Banger of the Week: The Used – Polly/Choke Me

Circa 2002

The eponymous album, released in 2002 was a tour de force of pretty pop rock with arena rock ambition gilded in brutal vocals. The lyrical range and fuck it all attitude expressed by charismatic (see: vomiting on stage) front man Bert McCracken made the band memorable with his cameo on the Osbourne’s while dating Kelly also helping.

On their first two albums and into the first song of their 3rd, there are many Banger worthy tracks. The lead song off of 2007s Lies for the Liars is “The Ripper” which incorporates some plunky electronic melody, minor harmonizing, and too much shiny production, but the chorus- as it suggest- rips.

But before, oh before. Oh the shiny past. From album two, In Love and Death (2004), two songs deserve Banger attention. First is the first, “Take it Away.” An evangelical opening, followed by a fired gun, sets the guitars off and the theme seeks to bring about ends and endings. “I’m a Fake,” on the other hand, utilizes spoken poetry.  With the melodrama turned up to 11 it holds the over the top tone all the way through its 4:00 run time.


And now to the self-titled first album. New, raw, and ready to shoulder all of their audience’s angst, it’s full of great songs. But to find the essence of what rises to the Banger of the Week status go 9:00 minutes in to “Pieces Mended” (a good song in its own right) to find “Polly” and “Choke Me.” Bert used to puke because of the strain to his voice from his singing (booze and an unhealthy life contributing? probably). You can hear it here. And the band as well gets as heavy and haunting as on any of the other songs from the album. Straight, stinging speed and deep cutting riffs.

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