PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Taking Back Sunday: New Again

Matthew Niner

Another solid album that cements their reputation as one of the most genuinely affecting and consistent bands in the current scene.

Taking Back Sunday

New Again

Label: Warner Bros.
US Release Date: 2009-06-02
UK Release Date: 2009-06-01

Taking Back Sunday are a peculiar band, with three albums of largely similar emotional rock with only mild variations in sound to differentiate each album from each other. Their last offering, Louder Now, took a slightly harder edge and proved to be their most successful album to date. Rightly so, as the songwriting -- while not entirely different from previous works -- had definitely become more sophisticated, and tracks such as "My Blue Heaven" had a real emotional core.

Last year, key member Fred Mascherino departed to concentrate on his own solo project (the unforgivably awful the Color Fred). The band regrouped with new vocalist Matthew Fazzi and began working on their new album, the aptly titled New Again (the band had been a new prospect once before, following the departure of Mascherino's predecessor, Straylight Run's John Nolan).

New Again follows the Taking Back Sunday route of slightly tweaking the band's sound without doing too much. Instead of the full scale assault that was Louder Now's opener, "What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?", the band open with the title track, a lilting summery number that serves as a fine introduction to the album. It's followed by "Sink Into Me", a similar track made noticeable by the liberal use of group chanting "Hey!"; it's terribly clichéd, but that has always been a part of Taking Back Sunday's charm. The first real curve ball comes with "Lonely, Lonely", which features an aggressive riff and some demented-sounding vocals from the usually caramel voiced Adam Lazarra.

The unique aspects of New Again stem from the use of some different instrumentation, some soft synth parts, and keyboards as used on the Goo Goo Dolls-like "Where My Mouth Is". "Cut Me Up Jenny" is also a noticeable track due to the jarring rhythm during the verses that begin to annoy before actually providing the hook of the song.

The song writing on New Again is as consistent as Taking Back Sunday have ever produced. Adam Lazarra proves himself yet again an incredibly versatile vocalist, and he was written some of his strongest melodies to date. Lyrically, the album veers from ambiguous clichés for which this genre is renowned, to scathing rants about his ex loves (he broke up with Eisley's Chauntelle DuPree during the recording process). "Carpathia" is the highlight, a stunning song with a chorus that refuses to go quietly, and which has a generally fresh feel. The last song on the album, "Everything Must Go", continues the band's tradition of the epic grandstand finish a la "Slow Dance on the Inside".

They may never achieve huge mainstream recognition like My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy, but Taking Back Sunday should not be taken for granted. They have produced another solid album that cements their reputation as one of the most genuinely affecting and consistent bands in the current scene.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.