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The Used, ‘Lies for the Liars’ (Reprise)

Well, it finally happened. After years of being groomed for mainstream stardom, Bert McCracken, the onetime king of screamo, has had it with the shallow world of music-biz phonies. In recent months, the Used frontman has publicly grumbled about the fair-weather friends he made during his band’s rapid ascension, and on this third album’s “Pretty Handsome Awkward,” he continues to elaborate over three and a half minutes of vengeful hard rock.

Built around a sleazy guitar line that wouldn’t have sounded out of place blaring from the Sunset Strip in 1987, “Handsome” is easily one of the best songs that McCracken and his scraggly bandmates have written. Both pissed off and impossibly catchy, it’s an undeniable anthem that Warped Tour attendees the nation over should quickly fall for, and it’s a shame that there aren’t more songs on Liars like it.

But for every irresistible kiss-off like “Handsome” or goth-punk romp (“Paralyzed”), there’s also a lifeless ballad (“Find a Way”) or an embarrassing stab at musical theater (“The Bird and the Worm”). While the Used honestly want to move away from their time-tested sound, the experiments come off as unfocused and confused. And for now, McCracken is still most convincing when he’s at full rage.

Now Watch This: The Used – “The Bird and the Worm”