From the fires of Metallica and Alice In Chains
came a wave of nu metal and neo-grunge bands in the late '90s
like Tool, Korn, Mudvayne, Disturbed
and many more, including Springfield, Massachusetts rock quartet
Staind whose tutoring from Fred Durst of Limp
Bizkit on their second album Dysfunction shot them
into mainstream radio.
The band's newly released Greatest Hits LP encapsulates
their hits from 1996-2006. In retrospect, they had a significant
number of songs that broke into the Top 40 charts, and yet they
never let that water down their battle cry to awaken human consciousness,
nor did it dilute the thrust in their power chords and hard edged
vocals. It's like they were aware of their surroundings and in
touch with them, but guarded themselves from their corruption.
Meaning, they made commercial radio expand to fit their frame,
rather than making songs that fit into commercial radio's format.
Their Greatest Hits disc tunes up with a hand full of
numbers fueled by crunching guitars, robust bass lines, and seething
vocals like "Come Again," "For You," and the
churning dark-toned and low keyed chords of "Falling."
As starkly tempestuous as Staind's arrangements are, the lyrics
resonate deeply in people's psyche like in "Falling"
with a chorus that propounds: "Falling down is easy/ It's
getting back up that becomes the problem." Staind's lyrics
are filled with life's lessons. They have a universal sentiment
while packed with heavy weights in their spoors.
Band mates Aaron Lewis on lead vocals and acoustic guitar,
Mike Mushok on guitar, Johnny April on bass, and
Jon Wysocki on drums, graft sonic textures as softly torched
as Stone Sour and bombasts with the pressure of Rob
Zombie. The strong bass lines on "Mudshovel" are
offset by the candlelit acoustic guitar tapers and meditative
vocals on "Outside" and "It's Been A While."
The lightweight percussion beats on "Epiphany" are coated
with dusky vocals hovering over fluttering guitar series, fluid
string arrangements, an unyielding bass thump, and marching band
drum strikes. The power chords are balanced by a cherubic violin
set on "So Far Away" drilled into the lyrics: "I
feel like I can face the day/ I am not ashamed of the person that
I am today."
The rumbling bass pulls and crashing drum cymbals on "Price
To Play" are studded with accelerating guitar swells and
a clinching vocal melody, whereas the gentle gracefulness of the
acoustic guitar motions on "Zoe Jane" have a rocking
chair tempo even while merging into the heavily caped rhythm section
and power chords. Lewis wrote this song to his daughter. Its combination
of acoustic tools and power chord styling is also adhered to on
tracks like "Right Here" and the last four selections
which were taped live - "Everything Changes," "Nutshell,"
"Sober," and the band's cover of Pink Floyd's
hit song "Comfortably Numb", tailored with brushed drum
Staind's Greatest Hits compilation shows audiences where
the band has come from, where they've gone, and where they have
ended up. It's somewhere between neo-grunge and nu metal, but
no matter how people feel about their style of music, it's been
their lyrics that have been embedded in people's psyches and their
music which has given the lyrics their weight.
1. Come Again
4. Outside (Family Values version)
5. It's Been A While
6. For You
8. So Far Away
9. Price To Play
10. Zoe Jane
11. Right Here
13. Everything Changes
16. Comfortably Numb
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