Follow TV Tropes


Music / Taking Back Sunday

Go To

"The truth is you could slit my throat
And with my one last gasping breath
I'd apologize for bleeding on your shirt"
—"You're So Last Summer"

Taking Back Sunday (or TBS for short) is a Post-Hardcore/Emo/Alternative Rock band from Long Island, NY. They are most famous for their intense, confessional lyrics, their use of complex vocal lines with multiple vocalists, and their frequent lineup changes.

Guitarist Eddie Reyes, who was already a veteran of the Long Island punk scene, formed the band in 1999 with vocalist Antonio Longo, bassist Jesse Lacey (who later went on to form Brand New), drummer Stephen DeJoseph, and guitarist/singer John Nolan. After releasing a fairly obscure EP and several lineup changes, the band replaced Longo with Adam Lazarra, Lacey with Shaun Cooper and DeJoseph with Mark O'Connell (the latter two changes occuring during recording of the EP, leading to two different lineups performing on the EP). With this lineup, the band released Tell All Your Friends, a hugely influential slice of post-hardcore that spawned four singles and was a critical darling.

But this lineup was too good to last, as John and Shaun both left the band in 2004 to form the indie rock band Straylight Run. They were replaced by Fred Mascherino and Matt Rubano, respectively. This lineup recorded two albums together: Where You Want to Be in 2004 and Louder Now in 2006, which both helped propel the band into the mainstream. However, conflicts between Fred and the rest of the band forced the band to change lineups again, as Fred was replaced by Matthew Fazzi. They recorded New Again in 2009, but it received middling reviews and the band now considers it to be their weakest album.

Seemingly spent creatively, Taking Back Sunday decided to go back to their roots in a big way: they reunited the Tell All Your Friends lineup, bringing John Nolan and Shaun Cooper back to the fray in 2010. They recorded their fifth and Self-Titled Album in 2011, which expanded the band's songwriting while still keeping their signature sound. The band managed to keep this lineup until 2018, and releasing another two albums with this lineup, Happiness Is in 2014 and Tidal Wave in 2016. The lineup came to an end with Reyes' departure in 2018. He was not replaced.


  • Tell All Your Friends (2002)
    • "Timberwolves At New Jersey"
    • "Great Romances of the 20th Century"
    • "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)"
    • "You're So Last Summer"
  • Where You Want to Be (2004)
    • "Set Phasers To Stun"
    • "This Photograph is Proof (I Know You Know)"
    • "A Decade Under the Influence"
  • Louder Now (2006)
    • "What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?"
    • "MakeDamnSure"
    • "My Blue Heaven"
    • "Twenty-Twenty Surgery"
  • New Again (2009)
    • "Sink Into Me"
    • "Carpathia"
  • Taking Back Sunday (2011)
    • "Faith (When I Let You Down)"
    • "This is All Now"
    • "You Got Me"
  • Happiness Is (2014)
    • "Flicker, Fade"
    • "Stood a Chance"
  • Tidal Wave (2016)
    • "Tidal Wave"
    • "You Can't Look Back"
    • "Death Wolf"
    • "Call Come Running"
  • 152 (2023)
    • "The One"
    • "S'old"
    • "Amphetamine Smiles
    • "Keep Going"

Taking Back Sunday contains examples of:

  • Album Title Drop:
    • Their first three albums all have this somewhere. Tell All Your Friends is dropped on "Cute Without the 'E'," Where You Want To Be on "Set Phasers to Stun," and Louder Now on "What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?"
    • The lead single for their seventh album, Tidal Wave, is this as well.
  • Anti-Love Song: Listing each one would take forever, so it's better to just say "Almost all of them."
  • Arc Words: "Nothing" and "anything" in Happiness Is. There's even a song called "Nothing At All". Also, the name "Jenny" in New Again.
  • Ballad of X: "The Ballad of Sal Villanueva" (who was the producer of Tell All Your Friends).
  • Breakup Breakout:
    • Jesse Lacey formed Brand New after leaving TBS, and there is still much debate over which band is more popular.
    • Also John Nolan and Shaun Cooper with Straylight Run, although they have since returned to TBS.
  • Break-Up Song: Several of their songs, particularly older ones.
  • Call-and-Response Song: Part of their signature style early on - seen most notably in "One-Eighty by Summer" and "Head Club".
  • Careful with That Axe: Many songs on their first album.
  • Cat Scare: "MakeDamnSure" starts off with Adam Lazzara taking a deep breath, making the listener think he's going to do a savage scream. The first verse has a light-hearted melody.
  • Concept Video: Most of their videos, most notably "Cute Without The 'E'," being an obvious nod to Fight Club.
  • Cover Version: One of Suburban Home, used in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Where My Mouth Is", which is about Adam's drug abuse, doesn't portray drugs in a very positive light.
  • Fantastic Drug: In the music video for "Faith", the OMGWTFTBSCAT snorts... catnip.
  • Loudness War: "The Ballad of Sal Villanueva" stands out the most, especially when you realize that every other song on Tell All Your Friends is mixed rather quietly.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Spin" from Louder Now is perhaps their heaviest song. By contrast, the next track on the album ("Divine Intervention") is an acoustic ballad.* New Sound Album: Tidal Wave is a Heartland Rock album, of all things.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Quite a few including the entirety of their first two albums, given that most of their song titles are hard to fit into actual lyrics. It's easier to list the exceptions, which include (but aren't limited to): "My Blue Heaven", "MakeDamnSure", "Twenty-Twenty Surgery", "What's it Feel Like to Be a Ghost", "Liar", "Miami", "Sleep", "If You See Something, Say Something", "Swing", "Cut Me Up, Jenny", "Where My Mouth Is", "Catholic Knees", "Call Me In the Morning", "It Doesn't Feel a Thing Like Falling", "Faith (When I Let You Down)", "We Were Younger Then", "Beat Up Car", "Stood a Chance", "Tidal Wave", "You Can't Look Back", "Holy Water", "In The Middle Of It All", "We Don't Go In There", "I'll Find A Way To Make It What You Want", "Keep Going", "Lightbringer", "Juice 2 Me", and "New Music Friday."
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Adam and Michelle Nolan.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • "El Paso".
    • Most of Tidal Wave.
    • Most of 152 as well, as it deviates more into a more modern, poppier sound.
  • Precision F-Strike: Their first (and as of right now, only) use of profanity was one "bullshit" in their new song "Better Homes and Gardens".
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The video for "Timberwolves At New Jersey."
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "This is All Now", to a religious person.
  • Revolving Door Band: They were this up until 2010 when "classic" members (and usually assumed by most to be original members) John Nolan and Shaun Cooper rejoined the band after leaving in 2003 to form Straylight Run, less than a year after the release of debut album Tell All Your Friends. In the years between their foundation in 1999 and the reunion of the TAYF era lineup, the band had EIGHT departures of band members.
  • Signature Move: Adam has a thing for swinging his microphone. As a Take That! to TBS, Brand New once made a t-shirt that said, "Microphones are for singing, not swinging", in reference to the move.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "MakeDamnSure" and "Cut Me Up Jenny"
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Usually averted, as their intricately harmonized vocals are always done by Adam and their current co-vocalist/guitarist.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their fifth studio album was one. Also, their very first release was a self-titled EP.
  • Shout-Out: The video for "Cute Without The 'E'" was a blatant shout out to Fight Club.
  • Take That!:
    • "There's No 'I' In Team" is a less than loving response to Brand New's "Seventy Times 7."
    • "Capital M-E" was a response to public comments made by Fred Mascherino, the guitarist for Where You Want To Be and Louder Now.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: "Cute Without the 'E'" uses multiple variation on The Four Chords of Pop, both in tempo and progression, to sound more musically complex.