The Used are one of the most important bands in emo. They are the guys responsible for many of your favourite bands. They inspired a generation and continue to hold a special, valued place in rock music. And you know why? Probably because they are awesome. The Used’s sound has changed throughout the years, but their spark and fierce, unrelenting passion has not. And their new album The Canyon is all about unapologetic emotion and soul.
The album starts off with ‘For You’ and Bert McCracken‘s emotional spoken word intro, which transitions into a heartbreaking ode to the frontman’s close friend who past away. The grainy, low-quality sound to the track paired with the subtle guitar and Bert McCracken’s pained, raw vocals leave listeners speechless and at the point of tears.
The Canyon features the same old earth-shattering, eloquent and expressive The Used, but the band is using vulnerability in a different way here. The album highlights a lot of emotional distress—the album as a whole is a way of mourning and coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.
But the album isn’t all slow songs. ‘Broken Windows’ is an upbeat track with catchy riffs and glowing, expressive flourishes. ‘Rise Up Lights’ is a gritty, low-toned banger featuring chaotic instrumental work from guitarist Justin Shekoski and raw, screamed vocals.
The album is disorderedly and disjointed at times, unravelling completely in tracks like ‘Funeral Post’ and ‘Moving Mountains (Odysseus Surrenders)‘. The Canyon almost doesn’t seem like an album, but a piece of art. The Used have created a fluid, emotional and haunting experimental piece for us to experience.
With dramatic rock-opera-type ballads like ‘Moon-Dream’ and experimental indie-rock ‘Cold War Telescreen’, it would be easy to dismiss the album without a second listen, but that would be a mistake. The Used have done something incredibly daring and bold here. And we think it’s something to fully embrace.
The Canyon by The Used is released 27th October via Hopeless Records.