"MakeDamnSure" at 15: How Taking Back Sunday's Louder Now single became the band's biggest hit

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Taking Back Sunday's Adam Lazzara on "MakeDamnSure": "Right from the get-go, everyone in the band really gravitated toward that song. We knew pretty early on that that was going to be the best foot forward for that record."
Taking Back Sunday's 2002 debut album Tell All Your Friends unleashed a bevy of emo anthems like "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)," "Timberwolves At New Jersey," and "You're So Last Summer." For many fans, these unforgettable songs will forever be associated with AIM away messages, summers at Warped Tour, and automatic music players on Myspace. These tracks can still be heard at any given club's "emo night," with crowds screaming out the deeply catchy choruses. But it wasn't until the release of Taking Back Sunday's third LP, Louder Now, that the band got its big radio hit with "MakeDamnSure." "When that came out, it was the start of when things really picked up and kind of took off for us," lead singer Adam Lazzara told The A.V. Club during an interview looking back at the band's biggest—and arguably most enduring—hit.

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In 2005, Taking Back Sunday signed to Warner Bros., marking a big shift for the group's career. TBS had contributed one of the Louder Now tracks, "Error: Operator" to the Fantastic Four soundtrack before Louder Now came out, but the band still needed a lead single to introduce audiences to a new era of Taking Back Sunday. "MakeDamnSure" proved to be the perfect choice. It was devoid of the Myspace emo fare of overly dramatic references to self-harm (though they're still addicts for dramatics in the Louder Now era), retaining the emotionally charged essence of the band's previous hit singles, with a chorus that begs to be sung along to: "I just want to break you down so badly in the worst way."

"MakeDamnSure" turned 15 in March. For the anniversary, we spoke to Adam Lazzara about the making of the song, opening for The Killers, and the New York City jukebox bar that inspired "MakeDamnSure."

The A.V. Club: "MakeDamnSure" has so many standout references, particularly its setting of jukebox bars. What inspired the narrative in the song?

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Adam Lazzara: I was living in New York and there's this bar that was…
Tatiana Tenreyro
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