The Used find steady footing on their fifth studio album, a 12-song blast of fiery emo/indie/punk rock that marries the slick, metallic pop of 2007's Lies for the Liars with the wild abandon of their debut. Stocked to the ceiling with hooks, Vulnerable breaks little ground for the Utah-based outfit, as the majority of tracks follow the tried and true template of atmospheric intro/staccato breakdown/huge power chorus/repeat, but the balance between sheen and filth is handled with aplomb. The band is remarkably tight and Bert McCracken's vocals sound better than ever, which helps a great deal when you're supporting lyrics that sound like they were found on the floor of a Warped tour Porta Potty. Detractors will find the usual faults (predictable melodies/unbearable earnestness), but fans who have followed the group on their rise to the top of the emo heap will find a lot to love on Vulnerable. Whether they're tearing a hole in the sky ("Kiss It Goodbye"), digging one in the dirt ("Getting Over You"), channeling "Eleanor Rigby" ("This Fire"), or landing the perfect radio/reality television show-ready anthem ("Moving On"), the Used never do it half-assed.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger