Taking Back Sunday – Twenty (Album Review)

Taking Back Sunday – Twenty
Released: 11th January 2019


Adam Lazzara – Vocals
John Nolan – Lead Guitar/Vocals
Mark O’Connell – Drums
Shaun Cooper – Bass



My memories of Taking Back Sunday are made up of dancing in sweaty emo clubs to ‘Cute Without the E’ and when I ran my eyes over the track listing for this career retrospective album, I will admit I knew only five songs. Although I was late to the TBS party, I can still appreciate what they have brought to the alternative/emo/punk genre over the years. After giving this album a few spins, I ended up enjoying the post-Louder Now era way more than I anticipated.


Twenty” years of Taking Back Sunday begins with their biggest song by far, ‘Cute Without the E‘, followed by two more from their debut 2002 record Tell All Your Friends (‘You’re So Last Summer’ and ‘Timberwolves at New Jersey’). I don’t believe these guys need any elaboration as they’re practically staples in the scene. Tracks four to six takes us back to Where You Want To Be (released in 2004). I seemed to have missed this when I was growing up, but the pop/punk kid in me wished I had ‘Set Phasers To Stun’ to distract me in high school.

The next four tracks (‘Liar’, ‘MakeDamnSure’, ‘What’s It Feel Like to be A Ghost?’, ‘My Blue Heaven’) are from Louder Now, released in 2006, and was the first full-length Taking Back Sunday album I paid attention to back in the day. This was the album where the band began to experiment with their music, as you can hear the difference from their previous work. Stoked that four tracks from album #3 made the cut here, but I’m a little sad that ‘Twenty Twenty Surgery’ wasn’t one of them. 

Tracks eleven to nineteen may seem all new to many fans and might blend into each other, but if you managed to pay attention in each song then good on ya. ‘Sink Into Me‘ from 2009’s New Again is a particular favourite of mine, mainly because of the “Hey! Hey! Hey!” chants throughout the song. We might also add here that throughout these songs, you can definitely tell how much the band has grown musically over the years. Tracks thirteen and fourteen (‘Faith’, ‘Call Me in the Morning’) re-introduces us to the 2011 self-titled record, because every band has to have one of those self-titled eras, am I right? ‘Call Me in the Morning’ is a sweet acoustic track that could become a new addition in your Sunday playlist.

Flicker Fade‘, taken from 2014’s Happiness Is, is a new favourite of mine. Next track ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ is just as good. By this point of the 21-track listing, you might have either forgotten which song you’re up to, and tempted to press rewind, but…we aren’t finished yet! Tracks seventeen to nineteen throws it back to the most recent album released in 2016, Tidal Wave. Title track ‘Tidal Wave’ reminds me of a feel good country classic rock song. It’s different but I really enjoyed it.

Tracks twenty and twenty-one are the only new songs on this album. You may have heard or seen the latest single ‘All Ready to Go‘ online somewhere. This one’s more on the alternative, rock side, while final track ‘A Song for Dan‘ is a slow one to finish the retrospective. Both songs hint at the future direction the band are taking and, while ‘A Song for Dan’ is vaguely reminiscent of the final Yellowcard album, ‘All Ready to Go’ is an upbeat rock song that sums up their past, present and future.

While they could have taken the more common path of re-releasing one entire album (ie. Tell All Your Friends) to support their 20th Anniversary world tour, the decision to make a compilation of select tracks from every album released by Taking Back Sunday can be applauded as it makes them stand out from everyone else celebrating band/album anniversaries. Even though songs like ‘Cute Without the E’, ‘MakeDamnSure’ and ‘Liar (It Takes One to Know One)’ will always be more memorable than anything else in their entire discography, this anniversary record is a decent collection and sample of their work over the past Twenty Years. See you at UNIFY.


Taking Back SundayTwenty tracklisting:

  1. Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)
  2. You’re So Last Summer
  3. Timberwolves At New Jersey
  4. A Decade Under The Influence
  5. Set Phasers To Stun
  6. One-Eighty By Summer
  7. Liar (It Takes One To Know One)
  8. MakeDamnSure
  9. What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?
  10. My Blue Heaven
  11. Sink Into Me
  12. Everything Must Go
  13. Faith (When I Let You Down)
  14. Call Me In The Morning
  15. Flicker, Fade
  16. Better Homes And Gardens
  17. Tidal Wave
  18. You Can’t Look Back
  19. Call Come Running
  20. All Ready To Go
  21. A Song For Dan

Rating: 7/10
Twenty is out on January 11th 2019. Pre-Order here
Review by Tamara May (@citylightsTAM)

Catch Taking Back Sunday Live on tour next week!

taking back sunday 2019 tour

Taking Back Sunday – 20th Anniversary Australian Tour

January 9: HQ, Adelaide
January 11:  170 Russell, Melbourne
January 14: Metro Theatre, Sydney
January 15: Metro Theatre, Sydney
January 16: The Triffid, Brisbane
January 17: The Triffid, Brisbane

Tickets Here

UNIFY Gathering 2019
January 13th @ Tarwin Meadows, VIC
Performing: Tell All Your Friends

Tickets Here

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About Tamara May (1080 Articles)
Wall of Sound's Head of Album Reviews. Weekend Content. Pop Punk Enthusiast.