To be completely fair, the last experience I had with The Used was in 2004 with the angry-emo-kid screams of Bert McCracken on their sophomore effort, In Love And Death. Truth be told, I can still listen to that record today and really appreciate it. It’s angry-white-kid music to the core with poor-me lyrics; anyone that isn’t targeting a specific demographic should be ashamed of writing them. However, it was heavy, it was catchy, and it was fun for what it was.
I don’t own 2007’s Lies For The Liars or 2009’s Artwork, but if 2012’s Vulnerable is any indication, not only have The Used made zero progress forward, but they’ve fallen far, far backwards. Let’s start with the music: For one, it’s completely uninspired. There’s not one bit of originality here, or even a simple attempt at writing a unique riff or a personal lyric. Boring radio-friendly tracks are nestled in between screamo numbers that don’t even attempt to sound heavier than their predecessors. I mean, Hands And Faces starts with electro-drums, hand claps, and guitar that sounds right out of an beginner indie-dance band’s playbook. How are you supposed to off yourself to that? Lyrically, it’s a color-by-numbers record that hits all the common themes that any displaced teenager feels verified to relate to: unacceptance, rejection, loneliness, and the mocking of that cheerleader that you do with your straight jet-black haired friends in the corner of the lunchroom, only to come home and lust after her yearbook picture. In all actuality, our character here probably had to write a book report with this girl once, and once the book report was through, he went home, sat on his bed, and wrote Getting Over You with his eyeliner streaming down his face.
The lyrics are almost laughable here. Oh, who are we kidding? They are laughable! Bert is 30 years old, but he’s stuck so bad in a pathetic teenage mindset that I, truthfully, almost feel sorry for him. Let me give you a random sampling:
“I gave you everything / you threw it away / Put me out like a cigarette / Out like a cigarette / Love like cancer / you still beg me to stay / Put me out like a cigarette / Out like a cigarette.” —from Put Me Out
“How can it feel so right when it’s so wrong / Now that you’re dead, it’s kinda turnin’ me on.
You’re not with Jesus Christ, you’re just gone / Now that you’re dead, it’s kinda turnin’ me on.
Breathing! Not Breathing! Breathing!” —from Now That You’re Dead
“From my head all the way to my feet / Strange is what I’ve become.
Would you ask for a little more of me / Why can’t I find it?
Empty / Where my heart used to be
Now I’m looking in the mirror / I see this monster that is me” —from Give Me Love
Guys, you can’t make this stuff up. You sell your soul to write this type of music. I’m sure these dudes would sell it all over again just to touch the objection of their so-called affection; just once. Oh her hair and her Hello Kitty backpack and her spiked armband…just once. Or the cheerleader. Just…somebody. Whoever.
If you HAD to listen to two tracks: I Come Alive / Kiss It Goodbye