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The Used – Lies For the Liars
Written by Nikki Wertheim   
The Used – Lies For the Liars2 out of 5

Latest album from The Used...or is it My Chemical Romance?

Since My Chemical Romance experienced breakthrough success with their 2004 release Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, it has been common knowledge among the MTV Generation that MCR and The Used are sister bands.  Maybe it was a misconception on my part, but I always assumed that The Used was the mentor to student band My Chemical Romance, but, with the release of The Used’s latest album, I have apparently been proven wrong. 

It’s unclear what to attribute this change in The Used’s style to, but it was hinted towards when news got out that drummer Branden Steineckert got tossed from the band’s lineup last September due to the band needing to “move forward without him.”  BURRRRRN.  Good Charlotte drummer Dean Butterworth played with the band during the recording process before Steineckert was officially replaced with Dan Whitesides, drummer for New Transit Direction.  What exactly does needing to “move forward without him” entail?  Steineckert’s lack of interest in changing the sound?  Perhaps a lack of interest in replacing himself with a drum machine on various parts of the album?  Regardless of reasoning, The Used enter the scene with a third album, a new drummer, and a very very very obvious change in sound.  And it’s all kind of weird too, because this change consists of sounding like every other band out there that isn’t The Used. 

That said, it’s really difficult to not make fun of 2007’s Lies For the Liars.  Opening track The Ripper explodes with a My Chemical Romance frenzy (albeit perhaps a little bit heavier), being backed by computerized drum beats.  Two separate times in the song, the band turns a capella for a hot sec…and reeks of Panic! At the Disco.  Find a Way begins with some weird computerized beeps and bloops that sound (strangely enough) like the opening to Pink Floyd’s Money.  Yes.  Pink Floyd.  I shit you not.  Another Pink Floyd reference is made in Wake the Dead, as a female voice wails in possible homage to the woman wailing in a similar fashion in Floyd’s Great Gig in the Sky.  Closing track Smother Me is a classic melodramatic emo ballad, followed by exactly a minute and a half of silence before the bonus track begins.  A bonus track consisting of a beat and the repetition of “quesadilla” over and over again.

To be honest with you, I don’t lack a sense of humor.  But after listening to the rest of this album and feeling my brain sliding out of my head, rapping about Mexican food isn’t going to make me think more of your band.

The Used’s 2002 debut album, for what it’s worth, was stellar.  They brought more emotion and more self-pity than any scene fourteen-year-old could shake a stick at.  The music was melodic, Bert McCracken’s vocals were high-reaching and heart wrenching, the lyrics told a straight-forward story while still being poetic enough for you to feel like the band was putting your feelings into words you couldn’t find.  Their 2004 sophomore release In Love and Death, albeit heavier, did the same.  But with Lies For the Liars, it seems as though all of the good has been thrown overboard in an attempt to “move forward” (without Branden Steineckert, don’t forget that).

Lies For the Liars contains very little of what The Used once was.  Sometimes, that much of a change, though drastic, is good for a band’s career.  Not so much in this case.  Change is good when it’s original—not when your band ends up sounding like everyone else.  And in the few moments when The Used doesn’t sound like every other screamo band to hit the shelves, they adopt this speedy metal sound.  This new sound happens to suit them.  The lyrics, however, don’t.  If at all possible for screamo to sound more melodramatic than before, The Used have managed to go that far.  While once dancing in the space between “just right” and “over the top” in regards to lyrics, the band has pushed beyond the boundaries into “goddamn awful.” 

For example—starting off the song Liar Liar (Burn in Hell), a title which could be look at as an “unintentional” Taking Back Sunday reference, with lyrics consisting of “Liar, liar, pants on fire” is a no-no.  That’s not a perversion of an old nursery school rhyme, guys.  That’s just downright hysterical in that laughing-at-you-not-with-you way.  Additionally, in Pretty Handsome Awkward, McCracken declares that “you bleed just like you puke while running a mile.”  How does one do that, exactly?  The band should have at least stuck with being straightforward in their lyrics instead of weirdly metaphoric.  If you can call it metaphoric, anyway.

Overall, the musicianship has improved in a direction not expected of the band.  It’d be better if they sounded a little less like everyone else, but maybe that’s asking too much.  Some of the songs are catchy (Paralyzed), some of the songs are lame but offer a good laugh (the aforementioned Liar Liar).  If you’re looking for a different The Used, this might be just what you’re searching for.  Or if you’re looking for something that’s going to keep you laughing for a full close to forty minutes, this will probably suit you just fine as well.

Release date: 21/05/07
Artist website: www.theused.net
Label: Reprise Records

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