The rate our society demands, chews up and spits out culture has accelerated to a point where we don’t even take in what we’re given. One song is as good as the next, a movie as meaningless as the one before, television that’s forgettable as soon as we get to the commercial break. That’s what makes ambition so interesting.
So when Shaun Cooper, the bassist for Taking Back Sunday, starts off an interview by saying, “the whole idea was to make the great American rock record,” you can’t help but listen.
Taking Back Sunday had its roots in the Long Island hardcore/emo scene in the late ’90s and early 2000s, coming out of the shadow of pioneers like Sunny Day Real Estate and Glassjaw. Success came early in 2002 with their first album, “Tell All Your Friends,” essentially a eulogy to hardcore that the public could actually listen to. From there, they became one of the biggest bands that you probably listened to in high school, buoyed by songs like “Cute Without The E,” “MakeDamnSure” and “What it Feels Like To Be A Ghost.”
Their newest album, the aptly titled “Taking Back Sunday,” is something of a return to form. Cooper said the crew that recorded “Tell All Your Friends” have put aside the differences that initially led many of them to leave the group and has brought them to focus on trying to make the best album that they possibly can.
“We all got together before recording the album just to hang out and drink beers,” Cooper said. “It was a scary thing for all of us, but it took about an hour of talking and then it was like none of us had ever left. After that last time together, it felt really easy writing together and we were just pumping up songs. I think you can really hear that on the record.”
This self-titled album certainly does have a unique sound. It’s the heaviest record that Taking Back Sunday has recorded and deals with issues considerably more far reaching than the personal struggles that were the focus of earlier releases.
“We wanted to record music that was timeless, but was still very much us,” Cooper said. “We’re always fighting for that perfect metaphor, that perfect line, that perfect chord. We’re not looking for frills. We ‘re just looking to write the most honest music we can.”
That honesty transfers to every facet of the band’s future. Cooper said the band hopes to tour their newest material before going back into the studio to record a new record. He said audiences could expect more hard rock, without the electronic experimentation that has become in vogue for many of the band’s contemporaries.
“None of us listen to that shit,” Cooper said. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We don’t want to be the band that’s remembered for having that one weird album.”
Cooper said Taking Back Sunday wants to be remembered for the authenticity and excitement that they bring to their shows, including their upcoming performance at Bradley.
“With us, you won’t see five guys more happy to be up there playing,” he said. “For that hour or half hour on stage, you’re going to see people that love to be there. We love playing shows. We just want to come out and turn it into one big party.”