Track by Track Review: Taking Back Sunday, “Happiness Is”

Some of the New York outfit’s finest work yet


Taking Back Sunday took their first shot at resurrecting their classic lineup of Adam Lazzara on vocals, guitarist and vocalist John Nolan, bassist Sean Cooper, guitarist Eddie Reyes, and drummer Mark O’Connell on their self titled record released in 2011. However, Happiness Is – the band’s first independent label release produced by Mike Sapone, known for his work with Brand New – has Taking Back Sunday fully in swing with their roots and an everlong maturity. Be prepared to fall in love with these New York rockers all over again.

 Preface: Opening the record on a cinematic, orchestral note, this prelude sets an intriguing, dark romantic era image into motion – Propelling Happiness Is into motion.

Flicker, Fade: This signature, prosperous TBS tune of undying honesty and a perfect balance between simplicity and introspective onslaught spotlights a similar, yet refreshing endeavor.

Stood A Chance: By far the catchiest song on Happiness Is, this song’s infectious pop rock hooks and colorful melodies may ensue humming and foot tapping.

All The Way: The intro to this low key rocker ties elements of the preface back into the picture, while the song itself harnesses ambience and moving instrumentals which characterize a throbbingly established chorus and a stopping plead on Lazzara’s lyrical side.

Beat Up Car: “Beat Up Car” is the go to rocker on Happiness Is; a song finding itself in the midst of a Springsteen esque open road montra with a gritty twist. By far a standout addition to the record.

It Takes More: Taking a step into the sentimental, “It Takes More” is nostalgia in it’s raw.

They Don’t Have Any Friends: “I’m not angry/I’m not anything at all,” Lazzara owns up to in scream on this militant, thoroughly gratifying testament to doubt and dissatisfaction.

Better Homes And Gardens: “Better Homes And Gardens” is the tear jerking, “bang the hell out of your shower wall” addition to Happiness Is, illustrating a distraught and sincere Lazzara on the note of matrimony and an honesty so authentic you could pluck the heart strings through your speakers.

Like You Do: Exploring the paces of a past relationship often in the present tense, “Like You Do” settles for the worst with a thrilling, spirited soundtrack to stand by it.

We Were Younger Then: This song narrowly avoids melancholy following it’s mournful intro, but stays confessional. “I remember when comfort was not an option,” coos this time resentful ballad of anti happily ever after proportions.

Nothing At All: The acoustic vein on Happiness Is, “Nothing At All” strikes the heart of desire and the core of feeling “blue,” later to escalate into a growing ambience and undertone from the prelude – Allowing the record to end right where it started.

Happiness Is is some of Taking Back Sunday’s finest work yet – An unfiltered glimpse at what happens when five fantastic musicians are capable of producing with a balance of their signature sound and the sophistication that follows musical evolution.

Score: A

Be sure to listen to: “Better Homes And Gardens” and “Beat Up Car”

You can buy Happiness Is when it releases everywhere on March 18th! Until then, stream the record here.