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CD Reviews: Review of Chapter V by Staind
Medsker Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com Staind: Chapter V (Flip/Atlantic 2005)

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Let’s play “Fun With Lyrics,” shall we?

“And if you chose to walk away, I’d still be right here waiting.”

“Wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be right here waiting for you.”

One of those lines is from “hard rocking” Massachusetts quartet Staind. The other one is from wuss pop wunderkind Richard Marx. This begs the question: does Staind actually rock? They may be pounding out bone crushing guitar riffs, but the lyrics are exercises in self-pity, oozing with stories of loathing, co-dependency, and insecurity. Are they truly sensitive, brutally honest rockers, or are they Richard Marxes in disguise? And does the world really need a hard rock Richard Marx?

To its credit, Chapter V, Staind’s new album, isn’t terrible. “Right Here,” the song quoted above (it was the first lyric, in case you weren’t able to tell which one was which), has a pretty melody pinned underneath its thunderous wall of sound. Likewise, leadoff track “Run Away” has a nifty guitar riff that pops up just before yet another thunderous wall of sound. There are some ideas in here, though there’s almost no range whatsoever to them; the band rarely changes gears, and by the time you get to “King of All Excuses,” you’re positive the disc ended with the previous song and has started from the beginning again.

And then there’s the matter of the lyrics, those artificially heavy, dopey ass lyrics. Here’s the 12-step wisdom they depart in “Falling”: “Falling is easy, it’s getting back up that becomes the problem / If you don’t believe you can find a way out, you become the problem.” If Dr. Phil ever hosted a late night show, Staind would be the perfect house band. The worst part is that singer Aaron Lewis, still doing that Vedder/Stapp thing way past its prime, doesn’t seem to be taking any of his own advice. Three years ago, Staind made an album called Break the Cycle, which was supposed to be about him getting his life in order. He’s seemingly done that, with a wife and a couple kids. And yet, here he is, still wailing about how lonely, confused and unloved he is. You’re not fooling anyone, you know.

Chapter V is chock full o’ punishing drum riffs and sub-Metallica guitar licks, but it ain’t rock. These are ballads, each and every one of them. Sad, self-pitying, ‘hey, cheer up, bucko’ ballads. Ten years from now, people will look at albums like Chapter V (and quite possibly Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory), associate them with a difficult period in their lives that these songs helped them through, and never listen to them again. Then, and only then, will the cycle truly be broken.

~David Medsker 





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