Taking Back Sunday’s long-awaited sixth studio album Happiness Is was released on March 18th through Hopeless Records. It’s their first record on an independent label in ten years. The second album since the Tell All Your Friends lineup (Adam Lazzara-vocals, John Nolan-lead guitar/backup vocals, Eddie Reyes- rhythm guitar, Shaun Cooper-bass, and Mark O’Connell-drums) reunited, it offers satisfaction to fans who were disappointed with the self-titled album that the band put out in 2011 when they reformed.
With Happiness Is, Taking Back Sunday shows off refined skills and carefully crafted lyrics. It opens with hit single ‘Flicker Fade,’ which the band played often live at shows in 2013. It’s a powerful anthem unlike anything the band is known for; Adam’s smooth yet husky yells are backed by heavy guitar.
In the standout track ‘Better Homes and Gardens,’ frontman Lazarra sings deeper than possibly ever, telling a heart wrenching story (So just go on, that house that you hate, that house that we bought, and failed to make, it was all for nothing, it was a waste, and now you’ll never be happy)
Still, while the album proves maturity it also might give you déjà vu to circa 2004 when Where You Want to Be was released. Tracks like ‘Beat Up Car’ are less heavy and more energetic, with upbeat choruses. Also, vocal tradeoffs between Lazarra and Nolan shows that the band is still nostalgic about 2002’s beloved Tell All Your Friends.
The album gives off more of a straight ‘rock’ vibe than a ‘pop/punk’ one. While some fans were disconcerted with this, Taking Back Sunday states often in interviews that they don’t like to be categorized under sub-genres like ‘pop/punk’ or ‘emo,’ but rather be free to roam under the wide range of ‘rock.’
Though Happiness Is didn’t disappoint, it probably won’t be a go-to record for fans (who have such high expectations of the band). Still, supporters should really be happy that Taking Back Sunday is still releasing good, solid records after fifteen years of selling millions of albums and touring the world.


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