Happiness Is

Happiness Is

In 2011, Taking Back Sunday released their self-titled fifth album, the first to feature the original lineup of the band since 2002's seminal Tell All Your Friends. Celebrated by fans, Taking Back Sunday proved that the old lineup still packed a punch. What Happiness Is proves is that they're not done maturing artistically. Here, the band dial down the pop-punk snarl and fill the gap with hefty hooks and smart arrangements. The soaring single "Flicker Fade" features a string section; "It Takes More" is a pensive ballad kicked off by distant pianos and concluded by a lonely violin. The band's lyrics have grown up, too: "Better Homes and Gardens" tells the story of a doomed marriage, with Adam Lazzara concluding emphatically, "It was all for nothing/It was all a waste." Most tellingly, the closer, "Nothing At All," sounds more like Coldplay than anything released by TBS' erstwhile Warped Tour colleagues.

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