The Used | Imaginary Enemy (s/r)

used imaginaryThis album is too perfect. The drums aren’t gritty; the guitar riffs have no pop.

 

In my childhood, I listened to The Used for how raw they were. No emotions were held back, the music was dark, and Bert McCracken would randomly scream, and I thought that was cool. It felt like I was listening to the demons inside the band’s head. Well, Imaginary Enemy throws most of that intensity into the gutter.

This album is too perfect. The drums aren’t gritty; the guitar riffs have no pop. Everything’s polished so much that any feeling put behind the music is seemingly absent. I hate using the phrase “[insert band name here] went mainstream,” but it couldn’t be more accurate here. Most songs sound like wanna-be pop ballads.

The one redeeming factor this all brings is that the album is catchy. One listen to “Revolution” and you’ll know the chorus. This incidentally happens to be the one song I really enjoyed, as it reminded me of the band’s earlier works. I don’t want to make a bold statement like “They sold out,” but I can’t be the only one who came into this album expecting more than radio sing-alongs.

I’m unsure what point The Used wanted to get across with this release. There’s definitely a “government sucks, let’s rebel” vibe underneath the music. But I feel Imaginary Enemy is trying too hard to achieve that concept. An album focused on youth reclaiming their future should have more power behind it, not lack energy.

It all feels too forced. Areas where the band tries to be edgy are hard to take seriously with a techno beat in the background. Call me a judgmental fan who misses his angsty childhood idols, but this album wants to be something it can’t with the level of production it’s gone through. I don’t expect The Used to sound like its glory days after 13 years, but I was hoping for much more. C- | Alex Wilking

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