Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Used - Artwork Review

Media buzz has labeled Artwork as one of the best albums you'll hear in '09, and it's certainly living up to its hype as The Used have delivered what many are calling the definitive record of their career. So here's the skinny.

Artwork stands in typical Used fashion. It's rough around the edges, it's got feedback pouring in from all sides and a lyrical base that poetically dances with the ideas of life, love, God and death. 

Entering into the studio, the band hoped to create something completely different. As the bonus DVD will show you, each member felt this record needed to be a re-birth of themselves musically. They wanted something harder and darker, and from their one-on-one testimonials it seems as though they feel they've created that.

Though with a quick listen of Artwork it becomes apparent that what The Used have created is not necessarily something new, but rather just a finely tuned version of their earlier works. Vocalist Bert McCracken has found a seemingly perfect balance of screaming and melody in his singing. The catchy guitar hooks and driving bass lines give Artwork a smooth feel throughout, and the drumming lends a more punk-rock feel, rather than that distinct metal sound usually associated with the "harder" record. 

We are graced, however, with a slower song or two on this album. Kissing You Goodbye stands as the Blue and Yellow of Artwork. A lone piano with a slight feedback in the background provides the calm to this storm. Though this song comes a little too soon in the line-up, leaving us with another seven brutal songs to get through.

In that whirlwind of distortion The Used have given us a loosely based story on the death of actor Heath Ledger in Meant To Die. The lyrics read: So maybe I took a little too much/Maybe life didn't want this part of me/If it helps to know/I never let you go/I'm sorry that I lost my mind.

Sifting through this record is a pleasure for any fan of The Used. Yes, it's punishing. But in the same it's melodic and catchy, much like any other Used record. Be sure to check this one out. You won't be disappointed.

Songs to download: Empty Without You, Sold My Soul, Come Undone

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