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14 Shades of Grey

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★★★★☆
(24 Reviews)

Staind Biography - Staind Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

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Picking up momentum from their last two smash albums, comes their highly anticipated 2003 album 14 Shades Of Grey, featuring fourteen shards of sonic fury and introspective intensity, tempered by songwriting well beyond anything the band has achieved before. Enhanced CD lets you link to the artist’s web site. Flip Records. The Beatles had the White Album, Metallica, a black album, and now Staind has its gray album. While lumped in with the often indistinguishable nu metal crowd, Staind stands out, thanks in part to memorable ballads, such as the pained and beautiful ”It’s Been A While” and ”Epiphany” from the quartet’s 2001 breakthrough Break the Cycle. Their latest represents a natural progression; realizing the commercial potential of the poignant but heavy rock ballad, they’ve penned a slew of them. The light and cheery ”How About You” is radio-ready, while the layered, string-backed ”So Far Away,” and honest and grateful musing on success, is another get-out-the lighters showcase for singer Aaron Lewis. Lewis’s beautiful ode for his baby, ”Zoe Jane,” a tribute to late Alice in Chains vocalist Layne Staley (”Layne,” which intentionally and effectively cops Alice’s signature sound), and the grandiose thank-you note ”Intro” are more strong, overtly introspective entries in Lewis’ sometimes mushy, sometimes touching CD diary. –Katherine Turman

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  • As a lot of their nu-metal counterparts were fading away in 2003 (see Limp Bizkit), Staind stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with the follow up to their extremely popular CD “Break the Cycle.” “14 Shades of Grey” proved to be another commercial success for the quartet who hail from Massachusetts.

    After the popularity of the successful power ballads, “Outside,” “It’s Been Awhile,” and “Epiphany” from their previous release, Staind’s first single off their 2003 album was a more heavier song entitled, “Price to Play.” That garnered success on the rock charts, but failed to make an impact on top 40 radio, like “It’s Been Awhile” and “Outside” did.

    But one listen through the album, and you knew their were a few power ballads sitting their, just waiting to be introduced to the maintstream. Track 3, “So Far Away” was one of them. Following in the footsteps of “It’s Been Awhile,” the second single off this CD reached #1 on the rock and top 40 charts and kept Staind in the spotlight. The third single, “How About You” was very successful for the band as well.

    With the addition of a new daughter (and I would assume the success of “Break the Cycle”), “14 Shades of Grey” has a more happier tone to it than the darker tones of the previous albums. “Zoe Jane” is a song written by Lewis to his daughter and “Intro” is a thank you message to all the people close to him. “Blow Away” is another excellent track that ranks toward the top of my all-time favorite Staind songs.

    With label support and another world tour following the release of this CD, Staind proved to be a mainstay in the rock scene for at least a few more years–and made this fan look forward to another new Staind album in 2005.

    Posted on February 8, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Staind has yet to let me down. This time they took a much softer approach to their music. Many people say it is too soft, but i think it is almost as good as Break the Cycle, but not quite. Here are some rankings for each of their songs.1. Price to Play(5/5)- I heard this song on the radio and knew I had to pick up this CD2. How About You(4/5)- This is a slower song that has a good beat and a good rythym so you can really get into this song3.So Far Away(4/5)- This song was released and I was happy. It is a very good song.4.Yesterday(4.5/5)- First song with cussing, but that makes it good.5. Fray(4/5)- A all around good song6. Sweet Zoe Jane(5/5)- First true slow song on the CD. It is a very good song that can be put on repeat and never get old7. Fill Me UP(4/5)- a good song with good opening music.8. Layne(3/5)- One of my least favorites on the CDThis is the best part of the CD. #9-149. Falling Down(5/5)- MY FAVORITE SONG ON THE CD…PERIOD10. Reality(5/5)- This song is down right kick-@$$. The chourus is hard to imagine the lung capacity of Aaron Lewis. Try to sing it like he does.11. Tonight(5/5)- Great song12. Could It Be(5/5)- Great song about being youself. Sounds sappy but once you hear it you willchange your mind.13. Blow Away(4/5)-Good song14. Intro(5/5)- In this song Aaron thanks his family for putting up with him. He also critisizes people for underestimated his band. Does this title hint the next CD?

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Personally I think this album is a major success and barely surpasses break the cycle. So what if it’s not as hard, or the tunes aren’t as catchy as 2 certain main btc singles which is probably all you’ve heard… That’s not what matters in this case. Staind have done the hardcore thing. It’s well known that as bands evolve they tend to explore the more melodic and softer side of music, and this is a prime example. It’s not that they get worse, they simply change. If you can’t hack that, or can’t keep up with it, well you’ve only failed yourself in that you can’t learn to like something that others have no problem with. As a major Staind fan, I feel for what you’re missing out on.Moving along, I think this album is an awsome step in Aaron’s progress as an emotional singer… we all knew he sung from the heart, what torment started, and what btc continued in an even better form, yet this album still manages to build up the emotional connection between the lyricist and the listener. The lyrics are clearer and deeper, not as cryptic or as murky (can’t believe, suffer) and I truly think they’re easier to reach for us fans.And for that person who said that this album is soft … well, you liked btc, didn’t you? I bet you loved epiphany and outside, hell, even it’s been a while was based on soft undertone melodies. I think it’s wrong to dismiss the new soft songs so quickly simply because they expanded on a winnning formula… but oh well, those who don’t like it won’t like it, there will always be people like that.Also it’s obvious that the band worked incredibly hard on this release, they had so much to live up to… As a true fan of staind I respect their hard work and will stand by them, even when they do release a bad album.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Wow! This cd is definitely the best Staind album out yet. I waited a while to get this album because I wasn’t sure I would like it very much. A lot of people complained that it was too soft and boring. I took my chances anyway because I liked their other two albums(Dysfunction, Break the Cycle) a lot. Every song on this cd is simply remarkable and I just can’t get enough of it. The band really does a good job of showing how they feel and that is a good way to get to know a band. Some of my favorite songs on this cd are “Price To Play”, “So Far Away”, and “Fray”. I can’t believe that they could put such a good album together. It will always be one of my favorite rock cd’s I’ll ever own. Go buy it.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Since the release of their sophomore effort (major-label debut) Dysfunction, Staind has shown the trend of losing heaviness in favor of more melody. This trend continued on Break the Cycle. Not surprisingly, 14 Shades of Grey is once again the most melodic, least heavy and newest Staind record to date.

    Not to say that’s a bad thing, in and of itself. The melodies, as always, are for the most part catchy and well-written. Voice-wise, Aaron Lewis is in top form on this record, and that alone makes it worth purchasing.

    Perhaps the only exception is the track “Layne,” obviously a tribute to the late Alice in Chains vocalist Layne Staley. Lewis tries to imitate the vocal harmonies of the defunct group, but his voice does not sound as haunting as Staley’s when overdubbed on itself in the same fashion.

    It is a well-done tribute in terms of evoking the memory of the AIC singer, but it does not fit with the rest of the CD. The rest of the CD is pretty homogenous, though, so perhaps it’s good just for variety’s sake.

    The biggest negative aspect to the record is the lack of variety in song topics. Thankfully, the themes are not quite as oppressive as on previous releases-some tracks are actually about being OK psychologically-but the vast majority of the record is still dedicated to being depressed. Hopefully, on future releases, song topics will further diversify.

    Another problem with 14 Shades of Grey is that Mike Mushok’s guitar style is getting a bit clich├ęd: arpeggios for the soft, clean verses and sustained, distorted power/suspended chords for the louder but melodic choruses. Here and there, he still throws in a riff or an interesting two-guitar part, and his style serves as a good backdrop to the vocals, but perhaps more riffs or a solo here and there would be less predictable.

    Essentially, Staind are beginning to settle into a routine on this record. It is a bit less heavy than Break the Cycle, but the themes and guitar style are basically unchanged. It is catchy and worth purchasing, but hopefully they will evolve in a new direction in the near future.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now