”Flicker, Fade” possesses the sincerity that made me fall in love with Taking Back Sunday in the first place, with its eruptive and incredibly catchy chorus sandwiched with the band’s mastery of soft/loud/soft dynamics, as John Nolan delivers his impassioned yells buoyed the song’s chaotic outro.
When the original Taking Back Sunday lineup shockingly reunited over three years ago, many were expecting a return to the Tell All Your Friends glory years. In hindsight, it’s obvious that those expectations were asking a lot out of OG TBS 2.0, considering the five band members hadn’t written an album together in nearly ten years. The band’s self-titled return was met with mixed returns, containing some half-baked ideas but a nice handful of good-to-great numbers (“Best Places To Be A Mom” and “This Is All Now” were the two songs that felt closest to what OG TBS 2.0 was trying to capture from the TAYF days).
But expectations were re-adjusted; some thought the band members still needed time to feel each other out and write to their strengths while others believed the band was washed up for good. I fall into the former group and met the news of Taking Back Sunday signing to Hopeless Records with cautious excitement. The band’s upcoming sixth full-length, Happiness Is,will probably be the litmus test for OG TBS 2.0, considering they’ve now been touring and writing with each other for the past three-plus years.
So when the band premiered the first single off Happiness Is, titled “Flicker, Fade,” it was understandably met with some nervous optimism and/or skepticism. Clashing cymbals and soaring guitar chords introduce you to the song as Adam Lazzara softly sings, “If you should change your name/I’d love you just the same/and if you’d run away/I’d save your place,” and you feel oddly comforted. While the band will never recapture the dizzying highs of songs like “You Know How I Do” and “Ghost Man on Third,” we shouldn’t expect a band to backwards and pander. ”Flicker, Fade” sounds like the song I’ve been waiting for Taking Back Sunday to write for the longest time. The band was striving with radio rock success with some of the singles they released in the mid-2000s and it always felt unnatural and hollow. ”Flicker, Fade” possesses the sincerity that made me fall in love with Taking Back Sunday in the first place, with its eruptive and incredibly catchy chorus sandwiched with the band’s mastery of soft/loud/soft dynamics, as John Nolan delivers his impassioned yells buoyed the song’s chaotic outro.
Happiness Is will hit stores just a few weeks shy of when Taking Back Sunday announced four years ago that John Nolan and Shaun Cooper were re-joining Adam Lazzara, Eddie Reyes, and Mark O’Connell with the message, ”Sometimes it takes some time to remember where you were headed in the first place and the people you intended to go there with. There’s no hard feelings, just the future.” With “Flicker, Fade,” it finally feels like Taking Back Sunday is on the path they’ve always wanted to be on.
Taking Back Sunday will release Happiness Is on March 18th via Hopeless Records. Listen to “Flicker, Fade” below.
This originally appeared on my blog, Locked Groove. Feel free to follow it for more reviews and music thoughts.
Good write up. I really, really like this song. Love the drum production on the song. I really dig, well there's a lot i dig about it, but towards the end of the second verse, when the arpeggiated dulcimer/piano thing comes in on the right, then the toms/deeper-lower drums come in on the left, then we've got John in the back giving us the "I could say I blame you" refrain, and I'm just sitting here, listening to it all, and just loving it. Creative stuff.