Used frontman Bert McCracken endured a public split from Kelly Osbourne, which has clearly caused him much distress. One minute he's screaming "I'm a mess without you," the next unleashing the mother of all post-split put-downs: "While we were making love I was asleep." If this weren't enough, McCracken's preparations for his band's second album were interrupted by the deaths of two friends and his pet Chihuahua. He can console himself with the fact that cameo appearances on the Osbournes TV show have helped push his band into the US top 10.
The Used's In Love and Death is their official sophomore album, following the tide-over hodgepodge of 2003's Maybe Memories. They've found some harder guitars in the interim, filling "Take It Away" and "I Caught Fire" with directly energizing chord progressions that spill over rewardingly into triumphant choruses. "Away" even revitalizes the ridiculously played-out singing guy/screaming guy dynamic that the Used and so many of their peers unfailingly deploy.