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Staind
Greatest Hits 1996-2006
Flip/Atlantic Records
www.staind.com


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 strokes.

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.

-Susan Frances

Track Listing:
1. Come Again
2. Mudshovel
3. Home
4. Outside (Family Values version)
5. It's Been A While
6. For You
7. Epiphany
8. So Far Away
9. Price To Play
10. Zoe Jane
11. Right Here
12. Falling
13. Everything Changes
14. Nutshell
15. Sober
16. Comfortably Numb


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