Album review: "Imaginary Enemy"

By Tyler Arnold
On April 18, 2014

  • Annie Steeves (left), student ambassador for the UNH Sustainability Institute, started the Real Food Challenge at UNH to support community based, fairly traded, humanely raised and ecologically sound food to Durham. Courtesy Photo

Since 2001, American rock group The Used have continued to contribute towards the music industry.  On April 1, 2014, the band released its sixth album "Imaginary Enemy." Hailing from Orem, Utah, bandmates Bert McCracken, Quinn  Allman, Dan Whitesides and Jeph Howard have once again created an album worth mentioning.  In response to the release of this new album, The Used has recently been on tour along with rock group Taking Back Sunday and Spencer Chamberlain's new band Sleepwave.

Following The Used's previous albums - like 2009's release of "Artwork" and 2012's "Vulnerable - Imaginary Enemy" displays the same common trends that rose the band to stardom.  This new record exhibits what any fan of the band would expect.  It presents a mix of emotions that allows for each song to have its own distinct feeling and sound.  The album itself feels singular and solidified.

The album starts off with a song that presents a common topic among many of The Used's earlier albums. "Revolution" appeals to the communal rebellious nature of the bands fans. It cries out for change and emits a sense of urgency by creating an ultimatum if things remain as they are.  Other common topics within the album include revenge and retaliation, while other songs converge on the themes of love and modification of our inner selves.

Another song on the album, "A Song To Stifle Imperial Progression (A Work In Progress)," is an obvious attack on recent political decisions and administrative corruption. McCracken screams, "By declaring war on terror you declare war on yourself," amidst a mass of electric chords and a backup chorus.  They declare that things need to change and change soon or all will be lost.

The band raises this notion of change to the forefront of the album.  Each song they perform opens up a new topic for discussion.  "Generation Throwaway" deals with the concept that this upcoming generation, our generation, is nothing but insensitive, inconsiderate and useless individuals with no care for the world or for others.  The Used proclaims that for this generalization of our generation to change, all we need to do is reach up and take it.

This album brings up topics as simple as hate within the featured song, "Imaginary Enemy," among its uncharacteristic yet welcomed blues-rock intro.  Alternatively, the album discusses subjects as complicated as the problems within today's parenting system in "Make Believe."

Throughout this album, The Used expresses their hope that their music may do some good in the world.  It attempts and succeeds in showing that music has the ability to change the world.

The album itself is a testimony to the ideas that the band wants to make.  The album begins by with the concepts of revolution and revenge in high regard, yet as the album progresses, the topics evolve and end with the actions of changing hearts and love as the main themes.

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