Album Review: The Used Live and Acoustic at the Palace

The Used has been around the music scene since January 2001 and has built up a very strong and loyal fan base.  The band is Bert McCracken (vocals), Jeph Howard (bass), Dan Whitesides (drums) and Justin Shekoski (guitar).  This album represents a huge departure from their usual style which has been described as post-hardcore, screamo, and heavy metal.  Mixed with strings and some additional backing vocals The Used handles the acoustic set with expertise.

The album contains a good mix of their most well-known songs and McCracken’s intros are personal and heartfelt.  The glimpse of his personal life that he offers is very personal, he is very open.  Unfortunately, his vocals don’t hold up in the acoustic set quite as well as the instrumentals do.  His voice is normally quite strong, but I think he needs more volume to help him stay on track in the songs.  He searched for his key on a couple of the songs and was able to shine on others.  The best song on the record is a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”.  This is a song that I find kind of overdone, but McCracken’s voice soars here and the blend of the strings, guitars and rhythm sections is perfect.  While the arrangement isn’t much different from anyone else’s, the song just pops.

If you are a hardcore fan of The Used, you will like this album and will want at least some of the cuts for your playlists.  Casual fans may want to download “Imagine” and skip the rest, but do give the songs a try.  The album drops today and is available for download on iTunes.

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