Album Review: THE USED - Heartwork

Artist: The Used

Album: Heartwork

Genre: Alternative Rock/Post Rock/Emo

Review by Taylor Lack

After many months of teasing and anticipation, The Used have finally completed their 8th studio album “Heartwork” via Big Noise – set for release on April 24th. The album compiles of sixteen tracks to not only submerge you in the nostalgia of classic emo rock, but to showcase the real hard work the band has truly put in after leaving fans on the edge waiting for more. It goes without saying that after listening to Heartwork, it’s no “The Bird and the Worm” style throwback from The Used, but if anything – a new era. With the early release of “Paradise lost, A Poem by John Milton” the album is already standing on its own two feet, with that being such a ripper of a release – it’s only a fraction of what these notable veterans of the classic scene subculture have to offer.

The album flows beautifully from start to finish, and is crafted immaculately. It’s safe to expect no less from The Used given their promising track record of timeless bangers. The vibe I gathered from listening to the album for the first time is that vocalist Bert McCracken truly took this album as an opportunity to incorporate his personal attributes to music, giving the album a very intimate and personal feel.

What I found refreshing and impressive is how upbeat the album starts off. A great example of this is the first track on the album “Paradise Lost” (which yes, has already been released but is a fantastic way to introduce the proceeding tracks). The song follows a more up-beat tempo, which in my opinion is a refreshing take for the band itself. It's pretty tough and overall super enjoyable to listen to – I really found myself jamming out to this track and this genre really isn’t even my cup of tea, but I still dig it!

Another example of brilliant songwriting is the single “Heartwork.” Listening to this album by myself a few times through, every time this “slam poetry” style interlude repeated itself I was found with goosebumps. If the intention was to portray such emotion to the point where I feel like I’m actually being spoken to, then they hit the nail on the head. With respect to the lyrics, the audio is almost mysterious – it’s beautiful and you just can’t help but become enthralled.

Now there are 16 tracks on this album, all in which are absolutely enjoyable and tick all the boxes for a passionate album. There are a few tracks on the album like “My Cocoon”, “Cathedral Bell”, “Clean Cut Heals” and “Big, Wanna Be”, that particularly standout and are indeed highlights. Every track on this album represents The Used and accurately portrays vulnerability, love, death and imagination. It’s difficult to differentiate each track, as it would be in my recommendations to listen to this album front-to-back for the best experience possible.

The Used just have a distinguished, unique, household sound. It's going to be extremely hard to top this in the future as it truly feels like the band have achieved their best work yet. With almost 20 years in the game under their belts and a clear passion for storytelling and making music, The Used are visibly unbeatable when it comes to the former emo, now hard rock aesthetic. Having the return of John Feldmann for producing this album was definitely what the band needed to get to where they needed to be. Needless to say fans that have been on the edge of their seats with anticipation should not be disappointed with this one. It’s a new evolution for The Used.

Heartwork is available April 24th via Big Noise. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here:

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