“Happiness Is,” Taking Back Sunday’s latest album, takes fans on a familiar yet new and exciting musical journey. Released on March 18, it is no surprise the album was already No. 3 on the iTunes charts as of Saturday.
Formed a decade and a half ago in Amityville, N.Y., Taking Back Sunday quickly became one of the “emo” rock scene’s classic performers. Over the past 15 years, while the band’s sound has improved, it hasn’t changed all that much. In 2003, lead guitarist and vocalist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper left the band to form indie rock band Straylight Run.
After quite a few lineup changes, in April of 2010 the band announced that Nolan and Cooper would be returning to the band. Since then, the original TBS crew recorded the album previous to “Happiness Is,” which was simply titled “Taking Back Sunday.”
In the band’s newest album, singer Adam Lazzara’s distinctive rough vocals can be recognized at first listen.
“Happiness Is” starts off with something the band has never done before, a preface. The prelude is a mix of melodically haunting strings, with Lazzara softly cooing in the background, which then fades into the first single off the album, “Flicker Fade.”
This dramatic song, almost a power ballad, sets the stage for the rest of the album.
“Stood a Chance,” the next single off of the album, reminds fans of the classic Taking Back Sunday sound they know and love so well. Nolan’s upbeat riffs make it almost impossible to listen without moving some part of your body throughout the entire song.
The album is a perfect blend of fast-paced tracks, as well as softer, more relaxed ballads. The sixth track, “It Takes More,” beautifully illustrates the progression of a romantic relationship over the flux of time.
With lyrics such as, “It used to come so easily…Now it takes more…I knew right then I’d do it all again,” anyone who has ever been in love is sure to make a personal connection to the tune.
The final song on the album, titled “Nothing at All,” brings the album to an alluring close. The semi-acoustic track is different from what would be expected of the group. The harmonies between Lazzara and Nolan, combined with the melancholy lyrics, create a calming wrap up to the band’s sixth studio album.
Die-hard fans, as well as new listeners, are sure to thoroughly enjoy all 40 minutes of this album. Whether you are listening while driving around town, getting ready in the morning or doing math homework, you are surely going to be singing, playing air guitar or dancing along to every word.