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Review: Taking Back Sunday “Tell All Your Friends”

Each week, The Hard Times travels back and revisits a notable album from the past. This week we’re doing a deep dive on Taking Back Sunday’s emo masterpiece “Tell All Your Friends.”

It’s been 20 years since everyone’s favorite ex-boyfriends Taking Back Sunday released this iconic emo album filled with sing-along hits. The record was officially released in March 2002, which just so happened to be six months after 9/11. That definitely cannot be a coincidence.

Now, I’m not some conspiracy theorist who believes the Earth is flat or Democrats eat baby formula or 5G gives you wings, but I’m almost positive this record is a concept album about the tragic events of September 11, 2001. I love when bands hide an album’s concept or make no mention of it in any interview whatsoever. Don’t let that fool you though. This album has 9/11 written all over it.

Like in the song “Great Romances of the 20th Century,” the very first lyric is, “September never stays this cold.” I don’t know what that translates to in emo terms, but I do know that 9/11 happened in September. Not everyone knows this but the “9” in 9/11 actually stands for September. Boom. There’s your first clue.

Then in the song “You’re So Last Summer,” the chorus goes like, “and all I need to know is that I’m something you’ll be missing.” At first glance, you might think it’s just how some emo dudes’ ego at work. But on second glance, Adam Lazzara is clearly anthropomorphizing the Twin Towers and speaking as them in the first person. He’s right. I do miss those buildings, they were a defining piece of the New York skyline. Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

And there’s just something about this album that screams “never forget” which we all know is the official catchphrase of 9/11. I think they say that phrase a lot in “Cute Without the E.” I don’t know for sure though. It’s kind of hard to make out all the words when two people are singing different things at the same time. Classic TB Sunday.

To sum up, other than beating 9/11 over your head throughout the album, this record is top-notch.

SCORE: 2 out of 2 Twin Towers