It was a huge day in Philadelphia, PA last Thursday. One of the biggest bands in the world, The Used, were in town for an exclusive in-store signing and acoustic performance. Just a week earlier, The Used released their much-anticipated 5th studio album, Vulnerable. It’s the band’s first release on their own label, Anger Music Group, in conjunction with Hopeless Records. Merely two hours before our interview, the band premiered the video of the album’s first single, “I Come Alive.” The record debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200, and sold 31,521 copies in it’s first week. This comes as no surprise considering their last two albums, Lies for The Liars and Artwork, hit #5 and #10 respectively on the Billboard Top 200. The Used have long been producing anthems for the damned, and giving hope to the hopeless. Their music is written for the underdog; inspiring the uncool, the unlucky, and…the used. I got a chance to sit down with frontman Bert McCracken to talk about the concept of the new album, both musically and lyrically. McCracken’s inspiration for the album came from his own vulnerability (hence the title of the record). In 2011, McCracken suffered a broken hand and elbow from a stage fall. He would spend the next 4 months in surgery and rehabilitation, blazing through painkillers to cope. Through all this adversity eventually came Vulnerable, a record, McCracken says, is about overcoming one’s adversity and vulnerability. It’s an emotionally charged album about picking yourself up when your down, and finding the light at the end of the tunnel. The Used have long been trailblazers in alternative rock, mixing elements of punk, metal, hardcore, and screamo into a fresh sounding musical cocktail. This album finds the band furthering their horizons. The album ranges from heavy riffs and ear-piercing vocals, to soft, reverent melodies and soothing singing. The band also experimented with their rhythm section on this record, implementing some funkier drum beats and bass riffs. It very well maybe the band’s strongest, most well-rounded effort to date. The Used are going to be very busy in the next couple of months, with a world headlining tour kicking off in May. This summer, the band is making it’s triumphant return to the Vans Warped Tour, headlining the main stage. This marks the 10-year anniversary since the band debuted on the tour back in 2002. Until The Used come to a city near your, go grab a copy of Vulnerable, pick your head up, put your fist in the air, and CRANK IT UP.