Tell All Your Friends
|Tell All Your Friends|
|Studio album by Taking Back Sunday|
|Released||March 25, 2002|
|Studio||Big Blue Meenie, New Jersey|
|Taking Back Sunday chronology|
|Singles from Tell All Your Friends|
Tell All Your Friends is the debut studio album by American rock band Taking Back Sunday. Since their inception, the group had several line-up changes before settling on the line-up of: vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist and vocalist John Nolan, guitarist Eddie Reyes, bassist Shaun Cooper, and drummer Mark O'Connell. The band released a five-song demo in early 2001, before touring for most of the year. The group rented a room in Lindenhurst, New York where they would write songs and demo frequently. In December, the band had signed to Victory Records. In the same month, they began recording their debut album, Tell All Your Friends. The album was produced by Sal Villanueva and recorded at Big Blue Meenie in New Jersey.
In early March 2002, a music video was released for "Great Romances of the 20th Century", and the song was sent to radio. On March 25, Tell All Your Friends was released through Victory Records. It sold 2,000 copies in its first week, charting at number 183 on the Billboard 200 chart. Throughout summer the band toured with Brand New and Rufio. In December, a Fight Club-inspired music video was released for "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)". The group spent the early part of 2003 touring with The Used and The Blood Brothers, before going on their own headlining tour. Following this, Nolan and Cooper left the band, being replaced by Fred Mascherino and Matt Rubano. In September, "You're So Last Summer" was released to radio. The band went on co-headlining tour with Saves the Day from September to November. Also in November, a music video was released for "You're So Last Summer".
Tell All Your Friends has received mostly positive reviews from critics. In September 2005, the album was certified certified gold in the U.S. With sales of 790,000 copies, Tell All Your Friends is the band's best-selling album. It is also Victory Records' longest-running release on both the Billboard Heatseekers and Independent album charts, lasting for 68 weeks on the former and 78 weeks on the latter. In 2012, the band went on a tour to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Tell All Your Friends. A live album, titled TAYF10 Acoustic, was released in 2013 as a result of the anniversary tour.
- 1 Background
- 2 Composition
- 3 Production
- 4 Release
- 5 Reception and legacy
- 6 Track listing
- 7 Personnel
- 8 Chart positions and certifications
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Guitarist Eddie Reyes, who had previously played in The Movielife, Mind Over Matter and Inside, and guitarist Jesse Lacey of The Rookie Lot, founded Taking Back Sunday in Amityville, New York in November 1999. Lacey moved to bass when guitarist John Nolan joined. The group also consisted of vocalist Antonio Longo of One True Thing, and drummer Steven DeJoseph. While recording the band's self-titled EP, Longo left the band, eventually going on to play with Guilt Like Gravity and The Mirror. While at a party, Nolan reportedly made out with Lacey's girlfriend, resulting in Lacey leaving the band.[nb 1] Lacey then went on to form Brand New a year later. Nolan contacted Adam Lazzara to fill in on bass, which resulted in Lazzara moving to New York. Lazzara had met the band before when they played a show close to his hometown in North Carolina.
In December 2000, Lazzara then switched to vocals. Lazzara never thought he would become the group's singer, stating: "I remember getting into [Reyes'] Windstar with that [EP] and just driving around singing those songs, just to make myself actually do it." DeJoseph left the band, leaving them without a drummer. O'Connell, who was a friend of Reyes', found out the band needed a drummer and joined the group. O'Connell suggested that the group needed a bassist, bringing in Shaun Cooper of Breaking Pangaea. In February 2001, the group released a five-track demo. Following this, the group toured for a year.
Lazzara and Nolan shared an apartment, having constant discussions, often staying up till 5AM. After a while, they began showing each other compositions they were working on. Neil Rubenstein, who would later become the group's tour manager, would often find the pair with acoustic guitars, composing material.[nb 2] The band had a room in Lindenhurst, New York were they'd practice and write material every night. The first song they came up with was "Great Romances of the 20th Century". The band frequently recorded demos by this point. All of the music was written by the band. Typically, one member of the group would come up with a part, which the rest of the group would expand into a whole song. Many of the songs feature Lazzara and Nolan doing call-and-response vocals. By December 2001, the group signed to Chicago-based label Victory Records. By this point, they had enough material for an album.
All of the lyrics were written by Adam Lazzara and John Nolan, inspired by personal experiences. Nolan and Lazzara had a concept where some of the lyrics could be read "like a play where one line is the boy and the next line is the girl. [...] Sometimes when you read the lyrics it's a little boring and it's more interesting this way." Around half of the song titles are, according to Nolan, from "sitting around late at night watching TV". The title of "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" came from a friend of the band's, saying how someone he knew was "cut from the team." "Great Romances of the 20th Century" featues a sample from the movie Beautiful Girls (1996). Discussing "The Blue Channel" and "Head Club", Lazzara said how the group were "just trying to get enough songs to fill a record so we could go on tour." The album's sound would later be described as emo, and post-punk. Around this time, the band was listening to groups such as The Get Up Kids and The Promise Ring.
While other labels had expressed interest in the band, Victory pushed the band to record an album. Recording took place in December 2001 at Big Blue Meenie in New Jersey with producer Sal Villaneuva. The band showed up without a drum set, presuming that the studio would have one. Engineer Tim Gilles exclaimed: "No major studio in America has their own [drum] set. You've gotta be fucking kidding me". The group wished to re-record "Your Own Disaster" from their demo but couldn't due to time and money constraints.[nb 3] Villanueva contributed additional guitar and co-mixed the recordings with Rumblefish. Engineering was handled by Gilles, Erin Farley, and Arun Venkatesh, while mastering was performed by Gilles at Surgical Sound.
Rubenstein contributed vocals to "There's No 'I' in Team", "Timberwolves at New Jersey" and "Head Club", Nolan's sister Michelle contributed vocals to "Bike Scene" and "Ghost Man on Third", and Matt McDannell contributed vocals to "Head Club". Nolan suggested his sister provide vocals "because I knew she had an amazing voice." In a 2011 article featured in Alternative Press, Cooper stated that the band was unhappy with "some of the choices that had been made without us", explaining how the introductions to the songs "Great Romances of the 20th Century" and "The Blue Channel" were changed from how they were initially intended by studio technicians without the band's input.
In January 2002, the band toured with Rival Schools. A music video was released for "Great Romances of the 20th Century" on March 4, directed by Christian Winters, a friend of the band. He made the video before the group had signed to Victory. The band showed it to Victory and they enjoyed it. The song was released to radio stations on March 12. Tell All Your Friends was released on March 25 through Victory Records.[nb 4] The cover art was aken by John Clark. To promote the album, Victory founder Tony Brummel decided to go after people that were not already aware of the band. The label targeted those that were familiar with Victory, as well as emo music. In Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, the label had given away 200,00 samplers in order to promote the album. This cost around $100,000, which Brummel thought was a better way to spend the money than attempting to gain radio play. RED Distribution, who handled distribution for Victory, were aware the group would not secure radio play, so they began posting about the album on emo websites. A Yahoo! Group, which contained over 1,300 fans, allowed fans to download demos of "Bike Scene" and "Head Club" – a tact which was hoped would lead to increased sales.
For three weeks starting from mid March 2002, the group went on the Victory Records tour. The band then went on a summer tour alongside Brand New and Rufio. In September and October, the band went on tour with Midtown and Recover. During one date of the tour, Lazzara sustained an injury which forced the band to drop off the tour for a couple of weeks. In November and December, the group went on tour with The Starting Line and Northstar. On December 10, a music video was released for "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" via Launch.com. The video, directed by Winters, was heavily inspired by Fight Club (1999). Nolan and Lazzara were obsessed with the film, having it on constant replay. The concept of the video initially came from Winters. Lazzara's original idea for the video was to have guys fighting girls. Winters and Victory Records rejected this idea, before Lazzara and Winters expanded it in the final version. In January 2003, the band toured with The Used and The Blood Brothers. The group went on a headlining tour, titled the Takeover Tour, in March and April, with support from From Autumn to Ashes and Recover.
Nolan, citing exhausting from touring, left the band, with Cooper following shortly after. Lazzara said that he thought Nolan and Cooper were "having trouble because everything was happening so fast. Going from being home [...] to being gone all the time and having your whole life consumed and almost defined by the band that you’re in is a lot to handle." For a brief period of time, the band thought about breaking-up. Nolan and Cooper, meanwhile, formed Straylight Run with Nolan's sister Michelle and Breaking Pangaea drummer Will Noon. In May and June 2003, the band went on a tour of the UK. From June to August, the group went on the 2003 edition of Warped Tour. Guitarist Eddie Reyes got in touch with his friend Breaking Pangaea frontman Fred Mascherino, who auditioned for Nolan's place. On August 5, it was formally announced that Mascherino was a member of the band. Sometime after, bassist Matt Rubano, who grew up with O'Connell, joined the band. Rubano was asked to audtion by O'Connell. Rubano was initially hesitant as he wasn't a fan of emo music at the time.
On September 16, "You're So Last Summer" was released as a radio single. From September to November, the band went on a co-headlining tour with Saves the Day, with support from Moneen. Also in November, a music video for "You're So Last Summer" was filmed at Fulton State Park in New York. The video, directed by Winters, was released via MTV on November 24. It features the band playing while Public Enemy vocalist Flavor Flav jumping, complete with regalia. Lazzara claimed that the group were making fun of themselves: "We had two guys leave our band and there were two main singers, so we were trying to think of a way to bring the new bandmembers into the video, but not have Fred singing the old guy’s part. And the funniest way to do that was to use Flavor Flav."
Reception and legacy
|CMJ New Music Monthly||Favorable|
AllMusic reviewer Kurt Morris thought the album was similar to The Movielife's This Time Next Year (2000). Despite a few diverges, he thought Taking Back Sunday's "ability [...] to sound so blatantly" like The Movielife was "almost their undoing." He wrote that the vocals strong resembled that of The Canterbury Effect. On a handful of occasions, Morris considered Taking Back Sunday to be "a bit more rockin'" than The Movielife, in which "they have cultivated punk, hardcore, emo, and pop and hybridized it better." At the same time, calling it "nowhere near original or creative." Rolling Stone's Gil Kaufman wrote that the album manages to "sidesteps many sad-sack emo pitfalls" by embracing "pop-infused hardcore". As well as "enlightened, dramatic lyrics" that detail "heartache that teeter between despondency and dark vengeance."
CMJ New Music Monthly writer Andrew Bonazelli noted musical similarities to fellow Victory band Thursday. He went on to describe it as "a series of double teams, two guitars butt heads," merging "clean-channel pop melodies" with "chugging metal progressions" to create "cathartic, schizophrenic anthems." He called the songs "bombast[ic]" while being "occasionally dazzling". Writing for BBC Music, Olli Siebelt thought the band brought "a welcome mix of original styles to an overcrowded playing field", weaving "an interesting mix of southern Californian post-punk, nu-metal and old school hardcore". He wrote that one reoccurring thing with album was the band's potential to compose "fantastically catchy songs" which are both "poppy and fun" as well as "upbeat and emotionally aggressive." Siebelt compared it more along the lines of All and the Descendents, while retaining "enough of its own identity" to push the band above their peers.
While it was reported that 15,000 copies had been shipped, only 2,000 copies were sold in the first week of release. Although the album charted at number 183 on the Billboard 200, spending a single week on the chart, it would peak at number 9 on the Heatseekers Albums chart, lasting 68 weeks. The album also spent 78 weeks on the Independent Albums chart, peaking at number 8. The album also peaked at number 23 on the Catalog Albums chart. Despite receiving little airplay, the album managed to sell 110,00 copies by March 2003, and towards the end of the year, sales stood at 252,000. By April 2004, the album had sold nearly 400,00 copies, and by September 2005, it was certified gold by the RIAA. By May 2009, the album had sold 790,000 copies. Tell All Your Friends became the band's best selling release and Victory's longest-running record on both the Billboard Heatseekers and Independent album charts.
Accolades, retrospective reviews and legacy
Alternative Press writer Philip Obenschain wrote that the album "has remained one of the scene’s most celebrated and influential releases". Summarising, that despite it "not be[ing] their best sounding, most mature or highest in ambition [...] it’s Tell All Your Friends' intangible and emotionally charged energy, the uncertainty, the earnestness and the rough edges that make it so special." The album was included in Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics list at number 13. Rock Sound considered it "[t]he 'Hybrid Theory' of emo." NME listed the album as one of "20 Emo Albums That Have Resolutely Stood The Test Of Time".
AbsolutePunk said that Tell All Your Friends "grabs the listener’s attention from the start." It conveyed "feelings that are completely genuine, not contrived, rehearsed or formulaic, without being over-the-top or sappy." He called Lazzara and Nolan's vocal deliver as "rapid-fire" in a "back-and-forth way, as if they were carrying on a dialogue, allows you to really attach to and get a sense of the raw emotion behind the songs." In a retrospective review for Alternative Press, Brendan Manley wrote that the album "is as close as it gets to a modern masterpiece, capturing not just a band at their apex, but an entire scene." He went on to say that Tell All Your Friends was "the crossover breaking point, finally bringing what had been percolating for years in East Coast VFW Halls to the attention of the masses." Channing Freeman of Sputnikmusic noted that the album full of "power chords and clean strums and palm muting and reverb." Pondering whether or not this was negative, "With songs this good, it shouldn't be." He summarised, " It's all here, solid and undeniably catchy." Stylus Magazine writer Jonathan Bradley wrote that while the album "is notable not so much for being a blueprint as it is a playbook," it would "provide the perfect How-To guide for teenagers with guitars all over the United States and beyond."
Tell All Your Friends was performed live in its entirety at Bamboozle 2011. In a 2011 interview with CMJ, both Adam Lazzara and John Nolan chose the album's final track, "Head Club", as their least favorite Taking Back Sunday song. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the album, the band went on a U.S. in October and November 2012 with support from Bayside. Also in November, the album charted in on the Billboard Vinyl Albums chart, peaking at number 8. In June 2013, the band released a live acoustic version of the album and an accompanying film, titled TAYF10 Acoustic. The recordings were taken from the Los Angeles and Chicago dates. In September, the band performed two electric performances of the album in New Jersey. TAYF10 Acoustic and TAYF10: Live from Starland Ballroom was released as a double-DVD set in December, as well as TAYF10 Acoustic receiving a vinyl release. In 2014, Cooper revealed that Warner Bros. wanted the group to re-record Tell All Your Friends during the Louder Now (2006) sessions, to which Cooper replied: "Are you nuts?" In 2015, revealed Lazzara how he disliked his vocals on the album: "I was just yelling everything hoping it fit in there somehow, trying to paint with some strange color."
All music written by Taking Back Sunday. All lyrics written by Adam Lazzara and John Nolan.
- "You Know How I Do" – 3:21
- "Bike Scene" – 3:35
- "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" – 3:31
- "There's No 'I' in Team" – 3:48
- "Great Romances of the 20th Century" – 3:35
- "Ghost Man on Third" – 3:59
- "Timberwolves at New Jersey" – 3:23
- "The Blue Channel" – 2:30
- "You're So Last Summer" – 2:59
- "Head Club" – 3:01
- Bonus tracks
|Vinyl only bonus track|
|11.||"The Ballad of Sal Villanueva"||3:52|
|Re-issue CD bonus tracks|
|11.||"The Ballad of Sal Villanueva"||3:52|
|12.||"Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" (acoustic)||4:26|
|13.||"You Know How I Do" (live acoustic video) (enhanced material)|
|14.||"Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" (live acoustic video) (enhanced material)|
|15.||"Exclusive interview with original members" (video) (enhanced material)|
|1.||"Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" (music video)||3:33|
|2.||"You're So Last Summer" (music video)||3:07|
|3.||"Great Romances of the 20th Century" (music video)||3:36|
|4.||"Timberwolves at New Jersey" (music video)||3:34|
Chart positions and certifications
- This event later inspired Brand New to included the song "Seventy Times 7" on their debut album Your Favorite Weapon (2001). Nolan wrote about the event from his point of view in Taking Back Sunday's "There's No 'I' in Team". The pair reconciled later on.
- Rubenstein, along with Lacey, Nolan and Lazzara, was part of a song writing collective known as the Long Island Band Pool. A person would have a lyric that they had no place to use and suggested it to another member of the collective. Lazzara called it "a real communal thing happening at the time." Through this, Rubenstein contributed the lines "best bet worst ex" to "Bike Scene" and "don't call my name out your window I'm leaving" to "Head Club".
- The group ended up re-recording it for their next album, Where You Want to Be (2004).
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