Artwork (album)

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Artwork
Studio album by The Used
Released August 31, 2009 (2009-08-31)
(see release history)
Recorded 2008–2009
Genre Post-hardcore, emo, alternative metal, alternative rock, post-grunge
Length 43:47
Label Reprise
Producer Matt Squire
The Used chronology
Shallow Believer
(2008)
Artwork
(2009)
Vulnerable
(2012)
Singles from Artwork
  1. "Blood on My Hands"
    Released: June 30, 2009
  2. "Empty with You"
    Released: December 9, 2009
  3. "Born to Quit"
    Released: December 15, 2009[1]
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (56/100)[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[3]
Alternative Press 4.5/5 stars[4]
The A.V. Club C[5]
Billboard (68/100)[6]
The Metal Forge 7.5/10 stars[7]
PopMatters 3/10 stars[8]
Rock Sound (9/10)[9]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[10]
Spin (3/10)[11]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[12]

Artwork is the fourth studio album by American alternative rock band The Used, released through Reprise in the United States and the UK on August 31, 2009.[13]

Writing and recording[edit]

The Used began writing for Artwork in early 2008, and originally hoped to enter the studio shortly after Kevin Lyman's 2008 "Get a Life Tour" with Weezer front-man Rivers Cuomo as producer of the album.[14] The Used expressed their interest in the raw sound found on Weezer's 1996 album Pinkerton, and hoped to create a similar sound by working with Cuomo.[14] The band ended up working with producer Matt Squire (Panic! at the Disco, Boys Like Girls, The Receiving End of Sirens) and did not enter the studio until the end of 2008.[15]

The Used experienced several changes upon making Artwork. The band changed management within their label Reprise Records. This was the first album with new drummer Dan Whitesides; also the first studio album that was not produced by Goldfinger's frontman John Feldmann. Feldmann had been working with The Used since lead singer Bert McCracken threw a demo on stage during a Goldfinger concert in 2001.[16] Commenting on the band's state prior to these changes, guitarist Quinn Allman felt that, "we were kept in a space with our resources that was creating an essence for our band that wasn't who we truly were."[16] These changes allowed The Used to take their music in a new direction with Artwork.

The song 'Kissing You Goodbye', was noted to be a song written about lost love and hope. A collaboration between Bert McCracken and Max Kennedy (writer), the song speaks volumes about personal emotions and not letting go of the hope of real love. Kennedy (pen name) attributed the lyrics to a personal experience he had with the suicide of his friend in 2006 in Los Angeles. Kennedy and McCracken met coincidentally at a Used show in Orange County where they collaborated on the writing and creation of 'Kissing You Goodbye'.

Feeling that the band's previous albums had a similar sound, The Used hoped to make a brand new genre they refer to as "gross pop" with Artwork.[14][16] In Alternative Press magazine, McCracken described the new genre, "In the past, we've always kind of brought pop sensibility into heavy rock, but this is going to be all that much more tantalizing and brutal. Our songs are 10 times messier and noisier than they've ever been."[17] The themes of the record include "coming to grips with how much you really hate yourself"[17] and the concept of mortality. McCracken, who had previously lived a "reckless life," recently came to terms with how easy it is to accidentally die after the tragic death of actor Heath Ledger.[16] The song "Meant to Die" is loosely based on the death of Ledger and not being able to say "sorry," or "I never meant to die" after an accidental death.[16]

This album features Bert McCracken's brother Joseph McCracken singing at two songs.

Release[edit]

At shows prior to the release of Artwork, The Used performed the new track "Blood on My Hands". This song was the first single from the album, and was released on June 30, 2009 as a vinyl picture disc[18] and digital download. The song began airing on radio stations starting July 14, 2009.[19]

Artwork was released in a special CD/DVD version. This version contained an expanded 20-page liner note booklet and a DVD with "behind the scenes footage" of The Used.

The album leaked 2 months before its release.

Leading up to the album's release, The Used released guitar tabs for one song from Artwork each week on their official website. Fans were encouraged to record themselves playing each song and post it online.[20][21]

The album opened at #10 on the Billboard 200 with 35,000 copies sold. The song "Something Safe" was made available on iTunes for download on November 23, 2009.

The Used released a music video for the song, "Empty with You", on December 9th.

Reception[edit]

Artwork received mostly mixed reviews from music critics. Metacritic has given the album a score of 56 out of 100 based on 8 reviews.

Alternative Press praised the album highly, saying "On their fourth full-length, the Used have delivered not only the definitive album of their career, but arguably one of the best records you'll hear in 2009." On the other hand, PopMatters was very negative of the album, saying, "After sampling the tasteless, bland delights of Artwork though, I can't imagine many will."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by The Used

No. Title Length
1. "Blood on My Hands"   3:18
2. "Empty with You"   3:24
3. "Born to Quit"   3:34
4. "Kissing You Goodbye"   4:09
5. "Sold My Soul"   4:12
6. "Watered Down"   3:58
7. "On the Cross"   3:07
8. "Come Undone"   3:24
9. "Meant to Die"   3:46
10. "The Best of Me"   4:29
11. "Men Are All the Same"   5:54
iTunes deluxe edition[22]
No. Title Length
12. "On My Own" (acoustic from PureVolume Sessions) 3:13
13. "Lunacy Fringe" (acoustic from PureVolume Sessions) 4:18
14. "Empty with You" (acoustic from PureVolume Sessions) 4:01
15. "Mosh n' Church" (demo) 3:21
Limited edition[22]
No. Title Length
12. "In a Needle"   3:56
13. "On the Cross" (Save Yourself Mix) 3:04
Ticket pre-sale'[22]
No. Title Length
12. "Something Safe" (demo) 3:14
13. "Blood on My Hands" (uncensored music video)  
Limited Edition Bonus DVD
No. Title Length
1. "Behind the Scenes"    
2. "Making of the Album"    
3. "Exclusive Interviews"    

Personnel[edit]

The Used
Additional personnel
  • Joseph McCracken – vocals on "Blood on My Hands" and screaming vocals on "Meant to Die"
  • Jed Bleecker and "Killer" Dayton Killian – vocals on "Blood on My Hands"
Production[23]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 17[24]
Canadian Albums Chart 10[25]
UK Albums Chart 63[26]
US Billboard 200 10[25]
US Billboard Alternative Albums 8[25]
US Billboard Hard Rock Albums 2[25]
US Billboard Rock Albums 5[25]

Release history[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!". FMQB. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  2. ^ "Critic Reviews for Artwork". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  3. ^ AllMusic review
  4. ^ Slessor, Dan (September 2009). "The Used - Artwork". Alternative Press (254): 109. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  5. ^ Heller, Jason (2009-09-01). "The Used: Artwork". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  6. ^ "The Used, 'Artwork'". Billboard. August 25, 2009. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  7. ^ Milburn, Simon (2009-12-17). "Review - The Used - Artwork". The Metal Forge. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  8. ^ Commins, Shane (2009-09-17). "The Used: Artwork". PopMatters. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  9. ^ Tim Newbound (2009-09-01). "The Used - ‘Artwork’ | Reviews | Rock Sound". Rock Sound. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  10. ^ Christian Hoard (2009-08-31). "Artwork : The Used : Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  11. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (2009-08-25). "The Used, 'Artwork' (Reprise)". Spin. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  12. ^ Spencer, Trey (2009-08-25). "Review: The Used - Artwork". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  13. ^ "ARTWORK RELEASE DATE 8/31". The Used. 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  14. ^ a b c New directions for The Used[dead link]
  15. ^ "The Used estimate a Spring 2009 release for new album". Altpress.com. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Downey, Ryan (September 2009). "Flipping the Script". Alternative Press (254): 84–88. 
  17. ^ a b "In the Studio". Alternative Press. (October 2008) issue 243, p. 38.
  18. ^ "The Used to Release New Single". May 30, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Modern Rock Available For Airplay". Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  20. ^ "The Used Give Away "Blood on My Hands" Guitar Tab". Hangout.altsounds.com. 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  21. ^ Cannon, Jesse (2009-07-10). "The Used Offer Weekly Guitar Tabs To Build Momentum For New Record". Musformation.com. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  22. ^ a b c "The Different Configurations of Artwork". Theused.net. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  23. ^ "Artwork - The Used". AllMusic. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  24. ^ "Australian Albums Chart". australian-charts.com. Retrieved on September 14, 2009.
  25. ^ a b c d e "Artwork - The Used". Billboard. Retrieved on September 14, 2009.
  26. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update 12.09.2009 (wk36)". Zobbel. Retrieved on September 14, 2009.

External links[edit]