Like the sound of a drumroll over the blare of horns, The Used’s new album, Imaginary Enemy, calls for action, a revolution of the unrepresented. The band’s sixth studio album is fantastic addition to their already well-received discography. More refined and developed than anything before it, The Used have created a meaningful album with a social or political message in every song. Their guitars still crunch, and the drums are still heavy, but The Used have certainly proven their maturity on this album.
Naturally, an album like this opens with the song, “Revolution,” a gritty call to arms that sets the pace for the rest of the album. “Cry” is the first single off of the album. Utilizing electronics, mainly in its bridge, there is a sudden switch into raw anger as Bert screams over heavily distorted guitars. The tempo slows a bit with “El-Oh-Vee-Ee,” which is the first song (of many) to really bring in the vocals of a crowd singing behind the lead, something that reemphasizes the idea of revolution of an ignored majority. The chorus is catchy, and the song is one I could imagine as a single sometime down the line.
From a song of love, the album pulls a 180 into the darkest and angriest of songs on the album. There is nothing but raw emotion in “A Song to Stifle Imperial Progression.” The screaming throughout the verses is contrasted in the chorus, a chant-worthy protest “No way, no way USA.”
Another change in pace as the album reaches the halfway point with “Generation Throwaway.” Much like “El-Oh-Vee-Ee,” it’s the perfect anthem song, utilizing the crowd once again to declare in proper fist bumping fashion that “We’re not generation throwaway,” an allusion to the overlooked potential of an entire generation. “Make Believe” is more uplifting, but still ties well into the grand scope of the album.
Another radio friendly possibility of a single comes from “Evolution.” This song is probably the most melodic of the album, whose use of a xylophone creates an almost dreamlike state. The album title track “Imaginary Enemy” switches back to The Used’s more recognizable aggressive musicality and hooking chorus. “Kenna Song” is almost like a ballad, with emotionally charged lyrics backed by light guitar picking and the crowd’s “Oh oh oh.” Closing with “Force Without Violence” and “Overdose” is another contrast, from a heavy drum beat that cold get anyone pumped to a more peaceful declaration of love whose sentiment wraps up the entire album with “And in the end I found peace.”
This album is an incredible piece of work. The pacing builds to a sound of aggression and revolution with slower songs in between to allow time to breathe before heading back in for another round. Catch the new album when it drops on April 1st.