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Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 9.75
Production 8.25
Creativity 8.75
Lasting Value 10
Reviewer Tilt 10
Final Verdict: 92%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.09
Musicianship 8.86
Lyrics 9.02
Production 8.73
Creativity 8.88
Lasting Value 9.23
Reviewer Tilt 9.28
Average: 90%
Inside AP.net

Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends

Reviewed by: Chris Collum (10/18/09)
Taking Back SundayTell All Your Friends
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: March 26, 2002

This was a user review published several years prior to my becoming staff.

Ahem.

“So sick, so sick of being tired/And oh so tired of being sick/We’re both such magnificent liars/So crush me baby, I’m all ears.”

These are the words that open Tell All Your Friends, the debut full-length album by the Long Island band Taking Back Sunday. Although the band had been together for some three years by the time of the album’s 2002 release, they had undergone numerous lineup changes—including a new lead singer—and had just recently solidified their sound, with Adam Lazzara mainly at the helm vocal-wise, with support from guitarist and founding member John Nolan. The two also shared songwriting and lyric writing duties on the album.

Tell All Your Friends grabs the listener’s attention from the start. The album begins with feedback before Nolan’s ringing guitar riff and Mark O’Connell’s fast-paced, sliding drum line jolt “You Know How I Do” into action. And then, less than fifteen seconds into the song, Lazzara begins singing the lines given at the beginning of this review. “So sick, so sick of being tired…” However, the listener isn’t just hearing vocals Lazzara recorded for some song because it sounds good. When you listen to the songs on Tell All Your Friends, it really is so much more than entertainment. At the risk of sounding cliché, you feel what Lazzara (or Nolan) is feeling.

Tell All Your Friends manages to convey feelings that are completely genuine, not contrived, rehearsed or formulaic, without being over-the-top or sappy. The style in which Lazzara and Nolan deliver the vocals on this album, often in a rapid-fire, back-and-forth way, as if they were carrying on a dialogue, allows you to really attach to and get a sense of the raw emotion behind the songs. This organic emotion is what drives the album; although most of this comes across in the vocals and lyrics of the album, the music matches the album’s tone perfectly. From the beautiful, flange-driven intro of “Great Romances of the 20th Century” to the intense, minor-key breakdown during the bridge of “Timberwolves at New Jersey” to the fast-paced, aggressive riffing during the verses of “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team),” the instrumentation on the album doesn’t just match its tone, it adds to it.

“You Know How I Do,” the album’s opener, makes an abrupt transition after the second chorus. Nearly every song on this album features a “breakdown,” if you will, as the song progresses, that usually features the two vocalists singing different parts over each other, often escalating into a sort-of impassioned near-scream common on the album, especially with Nolan. The song will often soften during the breakdown, before escalating back to and beyond its former energy. Sometimes the song returns to its normal structure, sometimes it doesn’t. While this may sound like songwriting by numbers, the method really doesn’t get old; no two songs on the album utilize this technique in the exact same way.

The second track on the album, “Bike Scene” begins as a mid-tempo song with pop-punk palm-muted guitar and Lazzara singing about meaning business. The bridge/breakdown features vocals from Michelle Nolan (John Nolan’s sister). Another notable track is “There’s No ‘I’ in Team,” which is perhaps the best example of Lazzara and Nolan’s call-and–return, cut-and-cut-back vocal style. Also mentionable are “The Blue Channel,” which segues from a piano intro into about two minutes of pure emotional intensity as Lazzara sings, “Regardless/If my pictures/They don’t line your mirrors,” and “Head Club,” the album’s final track, which ends the album with John belting “Don’t call my name out your window, I’m leaving!,” while Adam sings “I’m sick of writing every song/I’m sick of writing every song about you” over him.

And, last but not least, there is “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team).” This song received a tiny bit of mainstream recognition, with its Fight Club-themed music video getting a little airtime. From the four guitar chords that open the song to the three that close it, this song is three-and-a-half minutes of power and beauty. “And will you tell all your friends/You’ve got your gun to my head/This all was only wishful thinking,” Adam wails during the chorus as John pleads, “The only thing I regret/Is that I never let you hold me back” The “breakdown” on this song is the best on the album, the tension building and building until it seems that it cannot grow any stronger—and then—the song is over. And the listener is left wondering what just happened and dying to press repeat—or at least I know that I was.

But the temptation does not last for long. Every song on the album is just that good. One of this album’s greatest strengths is its brevity: only ten songs long, Tell All Your Friends clocks in at under thirty-four minutes. There is absolutely no fat on this record; every move is both meticulous and necessary.

Since discovering Tell All Your Friends at the age of fourteen, I have fallen head-first into a world of music upon which I had previously merely dwelt on the outskirts. I have since fallen in love with a multitude of different bands, from The Get Up Kids to Glassjaw to Texas Is The Reason to Death Cab for Cutie to Saves the Day; I have fine-tuned my musical tastes. However, I have yet to find any album that matches or exceeds the raw emotion presented in Tell All Your Friends, and the way in which it is presented: simple yet complex, beautifully dissonant, urgent and self-possessed. Maybe my musical tastes are blindly adolescent. Maybe I just haven’t explored enough music. Or maybe I am simply jealous of Adam Lazzara and John Nolan’s way with words and organically honest vocal style. One way or another, I believe that this album objectively deserves its 90% rating.

John Nolan left Taking Back Sunday the year after this album was released, taking bassist Shaun Cooper with him, and founding Straylight Run. Tell All Your Friends was the only album to feature a style that included Nolan and Lazzara’s call-and-return, passionate vocals, and the only Taking Back Sunday full-length to include Nolan. While Taking Back Sunday’s three subsequent albums and Straylight Run’s two full-length albums are good, none of them come close to matching Tell All Your Friends. It truly is a one-in-a-million album. Please, if you do not have this album, I beg you: pick it up today, because I don’t think that you know what you’ve been missing.

Recommended If You LikeThursday’s Full Collapse, Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon, Jimmy Eat World’s Static Prevails, My Chemical Romance’s I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, Fall Out Boy’s Take This to Your Grave, Northstar’s Is This Thing Loaded?, or Senses Fail’s Let It Enfold You


Track Listing
1. You Know How I Do
2. Bike Scene
3. Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)
4. There’s No ‘I’ in Team
5. Great Romances of the 20th Century
6. Ghost Man on Third
7. Timberwolves at New Jersey
8. The Blue Channel
9. You’re So Last Summer
10. Head Club


Additional InfoProduced by Sal Villanueva

Adam Lazzara – Vocals
John Nolan – Guitar, Vocals
Eddie Reyes – Guitar
Shaun Cooper – Bass
Mark O’Connell – Drums

Official Website
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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 37.
07:32 PM on 11/02/09
#2
flks511
You can't be my friend
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Finally.
11:25 PM on 11/02/09
#3
introduction
You're not real musician!
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good review, but i feel like musicianship and creativity should definitely be higher. creativity, because of how new this was to this scene back then, and how influential an album it is, and musicianship, because, well, they're good.
03:12 PM on 11/03/09
#4
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
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good review, but i feel like musicianship and creativity should definitely be higher. creativity, because of how new this was to this scene back then, and how influential an album it is, and musicianship, because, well, they're good.
Yeah...personally I would give the album a 10/10 in all areas...but objectively I stand by what I said.
07:01 PM on 11/03/09
#5
owiseone35
You need human heat
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Good, solid honest review. Great record definitely right now in my top 10 all time.
10:02 AM on 11/04/09
#6
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
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Good, solid honest review. Great record definitely right now in my top 10 all time.
Thanks man
08:31 AM on 11/05/09
#7
kevinAIWW
boner boner boner boner boner boner
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I never knew bits of Straylight Run were in TBS. News to me. :)
11:11 AM on 11/05/09
#8
dhelmick
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amazing album deffinately TBS best and probably always will be
04:02 PM on 11/05/09
#9
iJason
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always been number 1 for me lol. good review.
05:29 PM on 11/05/09
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
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always been number 1 for me lol. good review.
I can relate...it was for me too for the longest time. Still in my top 5 easy.
05:30 PM on 11/05/09
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
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I never knew bits of Straylight Run were in TBS. News to me. :)
Yeah John and Shaun left TBS in 2003 and started Straylight w/Will Noon and John's sister. I'm kinda surprised you didn't put that together...Nolan has a pretty distinctive voice.
05:31 PM on 11/05/09
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
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amazing album deffinately TBS best and probably always will be
Yeah no way in hell will they ever come close to topping TAYF.
05:33 PM on 11/05/09
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
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I know right??
Seeing as there are like seven reviews for New Again I figured it was HIGH time for this.
Plus, TAYF is hugely influential in the "scene."
09:13 AM on 11/06/09
kevinAIWW
boner boner boner boner boner boner
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Yeah John and Shaun left TBS in 2003 and started Straylight w/Will Noon and John's sister. I'm kinda surprised you didn't put that together...Nolan has a pretty distinctive voice.
I knew both bands. I was only like 12 when TAYF came out, and 13 when Straylight Runs first release. I haven't listened to either in a few years so I never remembered to realize it. I'll definitely have to get back into TBS' old shit now.
07:01 PM on 11/06/09
fashionshowdown
You're so money baby!
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Good review man. This CD deserves all the credit it gets.
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