Greatest hits albums can often be pretty divisive. Whilst plenty of fans do enjoy these collections of a bands best material they are often criticised as lazy cash grabs and their existence is hard to justify. Still every now and then a greatest hits collection comes along that is just such a strong collection of songs that requires no justification. Twenty serves as a look back over the career of one of the best and most enduring band from the 00’s emo scene, Twenty Back Sunday.
What Twenty does so well is just show the journey Taking Back Sunday have been on and how much they’ve grown over the years. Each era of the bands career is summed up here with all their biggest songs. Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team) remains an emo anthem to this day. Even if this and the other material from Tell All Your Friends has aged poorly in some regards, they are very full of angst and the lyrics sound like those of someone who has a lot of growing up to do. Even with this in mind, these songs are still some of the best from their era. This early material just so brilliantly blended melody and raw aggression and still has so much youthful energy that it’s easy to overlook some questionable lyrics.
The songs off Where You Want To Be and Louder Now see the band lose some of their angst and lean more into pop-punk territory. Whilst Where You Want To Be material felt more transitional, Louder Now is undeniably their best album and with the choice of songs used here, it’s hard to argue against that. MakeDamnSure is an untouchable classic in the genre, there is a reason it has been their closing song live for so long now.
One thing this collection does is serve as a reminder of just how consistent Taking Back Sunday are. Whilst New Again and the Self Titled album aren’t quite as loved they were still packed with plenty of radio rock hits and the two songs picked off each album really show that. The band certainly slowed things down on these albums and the raw aggression present on the early albums is completely gone but it showed how the band were maturing. Of the latter material though it’s Flicker, Fade off of Happiness Is that is the real high point, standing easily alongside any of the best material from the first few albums.
Twenty wraps up with songs from their latest album Tidal Wave along with two previously unreleased songs. Tidal Wave saw the band move into a more punk influenced direction whilst not losing their emo roots. The two new songs certainly won’t disappoint fans either. All Ready To Go feels like a slight throwback to their earlier sound without losing any of the maturity, the duelling vocals at the end feel like they could be straight off any of the early albums. A Song For Dan is up there with the bands best ballads too and is an incredibly emotional way to close out this album. If these songs are anything to go by then Taking Back Sunday still have plenty of fire left in them.
Twenty is just a fantastic look back at the career of a band who have perhaps been somewhat overlooked in recent years. Whilst they might not have ever reached the highs of other bands who broke at a similar time, the quality of their output has never dipped significantly and they have continued to grow and never just rely on nostalgia. Twenty will no doubt be essential for die hard fans but if you’ve never bothered with Taking Back Sunday then this might just be the perfect starting point now.
Twenty is out now on Craft Recordings.