The Used has of late become a band that always seems to be releasing something new. Since dropping their last EP The Ocean of the Sky in July of 2013, the band has already announced that their newest album Imaginary Enemy (yes I know, that’s the title of a Circa Survive song as well) will be released on April 1st. Recently the first single from the album, titled “Cry”, was released.
In all honesty, when I first heard this track I cringed a little. This might be the case for you too if you enjoy the band’s older songs. The very standard and somewhat annoying pop-sounding voice that singer Bert McCracken has on the verses is confusing to me, especially when compared to the raw, unedited sounds he produced on the latest EP.
After giving the track a few more listens, however, I have come to enjoy its sound. An unspoken standard for some bands is to never use auto-tune because of strong opposition to the “mainstream” pop sound. In the case of “Cry” though, it works perfectly. The sound is almost reminiscent of a Depeche Mode-esque ’80s jam. If you still can’t get past the verses, don’t worry – the catchy, un-auto-tuned chorus and bridge save the song.
Guitars in the chorus keep the seemingly standard Used style of no-nonsense power chords. The same can be said for the smooth but also punchy bass lines that Jeph Howard always manages to throw in. Another plus comes with the fact that McCracken is actually screaming again. Now whether or not he can still do this without a few touch-ups is up for debate. Nonetheless, the semi-breakdown of a bridge is a good fit. True fans will also recognize the lyrics of “If you want me back/You’re gonna have to ask nicer than that” as a nice throwback to band’s earlier song, “Buried Myself Alive”.
“Cry” is a definite risk for the band, and whether or not it reflects the upcoming album’s sound is a question that fans will mull over for the next two months. Although very pop-sounding during the verses, the song in no way sounds overproduced. The feeling of raw emotion is still very much alive in this song, as in any other song by The Used.