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Imaginary Enemy

The Used

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Album Review

The sixth long-player from the shape-shifting, stalwart, Utah-bred punk rockers opens with a song called "Revolution" that houses the lyric "From now on I pledge allegiance to a world that's so much different/where no one suffers/everyone is free." It's an uplifting image, and one that Bert McCracken and company haven't always evoked, but more than a decade into their career, the Used have carved out their own unique niche in the crowded post-hardcore/screamo punk scene, and have earned the right to reflect on what they've been raging against since their 2002 debut. Working again with longtime producer John Feldman, Imaginary Enemy burns bright and fast, tearing through familiar (as in largely generic), classic anti-establishment punk themes with the subtlety of a mace to the face, but there's a wild, anything-goes spirit (and a genuine yearning for change) that guides much of the material, suggesting that the studio may have housed a sizeable window to accommodate the tossing out of the rule book. For every "Cry," "Generation Throwaway," and "El-Oh-Vee-Ee," all three of which are fist-pumping, largely traditional-sounding 21st century punk rallying cries that effectively utilize the Used instant-chorus generator, there's an "Evolution" or a "Song to Stifle Imperial Progression (A Work in Progress)," the former a dreamy, radio-ready power ballad and the latter a freak show mash-up of feral, Sunset Strip metal and Big Audio Dynamite-induced dance beats, and it's these aberrations that make Imaginary Enemy such a surprisingly fun ride, even as it's beating you over the head with cliches.

Customer Reviews

save your money, buy single songs

Most of the reviews for this album (that got it the high star rating) are actually for the single "Cry", this review is of the WHOLE ALBUM. So like the title says, not really a great value. I suppose if you're 20 living off your parents dime in the dorm and wanna rise up and fight "the man" (you know the same man who made your i-phone, chipotle, and new balance shoes possible) then maybe this whole album is for you. Me, not so much. 75% of the songs on this album are very political or anti-establishment themed, nothing wrong with that I suppose, except that when I buy an album from The Used I'm more looking for tales of unrequited love, angst, etc. Outside of "Cry" (which will further more be referred to as the bait that hooked me into preordering the entire album, which I now remember why I never do) theres a few (make believe, evolution) other songs that I can actually tolerate. In addition to the slant towards poli-socio-eco-ranting in this albums lyrics, I generally find most of the lyrics to also be fairly shallow, sort of high schooly (yep thats a word). Definitely a step backwards in lyrical craftsmanship for The Used. My advice...don't take the bait, and if you already did, well then you know what I know...you paid $10 for three good songs.

The Used just keep getting better and better!

First off, I'm gonna cry because CRY! The single is amazing! The whole song feels so good to listen too! The lyrics and everything are really good! The really cool thing about the song is it's reference to "Buried Myself Alive" off the self-titled album! Its so awesome! Long live The Used. -thematteo

Multiple songs make a band

I have always been a Used fan. I listen to everything (Hip-hop, rock, alternative, country, electronic, dance, jazz, southern rock, new rock, classic rock, country twang, country pop). I appreciate that this band is still out making albums that I love to listen to. I like this song a lot, but I don't love it like Taste of Ink, Blood on My Hands , Lunacy Fringe etc...It is annoying when a self proclaimed music guru trys to tell other people that "this is not The Used". It most certainly is. Give the album a chance before you try to shut down a band via a comment board. People are going to listen and judge for themselves anyways. Your taste in music is just that, your own

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Orem, UT

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The members of the Used had to overcome poverty, homelessness, and substance abuse, not to mention the straitlaced attitudes of their hometown of Orem, Utah, to bring their screamo-tinged brand of post-hardcore to life. But they persevered and earned a contract with Reprise Records, releasing their self-titled debut album in June 2002. Having only played a handful of shows around Orem prior to their record's release, the band — vocalist Bert McCracken, guitarist Quinn Allman, bassist Jeph Howard,...
Full Bio