Fans have been under the influence of Taking Back Sunday for more than a decade — nearly three, to be exact — and ahead of the band releasing their eighth studio album, 152, frontman Adam Lazzara took a look back on their most iconic songs with Us.
As loyal fans know, Taking Back Sunday changed the scene when they released Tell All Your Friends in 2002. The 10-track debut LP remains timeless — and whether you were an emo kid or not, there’s a good chance you’ll lose your cool anytime the intro of “There’s No ‘I’ In Team” begins.
“We had this thing, we used to call it the Long Island Band Pool. If we had a line or something that we didn’t have a place for, we would call up [a] buddy [and say], ‘Hey man, I have this line if you want to use it.’ Or, if we were stuck on something, we would call each other [and say], ‘Here’s what I got, what do you think?'” Lazzara, 42, recalls. “Looking back, it was basically like we were workshopping ideas together.”
“It helped the subject matter of that song come to light,” he continues. “There’s something real hypnotic about that song when I think about it — you kind of just get lost in it.”
Another fan favorite from the 2002 album — “‘Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)” — featured a title inspired by a random earworm. “We’ll have the songs [with] working titles, and wait until the last possible minute to give them a name,” Lazzara explains. “We were hanging out with our friend Michael Dubin and he kept saying, ‘You’re cut from the team.’ He said it so much that after a while, it started to stick in my brain.”
Over time, the song has taken on a life of its own. “Cute Without the ‘E’” and ‘Great Romances [of the 20th Century]’ were the first two [songs] that had big sing-along moments we weren’t expecting,” the singer explains. “Those moments are just magic — when we’re playing it live, it becomes its own thing. It’s not ours, it’s not anybody’s. You almost feel like you’re floating 10 feet off the floor in those moments.”
“A Decade Under the Influence” — off of the band’s second album, Where You Want to Be, released in 2004 — featured a catchy lyric influenced by an iconic film. “I’m pretty sure that I ripped the line ‘I got a bad feeling about this’ from Star Wars, but I didn’t realize it until way later,” Lazzara explains. “My friend Emma pointed it out to me, and then it was like, ‘Oh s–t, I think you’re right. Nobody tell George Lucas!’”
“MakeDamnSure” — which contains a bridge that the musician jokes he now finds “stalker-y” 17 years after the track dropped in 2006 — was both a hit with the group and their fans. “It’s really rare [when] everyone is kind of responding in the same way in the band,” Lazzara says. “But once it came together, that was the one where everybody looked at each other, like, ‘Oh, my God, I think we’re onto something here.'”
Taking Back Sunday — which includes guitarist John Nolan, drummer Mark O’Connell and bassist Shaun Cooper — is also onto something with 152, which pays homage to their early days while simultaneously honoring the men they are today.
“With this record, the way that we approached the songs was similar to how we would’ve approached things when we were just coming up,” Lazzara explains. “A big part of that time for us was Long Island itself, because that’s where all the other guys are from, and that’s where we were cutting our teeth, so we wanted to try to represent that.”
One way to celebrate the good old days? Returning to their roots — literally. The group filmed the music video for “S’old” in a friend’s Long Island backyard, in the same town where the band recorded their debut album. The nostalgic feel is intentional, says Lazzara, who notes the experience was “a real special thing.”
Though the lineup has changed over the years, Taking Back Sunday remains a band that continues to challenge themselves by pushing the envelope and making music that feels authentic and, of course, sounds good. “One of my favorite things about the band is that I feel that each record is a perfect snapshot of who we were then,” Lazzara adds. “This is who we are now.”
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152 will be available Friday, October 27, everywhere.
To hear the stories behind Taking Back Sunday’s biggest hits, watch the exclusive video above, the latest in Us Weekly‘s “Anatomy of a Song” series.