Review: Staind – Staind

Oh noes, Staind have dun got heavy, yo’. And no, I’m not reviewing Staind twice, you’ll be happy to know, but instead their new album (out tomorrow in North America) is very originally self-titled, as the band have run out of album names, as well as musical ideas.

So first, a little history lesson for the 3 people out there that care. Basically, the first couple of (3 at a push – and a hard push at that) Staind albums were pretty heavy. And by “pretty heavy”, I mean not heavy at all. The albums in question, were never quite as shit as the shit that followed that “heavy” shit. If you get what I’m saying? So I guess after going all ‘middle of the road’ on our asses, and sales flopping more than my penis flops after seeing your mother, the band decided they need to go back to their roots for all 10 of their remaining fans. Fun times, right? Another piece of useless trivia, is that the band were discovered by Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit fame, so we have so have something else to blame him for.

So if you’re a Staind fan, make the jump off a high cliff for my exclusive review. Or if you’re just intrigued to find out if the band can pull off a ‘return to roots’ album, or have a morbid sense of humor, you may also want to check it out, as my attempts at writing are both awesome and hilarious at the same time.

Staind – Staind (2011)

1. Eyes Wide Open – 3:30
2. Not Again – 4:34
3. Failing – 5:26
4. Wannabe – 3:49
5. Throw It All Away – 4:24
6. Take a Breath – 3:56
7. The Bottom – 4:15
8. Now – 3:44
9. Paper Wings – 4:21
10. Something to Remind You – 4:07

Staind opens the album straight into the first song, ‘Eyes Wide Open’. Those who have heard the first two albums, Tormented and Dysfunction, will know this is actually a relatively successful attempt at rehashing that sound. There’s also a solo, because adding solos to by-numbers Nu-Metal-esque songs is all the rage with ‘past their use-by-date’ late 90’s/early 2000s bands at the moment. The solo was quite dazzling and puts Buckethead to shame. Nah, I’m just fucking with you, it was crap. But kudos to the band for trying to learn their instruments, I guess.

Most of the album is made up of these ‘Chug chug’ down-tuned, heavy Nu-Metal riffs and Aaron Lewis’ bellowing. So what’s changed? Well now, and thank God, with the exception of the closing track (The album closes with a dreary, going no where ballad about how sad Aaron is. If you’ve heard Staind before, you’ve heard this song before), there are no more horrendous ballads. Musically, the band are far more interesting than they have been in years. Aaron has also evolved from being a whiny, fat, bald, middle-aged man, into a whiny, fat, bald, middle-aged man, that likes to scream every now and again. Or in the case of fourth track ‘Wannabe’, he raps about people masturbating in their mom’s basements and downloading music for free (or some shit), and it really is as cringe worthy as it sounds. I guess this self-titled album proves to be more of a devolution and stagnation at the same time. Perhaps they should have saved the title The Illusion of Progress (the band’s 2008 album) for this release.

Despite my criticisms, there are some highlights on this album (I’ve got to be a little bit objective). Track 3, ‘Failing’, sounds like a slightly less shit version of Seether (who in turn used to sound like a slightly less shit version of Staind at times), and does have a decent melody to it. Fifth track ‘Throw it Away’ is the closest thing to the recent Staind you have probably come to expect (i.e. Whiney singing, self-indulgence and arpeggiated clean guitar lines), which sounds like a slightly less shit version of Staind. Finally, Eighth track, ‘Now’ (Staind are imaginative with their song names on this equally imaginatively self-titled album) is perhaps musically the strongest track Staind have ever written. Although, if you think about it, that doesn’t say an awful lot. Despite this, it’s actually kind of uplifting and I can almost nod my head to it. So it’s not all like having your penis shredded with a cheese grater.

Overall, I can’t see why fans of Staind (and in particular fans of the the first few albums) will be disappointed with this album. It’s nothing ground breaking, but Staind fans have never been known for their good taste, and this album is easily better than the last 3 albums. For those of you who actually like Metal though, you will no doubt laugh at the thought of this album being called ‘heavy’. Actually you’d probably just laugh at this being called music. There’s a few ok-ish songs, but the majority are fairly ‘samey’ and just a little bit shit. I’d suggest you just listen to it for free, if you’re really curious, but then I’m worried Aaron will release another song like ‘Wannabe’, so instead you should just stay away.

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