The Used have struggled to capture what made them such a popular band with their first three releases. For a certain age group the self-titled debut in 2002, the follow-up In Love And Death in 2004 & the 2007 Lies for the Liars album are synonymous with a certain point in their lives.
Commercially successful follow ups every couple of years has seen the band’s brand of alternative rock/emo lose its lustre. Not necessarily their fault as that entire scene has slowly dissolved over the last 10 years.
The Canyon is The Used’s seventh studio album & sees Justin Shekoski take over guitar duties from Quinn Allman. It was released on October 27th 2017 via Hopeless Records.
For You gets things started poorly. An overly lengthy speech leads into an acoustic number that couldn’t be more bland if they tried. It’s such a dour opener that kills all motivation to continue onward especially when you see that the album is 17 tracks long! Yes, The Canyon is a double CD.
The pace picks up for Cold War Telescreen, a more punk-rock track that does at least make for a more exciting listen. Unfortunately, it’s symptomatic of a lot of the albums problems in that it’s so unmemorable. It’s decent, you’ll enjoy it while it plays but when it ends you won’t be rushing to play it again.
When they get it right though, we get bouncy & catchy tunes that can hold their own against the better end of pop-punk/pop-rock this year. Broken Windows, Funeral Post, Over and Over Again & The Nexus are the standout tracks of the album. They get the blood pumping & offer a familiar yet advanced Used sound.
The tracks with a bit more ‘oomph’ to them also hold up pretty well too. Rise Up Lights & Selfies in Aleppo are as heavy as you’re going to get with The Used but they really deliver.
Elsewhere though, tracks like Vertigo Cave, Pretty Picture, Upper Falls & The Quiet War have so little going for them that you have to wonder why they were even included. Cut these tracks & make the album shorter. The Quiet War in particular is near unlistenable thanks to the brief inclusion of ‘rap’ vocals. Utterly horrid to hear.
Far too many tracks go on for far too long making The Canyon feel like such a slog. Like such a chore to get through. It’s 80 minutes long & at least 6 tracks could easily have been left out making it a much more palatable listen. The good tracks are great but when they’re surrounded by bland & boring listens the whole record suffers.
The Used – The Canyon Full Track Listing:
1. For You
2. Cold War Telescreen
3. Broken Windows
4. Rise Up Lights
5. Vertigo Cave
6. Pretty Pictures
7. Funeral Post
8. Upper Falls
9. The Divine Absence (This is Water)
10. Selfies in Aleppo
11. Moving the Mountain (Odysseus Surrenders)
12. Over and Over Again
13. The Quiet War
15. The Nexus
16. About You (No Songs Left to Sing)
17. The Mouth of the Canyon
The Canyon is out now & available to buy/stream via all major services including Amazon & Apple Music below.
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The Used - The Canyon (Hopeless Records)
The Final Score - 5.5/10