Artist – The Used
Album – Imaginary Enemy
Year – 2014
Genre – Post-Hardcore/Hard Rock
Hard Rock and Post-Hardcore are probably the hardest genre’s to truly succeed at. You don’t have the luxury of the niche market of true hardcore and metalcore scenes, and you have to achieve a perfect balance of ferocity and melody to hook both those who are only accustomed to both sides, both harder and lighter. Truth be told, I have rarely seen a post-hardcore record grab me like The Used’s Imaginary Enemy. Every song has something special to bring to the table of straight up hard rock, but Cry is something else.
What it is is a raging storm of a song. From the very cool echoing guitar line that opens and repeats throughout the song (thankfully), I could feel this was going to be a wild ride. I have to say first and foremost that the production on this song is absolutely spectacular! Every instrument is powerful and sounds phenomenal, and that’s a good start when picking apart a song.
Frontman Bert McCracken’s voice is outstanding in this song. It’s sinister and insidiously melodic during the verses, and explosive and crazed during the chorus, all while keeping a melody that’s one of their catchiest in years. By the time the song is coming to a close, he finally lets loose and shows the darker side of the track, by screaming like a madman while the guitar comes crashing in like thunder. It’s this delicate balance between light and dark that makes the song appeal to both ends of the table, as I said before.
The instrumental experimentation in this song make it stand out as well. The band has experimented with electronic manipulation before, but in Cry it takes full effect during the bridge and ending, which is a trait that makes this particular band unique from many of their peers.
Lyric wise, I didn’t expect too much coming in, but the song really surprised me with how well it was written. Aggressive and angry lyrics about heartbreak aside (which are good in their own right; that is the context of the song) the second verse really captured the sense of struggle with finding love for yourself after losing it, and that desperate search to not be alone:
“Now your life is broken, revolves around love.
Not love of yourself but the love you have lost.
We said desperation is lonely despair.
You don’t love yourself, you’ve got no love to share.”
I was just blown away at how honest and true these lyrics resonated with my own past experiences, and I’m sure that it will have the same effect for many other listeners. Ferocity, melody, instrumentation, and resonant words? Now that’s a REAL delicate balance, but it appears to be no problem for a song of this caliber.
Cry is one of those damn near perfect modern rock songs that grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go. As not appealing as that sounds, trust me, it’s a good thing when it comes to music. Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself, and hopefully you can feel the passion from every ounce of this song.
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