Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Used: Artwork

The Used’s 2007 album, Lies For The Liars, was a relative flop for the previously platinum-selling emo band, which puts pressure on its follow-up, Artwork. Will the disc be a comeback, or will it show The Used to be a flash in the pan, destined for internment in I Love The ’00s reruns? Sadly, it’s looking like the latter. Peeling off much of the outfit’s Utah-bred oddness and emotive chaos, the album is a clear ploy at breaking through to a more pop-inclined audience. But frontman Bert McCracken and crew have forgotten the first rule of crafting a would-be pop album: Make it catchy. To its credit, there are bursts of the band’s former discordant, throat-shredding intensity on tracks like “Blood On My Hands” and “Meant To Die,” but they mainly just accentuate how much The Used has been used up. Ideally, Artwork could have been a return to the group’s screamo roots, or an utter redefinition. Instead, it’s all hedged bets and second guesses. The disc’s most telling song is the bland, ersatz pop anthem “Watered Down,” the title of which seems almost like McCracken’s attempt to inoculate himself against criticism. But all it does is draw attention to the fact that Artwork is indeed watered down; McCracken even croons, “I’ve been given a gift / shame to take advantage of it.”


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