The Used – “The Canyon” Album Review

The Used – “The Canyon” (Hopeless Records)
By: Brian Campbell


The Used’s “The Canyon” finds the band at their visceral best, capturing a raw emotionality not felt since their 2002 eponymous debut.


For frontman Bert McCracken, “The Canyon” is the equivalent of slitting his own wrists and pouring his very soul onto wax. It’s unflinching in its self-psychoanalysis, from McCracken aurally breaking down while remembering a loved one on opener “For You” (‘All I want to say to you / Is that your love never leaves me alone / And now you’re right here; hold my hand / Every song I ever sing is for you / Is for you’) and revising those feelings on the guttural “Upper Falls” (‘I see a loaded gun / I can’t take anymore…And what did it take / To trigger the end / I could have been there / I miss you my friend’). Elsewhere, “Cold War Telescreen” is slick and powerful indie-rock, the instantly memorable “Broken Windows” is an album highlight, “Rise Up Lights” is a caustic reminder that the Used is still, in fact, the Used, despite their newfound maturity, McCracken candidly asks ‘Do you like me? / Would you die for me?’ on the powerful “Pretty Picture,” “This Divine Absence (This Is Water)” features some of “The Canyon’s” biggest hooks, “Moving The Mountain (Odysseus Surrenders)” is a surprisingly proggy romp and “Over And Over Again” is very My Chemical Romance in all their The Black Parade pop regalia.


“The Canyon” is quite the task at 79 minutes, and some listener fatigue is to be expected, especially in the album’s latter stages, but the journey is a just undertaking. It’s difficult to define a band with one album, albeit one as ambitious as “The Canyon,” though these 17 tracks will surely go a long way in cementing The Used’s lasting legacy. If music does indeed exist to make us feel something, then “The Canyon” succeeds on every level.

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