Last month, The Used released their 7th studio album since their self-titled debut album in 2002. The Canyon has a total of 17 tracks; each one different from the last. The album is available for streaming on Spotify, as well as other platforms if you haven’t heard it yet.
The Canyon is refreshing in the sense that it encompasses the band’s signature sound, but has some run over of socio-political issues from their last album, Imaginary Enemy. Tracks 6 and 13, “Pretty Picture” and “The Quiet War”, very obviously are about the state of politics and it’s affect on culture. “The Quiet War” consists of multiple literary references and authors, like Noam Chomsky and Stephen King. The song also includes a section where Bert raps, which is pretty cool if you ask me. “Pretty Picture” begins with audio clips of Jim Jones speaking to his congregation until it picks up musically. I get the notion the song is related to the national issue of lack of mental health care and suicide. The Canyon is unique in several ways while still holding true to the band’s emo roots. This album is personal, and has a common theme of loss and death, which isn’t all that shocking as Bert’s childhood best friend committed suicide last year. The opening track, “For You” is an acoustic tribute to his friend, Tregen Lewis. It’s emotional and heartfelt. The 14th track, “Moon-Dream”, is also a dedication to someone in Bert’s life. He wrote the song for his daughter, Cleo, and even went as far as to incorporate her singing in the song. It’s executed in a very “Eleanor Rigby” sort of way.
If you’re anticipating the punk rock/ post-hardcore sound The Used is known for, fear not because it’s definitely on this album. Imaginary Enemy received criticism from some fans for straying too far from their classic sound (I personally enjoyed it however), but The Canyon gets back in touch with their original roots. “Cold War Telescreen” and “Moving The Mountain (Odysseus Surrenders)” both have a southern hardcore vibe, think Every Time I Die.
Track 15, “The Nexus” opens with soft, feminine “oo”-ing which is cut off by grimy, sludgy guitar riffs and whisper vocals, almost like they’re channeling Marilyn Manson. This track almost has a sultry vibe to it.
If you’re like me then you also love the softer side of The Used, for example “Blue and Yellow”. This album also offers that in “Upper Falls”. Some of my top picks off The Canyon are “Funeral Post”, which has a slowcore feel to it, and “Over and Over Again”, which offers an upbeat, poppy reprieve from the overall dismay theme of the album.
As someone who has lost friends to suicide, I feel for ya Bert. Much love from us at Chimera Magazine.
If you’re not already listening to the album and analyzing the lyrics, do it now! And check out their site http://www.theused.net/ to purchase merch or tickets for their tour with Glassjaw!
- Sierra Santschi
Photo Credit: Derek Bremner