THE USED "TOXIC POSITIVITY" ALBUM REVIEW
On May 19th, 2023, The Used released their much anticipated 10th studio album entitled TOXIC POSITIVITY. The band has been inching up to the forthcoming record for months now with red herring singles "FUCK YOU" and "PEOPLE ARE VOMIT" as well as actual single drops within the last week "GIVING UP" and "NUMB".
The "red herring" singles previously mentioned are songs that aren't even on the record but have been giving a glimpse into the work that the band as well as producer John Feldmann have been working on. This is John's 8th studio album working with The Used, going all the way back to 2001's self-titled record.
TOXIC POSITIVITY hits the ground running in typical Used fashion with the opening track WORST I'VE EVER BEEN. the 2:50 track is an immediate throwback to 2007's LIES FOR THE LIARS record with a slow beginning and build-up into a sick intro with a groovy verse followed by an unforgettable chorus, which, let's face it, every chorus in every The Used song is unforgettable. WORST I'VE EVER BEEN is the perfect kick-off point for anyone just listening to the record, it's the perfect track 1.
The aforementioned "NUMB" is next, the first official single from the band off of TOXIC POSITIVITY. NUMB's haunting piano melody at the beginning of the song coupled with Bert's melancholy lyrics is an early pallet cleansing ballad to the chaos that's TOXIC POSITIVITY. It's another track that might find itself on LIES FOR THE LIARS as well as later music in HEARTWORK.
The Used have always been to me an innovative and envelope-pushing band in and outside of the emo/screamo/pop-punk genre and nothing says that more than track 3's "I HATE EVERYBODY". Almost dub-step-like beats combined with hip-hop hi-hat clapping noises start this song off (yes you heard that right), to some of the catchiest opening lyrics I've heard in a minute: "All our friends are falling in love, but I can't even fall asleep..." The tune has a ton of dynamic twists and turns and at one point you wonder "Is Bert rapping?" The feel and the vibe of the song is one of the most experimental songs I've heard by the band especially the wah-wah/fuzz slap bass at the end, (yes all of this is in one song, and i'ts amazing.)
The 2-minute and 13-second banger entitled PINKY SWEAR is track 4 and is a straightforward in-your-face throwback to the self-titled era. It's fast, there's screaming, there's singing, what more could you want?! If you liked PINKY SWEAR, then you're going to love HEADSPACE even more. The 3-and-a-half-minute banger is the love child of HEARTWORK and LIES FOR THE LIARS. It's got one of the catchiest choruses I've ever heard and Bert shows off his pipes, after over 20 years he can still hit the high notes like it was yesterday.
What I would consider to be another balladesque track on the album is track 6's CHERRY. It drives hard while also taking the backseat while being dynamically in your face. Everything is where it needs to be, singing, melody, screaming and nothing overdoes itself. Back to back with another track that does this is DOPAMINE. DOPAMINE to me is a straight-up throwback to IN LOVE AND DEATH era while also being "its own thing".
One of the catchiest tracks on the entire album is DANCING WITH A BRICK WALL. As the title implies it's a dance tune. It's a track I can see everyone at a live show jumping up and down to the entire track. The verses are dynamic and back in the mix until the chorus hits you with a wall of sound and an unforgettable melody that I can quickly see becoming a future sing-a-long at live shows.
"Back in my day" songs in the latter half of the album were pretty forgettable, and that's not the case with TOP OF THE WORLD which is easily one of my favorite tracks from the entire album. Not only is it a straight-up emo-rock song but has one of the catchiest chorus melodies I've heard in a while repeating the song title as lyrics.
HOUSE OF SAND is in my opinion an acoustic track with percussion lightly sprinkled throughout. The track has real "All That I've Got" from 2004's IN LOVE AND DEATH vibes mixed with "Blue and Yellow" from 2001's self-titled record, it's the perfect melodic hardcore ballad for this record. Rounding out the end of the album is track GIVING UP, (something I hope The Used never does by the way), it is the perfect end to an incredible album. It's another one of those "dance bop" tracks with an early 2000's pop-punk drum beat, some more modern electronic drums, and a catchy ass hell chorus "I'm done with the misery, Yeah I'm done faking tragedies..."
TOXIC POSITIVITY does not disappoint in the least. It's the perfect jumping-off point for anyone just discovering the band as well as an immediate favorite for any diehard The Used fan. But hey! That's my opinion, you can listen to HEARTWORK now and decide for yourself! TOXIC POSITIVITY is OUT NOW! via BIG NOISE.
Check out The Used on tour this summer co-headlining with Pierce The Veil on the CREATIVE CONTROL TOUR with support from DON BROCO, DEATHBYROMY and GIRLFRIENDS.
You can check out The Used's latest single "GIVING UP" as well as tour dates and more below!
Creative Control Tour Dates
May 23 - Austin, TX – HEB Center @ Cedar Park^+ (SOLD OUT)
May 24 - New Orleans, LA - The Fillmore Harrah's New Orleans^+ (SOLD OUT)
May 26 - Tampa, FL - Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa^+ (SOLD OUT)
May 27 - Boca Raton, FL - Mizner Park Amphitheatre^+ (SOLD OUT)
May 28 - St Augustine, FL - The Saint Augustine Amphitheater^+ (LOW TICKET WARNING)
May 30 - Atlanta, GA - Coca Cola Roxy^+ (SOLD OUT)
May 31 - Nashville, TN - Nashville Municipal Auditorium^+
June 2 - Toronto, ON - RBC Echo Beach^+
June 3 - Baltimore, MD - Pier Six Pavilion^+ (SOLD OUT)
June 5 - New York, NY - The Rooftop @ Pier 17^+ (SOLD OUT)
June 6 - Richmond, VA - Virginia Credit Union LIVE!^+
June 7 - Wallingford, CT – Toyota Oakdale Theatre^+ (SOLD OUT)
June 9 - Philadelphia, PA – Skyline Stage @ The Mann^+ (SOLD OUT)
June 10 - Portland, ME - Cross Insurance Arena^+
June 12 - Asbury Park, NJ - Stone Pony Summer Stage^# (SOLD OUT)
June 13 - New York, NY - The Rooftop @ Pier 17^# (SOLD OUT)
June 15 - Bethlehem, PA - Wind Creek Event Center^# (SOLD OUT)
June 16 – Moon Twp, PA – UPMC Events Center^#
June 17 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center^#
June 19 - Grand Rapids, MI - GLC Live @ 20 Monroe^# (SOLD OUT)
June 21 - Cincinnati, OH - The Andrew J Brady Music Center^# (SOLD OUT)
June 22 - Madison, WI - The Sylvee^# (SOLD OUT)
June 24 - Dallas, TX – So What?! Music Festival*
June 28 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex^# (LOW TICKET WARNING)
June 29 - Reno, NV - Grand Theatre @ The Grand Sierra Resort^# (SOLD OUT)
July 1 - Irvine, CA - FivePoint Amphitheatre^# (SOLD OUT)
July 2 - Phoenix, AZ - Arizona Financial Theatre^# (SOLD OUT)
September 10 – Alton, VA – Blue Ridge Rock Festival*
* Festival Appearance
^ w/ Don Broco
+ w/ Deathbyromy
# w/ girlfriends
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