Imaginary Enemy is a bold turn for The Used with both political and personal evolution apparent, along with a musical diversity that keeps it interesting. They’ve definitely discovered their poppy side in this album. However, in classic The Used style, they’ve managed to take you away from the moment and become completely engrossed in each song on this album.
Starting off with a strong political statement, “Revolution”, it sets the slight political tone for the album that is placed in quite a few other tracks. It is calling for change right away. This connects directly with the third song on the album “El-Oh-Vee-Ee”, a song about only needing love to survive during the times we are currently living in. The guitar breakdowns are intense and harmonious with Bert McCracken’s dramatic vocalizations that we all know and love.
These dramatic political opinions continue in “A Song to Stifle Imperial Progression (A work in progress)”, with it’s repeated “we’re saying ‘no way no way USA’, and in “Generation Throwaway”, with its inspirational call to change and taking back the power to change. The title track of the album “Imaginary Enemy” is a strong statement about the enemies you have but don’t truly know, and calls you to still fight against them. Slowing down the political tempo with “Kenna Song”, The Used creates a positive message to call for change with the constant repeating of ‘Hear us now’ throughout the song. Closing the political statement on the album, “Force Without Violence” calls us to act peacefully and to trust in the idea that we are exactly where we need to be.
There is a whole other personal dynamic to this album that is kicked off in the second track, and single “Cry.” With bold guitars, and a strong message about vengeance on a lover, we are introduced to an alternate tone on the album. The more personal songs on the album include tracks like “Make Believe”, a song about not believing in people who have previously hurt you, and being able to move on. This song is by far my personal favorite on the album. It has a wonderfully catchy chorus and a strong guitar that keeps you on the edge in the best way.
Another personal song, “Evolution”, is a slower rock ballad about changing with the world around you. The final song on the album, “Overdose”, brings the personal journey of the album to an end. It leaves you with a sense of positivity and opportunity, with McCracken singing reassurances in the song such as “I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”
All in all, The Used definitely didn’t let their fans down with Imaginary Enemy. It works well on two different dimensions of messages, and keeps their classic style, while still venturing into new horizons.
By Shelby Chargin