To say that Taking Back Sunday is a polarizing band is an understatement. For nearly 15 years now the Long Island-based band have gone through it all – inter-band drama, outer-band drama, more member changes than they’d like to admit, and the transition from emo darlings to bonafide rock stars. And while not every fan has always enjoyed every change the band has gone through musically and professionally, Taking Back Sunday has always stuck to their vision. And the same can be said about the band’s latest song, “Tidal Wave,” the first single from the band’s upcoming seventh LP of the same name.
The band has been playing “Tidal Wave” every night during their run as co-headliners on this summer’s Taste of Chaos tour and the reaction to the upbeat jam has overall been well-received. Thankfully, the recorded version manages to keep the same frantic energy the live version contains. Guitarists John Nolan and Eddie Reyes kick their riffs into a crunchy overdrive while bassist Shaun Cooper and drummer Mark O’Connell buoy the song’s pace. And then you have Adam Lazzara’s unmistakable vocals, which are a little more ragged than usual but work seamlessly with the more punk-laden attitude of the track.
And “Tidal Wave” is just the first taste of the band’s latest direction on the upcoming September release. Stopping short of calling the album the band’s most grown-up yet, Lazzara told Entertainment Weekly that the band was “writing from the perspective of 17, 18-year-old kids and now it’s like as you grow older the blinders get pulled back and you have a different way of looking at the world around you.”
He also mentions the album’s more Americana feel and “Tidal Wave” is soaked with it. From the 59 Sound-inspired verses to the immediacy of its bombastic chorus, “Tidal Wave” musically draws its influence from peers like Gaslight Anthem and Against Me! while still undeniably being a Taking Back Sunday. Lazzara’s lyrics also follow through on LP7’s current worldview with lyrics like, “Will you embrace chaos or take control?” and “Will you call for peace or will you join the war?”
Nolan recently spoke with New York Newsday that he thinks Tidal Wave “is he strongest record we’ve done since getting back together. We’ve freed ourselves up to go in new directions.” It’s the typical sentiment you hear before any band releases a new album but it may ring true here, as the band has shown glimpses of achieving something great throughout the last two releases (2011’s Taking Back Sunday and 2014’s Happiness Is) and will probably end up being the band’s more coherent release since reuniting the original gang six years ago. “Tidal Wave” is the polarizing release we expected - with some saying it’s best and worst release of the band’s nearly two decade existence. It’s neither these things but it’s definitely an exciting new take on the Taking Back Sunday sound.
Singles Club is a semi-weekly feature in which I focus on the best, most interesting, or most talked about single of the week.