Toxic Positivity by The Used

The world has changed a lot since the last The Used album but their upcoming new release addresses many of the struggles people are facing.  

Each song from The Used‘s ninth studio album, Toxic Positivity, will mean something different to everyone. We are all going through something on some level and the emotional feeling provided by this album will hit different people in different ways. No matter if you are dealing with heartache, loss, fatigue, or mental illness of any kind, there is something here for everyone.  

The fact that The Used sings about issues that most people can relate to has gained them popularity. No matter if this is the first time listening to the band, or if you are a long-time fan, this album is worth a listen for sure. By lead singer Burt McCracken’s own description, this is some of the most sincere music they have ever written. He has said that this album provides a “day-in-the-life journey of a depressed, anxiety-ridden person.”

The album starts off in a dark place with heavy topics of mental health struggles and insinuated substance abuse. They open with “Worst I’ve Ever Been” which provides insight into how easy it is to get too far in too quickly and the dark places our own minds can take us. The next song, “Numb,” was released as a single four weeks ago. It has a catchy beat and makes you want to sing it out loud with the windows down. You will want to listen to it over and over. Even with the catchy beat, the song is seemingly about the feeling of giving up. It is about going too far and getting overwhelmed by your situation, or the situation someone has put you in. It also addresses the numb feeling that can eventually set in after being pushed to your breaking point for too long and the draining numbness that depression can cause.  

Continuing along the emotional journey, “I Hate Everybody” seems to be about the torment we can sometimes put ourselves through with negative thoughts and self-doubt. They address the fact that love is not only something that we need and crave, it can also be the source of our own mind’s torture. This song has a very catchy hook and Burt’s love of fellow artist Kim Dracula shines through in this song. “Pinky Swear” is a heavier song. It discusses the feeling of being vulnerable. It provides the reassurance that a pinky swear is supposed to and the feeling of betrayal that is felt when it is broken.  

“Headspace” touches on how mental illness puts you in a dark place. It addresses how life can be cruel by throwing things at you that are hard to process and crowd your mind. It also provides assurance that a lot of people feed that darkness with their own minds and it is not just you. Up next is “Cherry” with a hard breakdown. It seems to be a turning point in the album that starts to address change. “Dopamine” is about how it is possible to be addicted to anything, even a person, even when it is not logical. Maybe they are bad for us, too far away, or have some other red flag that we ignore, but  it is still possible to crave their presence. This is a song with deep lyrics in a fun whimsical package.  

If there were just one word to describe “Dancing with a Brick Wall,” it would defiantly be stubbornness. Whether it is our own stubbornness or that of someone we love, “it’s all a brick wall.” Next up is “Top of the World,” a song seemingly about the high of the best feelings. That feeling of being on top of the world but the fear that you are merely standing on the edge of a cliff. That feeling that the higher you go, the further you will fall. “House of Sand” is a slower, softer song about struggles that seem to be never-ending. For the last song, “Giving Up” they ended the album on an emotionally uplifting note. With chorus lyrics like “I’m not giving up on me,” it is the pick-me-up needed after the cathartic purge of emotions throughout the rest of the album. It is the purge that you may not have realized you needed but is worth every minute and every tear shed while listening.  

Toxic Positivity is out on May 19, 2023, from Big Noise Media Group.  

PHOTO BY: Anthony Tran

Website  Facebook  Twitter

About Jessica Trail 27 Articles
Jessica is based in Hamtramck, MI. She is an engineer who is also passionate about photography and live music. When she is not researching new shows and festivals to attend she enjoys playing with her dog and rooting for her favorite sports teams.