The Used are back with their signature lyrical madness. Taking their usual lyrical subjects of love, heartbreak and drugs, The Used throw some political themes into the mix in their newest album Imaginary Enemy. The album art of a realistic heart hanging by a noose should be your first clue that this is record is going to tackle some different subjects. It features world leaders and political icons with their eyes blindfolded in the same red of the updated motif. The band’s sixth studio album was released on April 1, 2014 and features 11 tracks and a familiar sound. Fans will know it is The Used, but the album also gives them a controversial message to think about.
Originating in Utah, The Used is a self-described rock band that has also been classified as alternative, post-hardcore and metal. The difficulty in placing the band in a genre is a result of their unique sound. The band’s lead vocalist Bert McCracken can scream out passionate lyrics or melodically sing ballads. The Used is not easy to put in a box, and their newest album continues this trend. Imaginary Enemy is a new chapter calling for listeners to look at involvement in wars, conflict in the Middle East, taking a stand and refusing to follow blindly.
“Revolution” kicks off the album heavy and quick tempo; it gets the listener ready to not only hear more songs, but also to begin to challenge the status quo. “This is the end, this is the end, calling for revolution!” This chorus is not just part of the song, it is screamed and proves The Used mean business.
The album’s second track, “Cry” is a heartbreak love song and has a heavier catchy rhythm. The following song, “EL-OH-VEE-EE (We Got Love)” is sure to be a sing-along anthem at live shows. The heaviness continues through “A Song to Stifle Imperial Progression” (War on Terror), but the tone shifts at track 5, “Generation Throwaway” as an anthem for standing your ground and not losing everything. Melodic anthem-style permeates the remaining tracks with catchy hooks, and the album winds up with one of the slowest songs, “Overdose.”
The Used also released two very cool looking version of the album for those of you with turntables. One is a limited edition red vinyl with black splatter, and the other is clear with the heart logo covering both sides. The liner notes further explain the War on Terror, War on Drugs, and War on Poverty to clarify the significance of these issues. If there is any doubt what the band wishes to convey, stay tuned for the hidden track, “Red Heart” following “Overdose.”
Overall, By the Barricade recommends Imaginary Enemy for fans of The Used or those interested in politically-themed songs inciting change.