The Used Drop Eclectic New Album 'Toxic Positivity'

20 May 2023 | 9:45 am | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

“This record is quite tough for me to listen to because it’s a reflection of times in my life that have been some of lowest ever.”

Photo of The Used

Photo of The Used (Credit: Anthony Tran)

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US rock chameleons The Used have dropped their highly anticipated tenth album, Toxic Positivity, which was preceded by the singles Numb and Giving Up, as well as non-album singles Fuck You and People Are Vomit.

Last week, the band unveiled the album closer, Giving Up, an emotionally charged, pop-laden new track ahead of their new album’s release.

Bert McCracken’s vocals are primed for pop and rock listeners, despite the song’s brutal opening lines: “Yesterday I woke up wanting to die / Haven’t seen the sunlight in some time”.

Giving Up is a song of defiance – The Used refuse to give up on life. If Giving Up shows a side of The Used you’re not too fond of, Toxic Positivity is packed with diversity and contains some heavy moments you know and love.

On Pinky Swear (Save Me), in particular, The Used are in-your-face and everything fans have come to know and love about the band over their storied 20+ year career.

The Used have made a name for themselves through high-energy live shows, gut-wrenchingly relatable lyrics, and melodies that blend pop sensibility and hard rock.

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When their third record, Lies For The Liars, delivered their second consecutive Billboard Top 10 spot, peaking at #5, the band's fame had reached the point where they were chosen to soundtrack the Michael Bay Transformers movie and their status as one of the most essential bands in the great emo explosion of the ‘00s was cemented.

On Toxic Positivity, The Used are straightforward, in-your-face, destructive, and vulnerable all at once. Described as a “day-in-the-life journey of a depressed, anxiety-ridden person”, the tell-all album tracks the highs and lows of McCracken's depression and addiction through a cohesive body of work, reflecting the ever-changing headspace that he was experiencing at the time of writing.

“This record is quite tough for me to listen to,” he said in a statement, “because it’s a reflection of times in my life that have been some of lowest ever.”

Toxic Positivity finds The Used embracing all elements of their sound, including the buzzsaw riffs on Pinky Swear, pop sensibilities on I Hate Everybody, and chant-along chorus on Headspace.

“I think we have no choice but to write and write and write,” McCracken added. “It has always just been in us, and we’ve had to get it out. I read a quote once that said you either work your entire lifetime on four great pieces, or you write thousands of pieces and become great that way. Everything that we feel, I think always makes for a good song.”

Check out Toxic Positivity below and order your physical copy here.