After what is now four albums, The Used have lost none of the professional drive and dilligence that coincides with the raw emotion presented within their music. While often tagged as an early 2000’s ’emo’ band, The Used have done nothing but grown throughout the years and become a name worth knowing. Their innate ability to craft pop-worthy songs into hardcore and heavy rock is undeniable, and Artwork is no exception, but rather the next level for these gentlemen. Having more control over the release than ever, The Used have stepped every aspect of their music up to the next level.
Turning back to their roots, Artwork is closest to their self-titled debut back in 2001. Not only was it written in the same manner; outside of the studio, unlike the rest of their albums, but it’s guitar driven nature stands as a pillar for all to see they have more faith in who they are now more than ever. The songs are filled with more memorable melodies and meticulous attention given to each line and note that begin to push this album into the stratosphere. But not only is their songwriting stronger than ever, but they have removed a large amount of the production effects from their previous efforts to, as stated before, give more focus on the guitar.
One of the biggest changes for this album is the removal of John Feldman from the producer’s chair. In his place sits Matt Squire, known for his work with Panic! At The Disco and All Time Low. For any long time fan of The Used, this comes as a huge shocker, and almost may cause your stomach to turn before spinning this record. But! Fear not, for the band themselves have even stated “He was pretty silent most of the time, there was just a few occasions where’d he go “well, try this, try that” he was definitely just kind of facilitating things for us”(1) which goes to show the individual power given to the band them self, giving them the ability to truly show their artistic vision.
The album slides a little farther from the heavier screams vocally that used to be laden throughout their songs and in their place are heavy, huge, anthemic, mid-tempo-d chorus’ with crunchy guitars and melodic vocal lines detailing exactly how much ‘you hate yourself’. While I will not deny the adolescent appeal of the lyrics, which have always been a regular for The Used, they are still tasteful in their own manner no matter how ‘teenage-high-school-poetry’ they sound at times. The melodies behind them give you nothing but a reason to sing them.
Over the past eight years, Bert and crew have shown us 4 hardcore driven albums that fuse beautifully with pop sensibility, each with their own unique twist of its own. With the consistent drive shown by this bands relentless touring and recording schedule, they deserve all the credit being given to them. Artwork is another great piece to have in their discography filled with heavy melodic jams that all can find some comfort in.