ALBUM REVIEW: Taking Back Sunday – Twenty

Release Date: January 11th 2019
Label: Craft Recordings/Concord Music


Two decades since their inception, and with seven albums and counting under their belts, Long Island mainstays and emo heart-throbs Taking Back Sunday have pulled together an aptly titled greatest hits compilation, ‘Twenty’.

Shuffling all of the band’s biggest and most loved hits in one package, whilst also tagging on two brand new cuts, this is a celebration of their work for the past twenty years.

Opening with fringe flicking banger ‘Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)’ and continuing in chronological order, the compilation highlights the band’s progression amidst member changes and the natural sonic experimentation of the various album cycles. Initially, as the track listing moves on through ‘One-Eighty By Summer’ to ‘Liar (It Takes One To Know One)’, it becomes clear that, in terms of mixing and mastering, there are no inconsistencies; a trap that many compilation albums fall into.

This smooth transition throughout makes it much easier and provides more clarity to the various elements introduced into each chapter of the band’s history. By not just selecting the all too easy to pick singles from the bunch and ensuring the inclusion of fan favourites, Taking Back Sunday have gone for something more built to the fans as opposed to jumping on the opportunity for a cash grab.

For the die-hards, brand new tracks ‘All Ready To Go’ and ‘A Song For Dan’ serve not only as some fresh material to be drawn into, but also an indicator as to where the group may be headed for their follow-up to ‘Tidal Wave’, which could only be mere months away.

The former of the two newbies showcases Taking Back Sunday‘s punk energy regularly emitted through their live shows, with fast drum beats and groove orientated riffs before launching into a soaring chorus that has become a staple of the group’s biggest hits. The latter opts for an almost polar opposite approach; a stripped back number that not only highlights John Nolan‘s skill in crafting piano melodies, but also the intricacy of the layered and overlapping vocal melodies the group have become known for.

For casual listeners, ‘Twenty’ serves a jumping point for their more overlooked releases, such as ‘Happiness Is…’ and 2011’s self-titled effort, but for everyone else it’s also a reminder of how varied and expansive Taking Back Sunday‘s output is, and just how influential and important they are.