Album Review: Taking Back Sunday’s “Happiness Is…”


Taking Back Sunday provided much of the soundtrack to my 20’s, and it has been fascinating to see how they’ve evolved since I first got my hands on their 2002 debut, “Tell All Your Friends” right at the end of my freshman year of college. Each new album has been a total delight, and I actually have a chard time choosing my favorite one.

“Happiness Is” finds the band in a strong, confident, and nicely varied place with their sound, melding their signature soaring melodies and explosive choruses with beautiful harmonies, bouncy rockers (“Stood A Chance”), poignant minor key songs (“Beat Up Car,” “It Takes More”), and an acoustic ballad (“Nothing At All”) that works so well as the finale to a very thoughtfully put together album.

It’s impressive how they’ve maintained the youthful sound of the summer anthems that have made them such an iconic band, while adding in the more mature, reflective and refined edge that comes with being guys in their early 30’s. This lyrical maturity is especially apparent in the album’s masterpiece “Better Homes And Gardens,” when Adam Lazzara sings, “When you took that ring off/I sat there stunned/Parked out in my car/Surprised by what you’ve done/The courage that must’ve took left me utterly speechless/And though it came as no surprise, I still couldn’t believe it.”

“Happiness Is” will take its place right up there with TBS’ other albums and with the best releases of 2014. It’s thoughtful and nuanced, it packs the punch they’ve always been known for with a little extra wit and wisdom, and it’s just plain fun to listen to.

The album is streaming here and will be released on March 18. Go support them by buying their album and seeing them live. They’re on tour, and many of their shows are already sold out.

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