loved for the past fifteen years.
If you're looking for that classic All Time Low sound, I'd say you're not going to love this album. I'd say only a couple of the songs have their true sound, such as "Sleeping In." But if you're in it for stories of growth and love, with a touch of their classic style, you'll be happy. There's a lot of of lyrical depth in this one, you can really tell something very personal inspired almost every sound. Given the name of the album, I was actually pleasantly surprised with what this album presented me with. I was actually expecting a lot of light hearted fun stuff, but the title is actually semi deceiving.
There's still some bright spots, such as "Favorite Place", featuring The Band Camino. That one is an absolutely adorable love song that I have no doubt will become the song many couples deem "their song." "So, can we close the space between us now? It's the distance we don't need. Yeah, you're everything I love about the things I hate in me. So come on, come on, come over now and fix me with your grace. 'Cause I'm not too far and you're my favorite place."
I honestly could say something about every song on the album, there wasn't a single song I disliked really. Even the ones I didn't find myself really into, I know will grow on me. This whole album tells the story of love, depression, growing apart, and learning to deal. You can tell that there was a real story behind every single song, none of it was a work of fiction.
I was trying to figure out a song to give honorable mentions to, but honestly, I'm having a hard time picking just one. "Basement Noise", though somewhat simplistic, and not something I find myself turning on randomly, really took everyone back to the early days of All Time Low. Back when they were just kids playing music in the basement. Just learning, just growing, just becoming who we all know today. I will say this is probably is my least favorite song on the album, but I appreciate the story it tells.
I sat here for a good ten minutes trying to pick a favorite, and honestly, I couldn't pick one. Ask me again in a couple weeks, because right now, I don't know. I'm appreciative of the entire album, and am most familiar with the first five songs because they were already out prior to the release of the album.
Hopefully this album gives someone some comfort, or a bright spot, or something. We all know these are trying times, and everyone needs a bright spot. Go check out the album, its available now wherever music is sold, Spotify and YouTube. Also, if you're feeling into it, go check out All Time Low's official website. Obviously they are unable to tour right now, but they have a ton of merch for Wake Up Sunshine, and will be hitting the road as soon as they're allowed.
All reviews have the date they were written, the album title, and the band's name, with the exception of Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace and Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin. Those dates were guessed at, as they were written well before the website began.