The Used | House of Blues | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge The Used

The Used

Derek Bremner

When: Tue., May 17, 8 p.m. and Wed., May 18, 8 p.m. 2016
Price: sold out
Pop music was in a strange place right after September 11, 2001, as represented by the unpredictable rise of the Used. While emo’s groundswell and a thirst for earnest rock songs with bludgeoning pop hooks helped Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” become an anthem, this Utah outfit became a pop phenomenon in their own right—even though they had less than two years under their belt, exhibited a taste for pop-metal, and were fronted by a vocalist named Bert whose singing tested the limits of pop-punk’s hirsute whine. The Used’s 2002 self-titled debut for Reprise set the stage for the band to dominate the charts, and 2004’s In Love & Death predictably debuted at number five on the Billboard 200. The former album unloaded crossover hits such as the soaring “Buried Myself Alive” and confessional “The Taste of Ink,” which for better or worse reshaped the idea of what emo is on a massive scale; meanwhile aforementioned singer and front man Bert McCracken was briefly transformed into a inescapable alt celeb when he dated Kelly Osbourne. To reiterate, the early aughts were really strange, and the Used nicely condense the zeitgeist’s confusion and angst into three-minute shots that occasionally sound like arena rock left to rot in the gutter. To celebrate their 15-year anniversary, the Used are touring on their first two albums—it might come as a surprise that they’re still going, but weirder things have happened.
— Leor Galil
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