With the release of their fourth album, Artwork, The Used forged a new pathway for themselves into the land of pop. The album ventures into a new type of genre the band labels as “gross pop.” As it turns out, it should be more widely accepted than their more hardcore screamo feel of before. The change in sound was mostly facilitated by bringing in new producer, Matt Squire, who has worked with pop-rock bands such as Boys Like Girls. The result is definitely different, but the question of whether According to Musicremedy.com, “The Used wanted to see what would happen if they entered the studio with someone different, a process guitarist Quinn Allman compares to ‘breaking up with your girlfriend not because you don’t love her but because you need to try something new.'” Something new definitely emerged, but whether fans will accept this toned- down version of the band is still up in the air.

Of the tracks on Artwork, the song most reminiscent of their older sound is “The Best of Me,” which keeps alive their original mixture of both melodic and rough instrumentals with the occasional tantalizing scream. It has a satisfying angry feel with lyrics like “I could forget your name/ I could forget your face forever/ I could forget about the smile you always faked/ The one you thought I bought, but never” and ultimately ends in “Fuck.” This track is 100 percent Used, and it will keep original fans pleased.

A track that has more a mixture of the old and the new is the first on the album, “Blood on My Hands.” Lyrics like, “Feel the pain I never show/ And I hope you know it’s never healing/ I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so,” are reminiscent of the more emo Used, but a catchy chorus shows the strong pop influence.

Other tracks on the album range between the bands original sound and the newer, easier-on-the-ears feel. “Empty With You” has a softer pop vibe while “Meant to Die” makes more of a statement with a bolder sound.

Both diehard fans and newer followers of the “gross pop” feel will find something they like on Artwork, but the reaction of the older fans has yet to be seen. According to UWIRE.com, “The band hyped up fans by informing them that this album would be gritty and noisy, close to their roots, and reminiscent of their first album.” Their sudden change of heart and move toward pop might leave fans teetering on the edge.

The attempt to widen a fan base can be a smart career move for a band, or it can be fatal. The Used’s move into newer, more radio-friendly territory brings on an age-old question in the music industry: Is it more important to keep a smaller base of diehard fans or have a bigger base that is only semi-enthused? It seems like The Used will survive with this baby step toward mainstream, but any larger leaps in the future might start costing them the fans who actually care.

4 stars out of 5.