The Used’s eighth album is Heartwork and it’s another good album from the band. The production is better than it’s been on the past couple of records, but other than that they’re not doing a whole lot different than what they’ve been doing. Still, what they’re doing on the record Is pretty optimal. Heartwork is a bunch of awesome rock music with emo and punk undertones accented by some production elements, Bert McCracken’s badass vocal, and some guest spots. It’s not that different than the band’s last record The Canyon but it’s a bit more polished than the band’s past couple of albums.
Produced by John Feldmann, the first time the band has worked with the producer since 2014, Heartwork’s production is magnetizing. There’s a lot of polish to this record, and for a band like The Used – a band that thrives in the grit – it’s an interesting contrast to listen to but one that works the vast majority of the time. Sometimes the Bert McCracken’s vocal is a little too pristine for some songs, but for the most part – it still works all over the record.
Apart from the production on this record, there’s really not that much that’s different with this album that the band hasn’t done on the past few records. There are a few feature slots across the record including two highlights towards the end of the album; one with Mark Hoppus from Blink-182 and another with Travis Barker from Blink-182. It should be noted that those songs aren’t great because of the guest slots, they’re great because the songs themselves are brilliantly crafted. There are some great Used songs on this album, “BIG, WANNA BE,” “Obvious Biase” and “Cathedral Bell” all come to mind.
The Used remains a consistent force in alternative music. They’ve had an impressive two decade run and that continues with Heartwork. They show some maturity here sure, but they also show that they have the propensity to make music that their fans will love. There’s no redefinition with The Used on this album, and there doesn’t need to be. They make what they make, and they do it well.