Back in 2011, the original members of Taking Back Sunday reformed and released their self-titled album ‘Taking Back Sunday,’ which reclaimed the emo scene and also reclaimed their throne as kings. And their new album ‘Happiness Is’ seems to show them grasping their own crown tighter than ever, showing they are still in fact the kings.
The similar themes of love, relationships and friendship within any Taking Back Sunday albums are prominent throughout their sixth studio album but from what is a much more mature viewpoint from Adam Lazzara (Lead vocals). And recording the album in two halves working with two separate producers (Marc Hudson, Mike Sapone) could be a difficult task making sure the album doesn’t sound like two separate group of songs, but the mood throughout the album and that unique Taking Back Sunday sound is cohesive from start to finish.
The album opens with an instrumental “Preface” with soft violin and cello instruments with a delicate vocal performance setting the stage for the spectacle the album could be, before dropping into the album’s second track and first single “Flicker, Fade”, where you’re knocked back with a sudden hit of crashing symbols and fierce guitar strumming leading into the usual verse of an almost disjointed melody before the song erupts into a chorus of massive proportion. The album then goes into a riff that could simply define what happiness really is with its upbeat instrumentation before the simple, happy chorus hook from the album’s second single, “Stood A Chance”.
The album consists of the slower delicate side of Taking Back Sunday’s arsenal (“All The Way, It Takes More”) which sync in well with the faster upbeat tracks (“Beat Up Car, Like You Do”) but it’s the mix of the slow verses and pop hook chorus’ that stand out on the album and the maturity within the album that rounds its off, making each track stand out as its own, and not get lost within other songs.
The fact that Taking Back Sunday are not as young as they used to be is accepted and welcomed with open arms (“We Were Younger Then”) and the closing song (“Nothing At All”) is even more beautiful as the intro of the album, with a stripped back sound of simply an acoustic and beautiful harmonies from Adam and John Nolan (lead guitar/backing vocals). The track then continues to build up with backing vocals, and the violin and cello instrumentation that opened the album along with the soft vocals before stopping suddenly and ending the album spectacularly.
The album ‘Happiness Is’ is all five minds of the original members working together to create their most full overall album to date, certainly showing that Taking Back Sunday are back and can go even further than what their achievements with their self-titled album three years ago.