2003 was one hell of a year, wasn’t it? A lot of us were too young to really appreciate it at the time, but all these tenth anniversaries this year speak volumes of what we missed out on (‘Deja Entendu’, ‘Ocean Avenue’, ‘Casually Dressed…’, etc. to name just a few). In keeping with the celebrations are Taking Back Sunday, who’ve released an acoustic re-imagining of their seminal debut ‘Tell All Your Friends’ for its tenth birthday.
Back with the original line-up that played on this album the first time around, there’s quite a weight of expectation on the band to recreate the magic that they produced the first time around. Sadly, though, most of the tracks just feel near-lifeless in their re-imagined forms. In fairness, it’s hard to reproduce the same energy in an unplugged setting, but it’s not just the instrumental sections that leave much to be desired, with lacklustre vocal efforts (you’ll get it when you hear this version of ‘Ghost Man On Third’) from both Adam Lazarra and John Nolan doing very little to bring the performance to life.
Luckily, though, the quality songs themselves still hold true (even with the occasional ad-lib-ing of lyrics that can be a bit off putting) and die-hards will still find themselves singing along, especially to ‘Timberwolves At New Jersey’, which is far and away the best performance on the album. Just don’t expect many to listen to this over the original.
All in all, this was a great idea with the album being so important to so many, but it’s just a damn shame how it turned out. If you’re going to check this out take the time to appreciate the instrumental sections which are genuinely great at times, just try not to let the vocals upset you too much.
Written by Ryan De Freitas