Known for being one of two major alternative rock bands to come out of Long Island, Taking Back Sunday has been putting out music for over a decade now and doesn’t show any indication of stopping.
Taking Back Sunday began with punk alternative ideas and added new sounds that punk never heard before. Their songs were crafted carefully and weren’t preformed with multiple guitar riffs and unidentified words, characteristics well-known to the punk community.
Starting their career by singing in run down Long Island bars and experiencing their fair share of line-up changes, their fans remained dedicated to them throughout the years. Reyes is responsible for founding the band, but it definitely had its rocky stages.
From 1999 to 2001, the band line-up went through some fine-tuning. Jesse Lacey, current singer of Brand New, was recruited and brought John Nolan along with him. Antonio Longo was on vocals and after the process of recording their first 6-track EP, Lacey left the band to start Brand New.
Nolan, half jokingly, called friend Adam Lazzara to come from North Carolina to Long Island and jump head first into the band. Lazzara was all for the idea—he moved, joined the band, and worked in Reyes’ father’s deli for some quick cash. He signed on to play guitar but after more discrepancies, Antonio Longo left and Lazzara jumped to vocals.
Singer Adam Lazzara, Guitarist and back up vocals, John Nolan, Guitarist Eddie Reyes, Bassist Shaun Cooper and Drummer Mark O’Connell came together for good in 2001.
After putting together an EP, they put out Tell All Your Friends, with Victory Records in 2002 and immediately saw success. Flavor Flav even made a strange yet entertaining appearance in the music video for “You’re So Last Summer.”
The band made their music by nailing the guitar riffs, and adding lyrics and other musical elements to it. Nolan and Lazzara would spend nights ripping pages out of their notebooks and pulling lines from their writing to strategically place into new songs.
It’s no secret that Taking Back Sunday and Brand New were at odds for a while. Nolan and Lacey fought over girl issues, which became very personal. Their lyrics take jabs at one another and there’s even Brand New apparel that says “mics are for singing, not for swinging,” which makes fun of Lazarra’s and his token mic swinging moves. Fans even felt the need to choose “sides” and support only one band.
Throughout their album successes, constant line up changes, famous concert gigs and guest appearances on television, the original line-up found their way back to one another. The band lost Nolan and Cooper, gained Matt Rubano and Matt Fazzi just to lose them a few short years later.
The Tell All Your Friends 10 year anniversary sparked a tour for the band where they played the entire album front to back—a once in a lifetime experience. The band is currently working on another studio album called “Happiness is..” which will be available on March 18.
Some fans think the band’s time has run out and to leave a good thing alone while others are eternally grateful that their favorite band of over a decade, still manages to put out music for themselves and their fans alike. Either way, their music has paved the way for rock bands to follow in their footsteps.
Let’s countdown the top 10 best and most influential Taking Back Sunday songs.
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10. “One-Eighty by Summer”
Fast paced and emotional, “One-eighty by Summer” demonstrates amazing guitar skill and screaming at all the right times. This song can be analyzed as a love song or telling a story about a friendship gone wrong. Listen to the lyrics and decide for yourself!
This is all now and New again get honorable mentions for being great songs. It seemed unfair to not include songs from the latest two albums, but there is no competition with the following top 10.
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9. “New American Classic”
This song in unmistakably about a couple who had to deal with the struggle of being separated. Track number six on Tell All Your Friends is one of Taking Back Sunday’s slowest songs, along with Divine Intervention.
8. “This Photograph is Proof”
Featured in Spider-man 2, this song is the second single off of Where You Want to Be. It’s rumored that this song is about cheating but was never confirmed. After analyzing the lyrics, it definitely makes sense.
7. < i> “Liar (It takes one to know one)”
This song is the second single from Louder Now. It was made available for download on the musical Rock Band series. The song makes references to the novel Lord of Flies written by William Golding. The line “we’re all choir boys at best, intrusive and arrogant,” alludes to Jack and the choirboys who cause chaos on the island.
6. “Great Romances of the 20th Century”
Great Romances is known for being the first song written by Taking Back Sunday’s original line up. Its your average song about heartbreak and relationships but holds a special place in fans hearts, especially after the original line up reunited and played this song for the first time.
5. “A Decade Under the Influence”
This was the first single released from Where You Want to Be. It’s said that Lazzara wrote this song during one of the most awkward moments of his life, when he and a former girlfriends just recently broke up, yet were on the way to a Coldplay concert together. Listen to the lyrics and it will all make sense.
If you never heard Taking Back Sunday prior, this song solidified your knowledge. Makedamnsure was their first single from their third album, Louder Now. It ranked 52 Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Best Songs of 2006’ and surpassed the success of their other hit singles. The video that came along with it was also a huge hit. The ending scene with Lazarra’s face turning into a young boy blowing out a dandelion will be a memorable one.
3. “You’re So Last Summer’”
The lyrics, “The truth is you could slit my throat and with my one last gasping breath I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt,” from this song can seem a bit dark and even “emo”, but without a doubt, they found their way onto every young girls away message in 2001. Flava Flav even made a guest appearance in the music video wearing a Viking helmet. Why? I don’t know. It was great, though.
2. “Cute Without the E”
This song acted as every teenager’s anthem at the time. Its relatable, catchy and you find yourself wanting to shout out every word at the top of your lungs. Acting as one of the bands most well-known songs, Cute Without the E captures the essence of Taking Back Sunday. Everyone’s experienced a relationship that makes you think you’ll never find another again—this song makes you feel a little more human and helps get those overwhelming feelings out of your system. Specifically, “why can’t I feel anything from anyone other than you,” one of the most famous lines from a Taking Back Sunday song.
1. “There’s No I In Team”
Without a doubt, this song had to rank in at number one. Tell All Your Friends is arguably Taking Back Sunday’s greatest album. This song illustrates the bands early struggles with love, fame and life in general while responding to a Brand New song. Famous lyrics such as “Is this what you call tact? I swear you’re as subtle as a brick in the small of my back. So let’s end this call and end this conversation,” appear in this song as well as Brand New’s “Seventy Times Seven.” Those few lines were spoken over the phone while Nolan and Lacey were at odds. If you’ve never listened to Taking Back Sunday, this song is the epitome of everything they are.