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Break the Cycle

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★★★★☆
(612 Reviews)

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  • I’ve always considered myself to be a fairweather Staind fan. The singles from “Dysfunction” were great, but sometimes the rest of it was a bit hard on the ears for me. Not so with their second album, “Break The Cycle.” It’s just as hard, but this time, it just seems to flow more melodically. On to the music:1. “Open Your Eyes:” Brilliant opener, heavy, yet Lewis’ voice keeps it melodic…One of the best on the album.2. “Pressure:” Loud, soulful rocker about being under pressure…3. “Fade:” Using the alternating soft verse/hard chorus that is becoming Staind’s signature, “Fade” describes, in one word, abandonment…4. “It’s Been Awhile:” To me, this song, this song obviously represents getting over someone. The first single, it uses the same formula as “Fade,” and it works very well…Also one of the best on the album.5. “Change:” Same formula again as “Fade” and “It’s Been Awhile.” A song of penance, remorse, and a desire for change, I consider this to be one of the weaker songs on the album, the first from the beginning that I dislike…6. “Can’t Believe:” This is the first song on “Break The Cycle” that reminds me of the old Staind. It’s got the requisite screaming, massive distortion, and aggressive, driving bass line.7. “Epiphany:” The first time I heard this song, I just sat in my chair, dazed. After a few minutes, I restarted the song, and listened to it over and over until I knew the words by heart. Not in a long time have I heard a song this powerful, this emotional, and this evocative. The first Staind song that is relatively soft the whole way through, “Epiphany” is also their best song…Easily the best track on the album.8. “Suffer:” Another throwback to old Staind. Showcases another new Staind mechanic: Apparently, after “Dysfunction,” someone realized that Aaron Lewis can sing incredibly well, and so on “Break The Cycle,” Lewis’ voice is much more audible over the crashing guitars. This song is odd, in that the chorus is relatively upbeat…for Staind, at least…9. “Warm Safe Place:” Another track, about finding refuge, follows the afore-mentioned Staind formula. Not too many Staind songs have audible backing vocals, but this one does on the chorus.10. “For You:” This song reminds me of “Me” from “Dysfunction,” at least in content…11. “Outside:” The long-awaited studio version, sans Fred Durst, of the live wonder. This song arguably created the formula that I described for “Fade.” An incredible song of the pain of a relationship that seems to have ended before it began, “Outside” seems to spike in the hope department in the last verse, but the final chorus lets us know what’s really going on. This song has come a long way since the live version, and the changes have been nothing short of spectacular. It would have been pretty easy to screw this song up, but thankfully, Staind pulled it off. Another of the best songs on the album…12. “Waste:” This Staind-formulaic song features very low key verse music; Aaron Lewis’ voice is completely in front of everything else. He sings double on the chorus, which makes for an interesting sound. Aaron 1 sings the almost monotone version, while Aaron 2 sings a very sharp and high version of the chorus…13. “Take It:” The album’s official closer, “Take It” is formulaic Staind at it’s most aggressive and obnoxious…14. Bonus track: The bonus track is really long, and contains lots of…sound. About 7 ½ minutes into it, someone begins reciting what I think is a passage from the Bible, though I might be wrong. About 13 minutes in, static begins. At 15 minutes, much of the…sound ends. The entire track ends at almost 20 minutes.Note: When I wrote in different song descriptions that a particular track was “formulaic,” I wasn’t demeaning the song. I’ve just noticed that Staind has a particular approach when it comes to its new music, the soft verse/loud chorus, and I like it.So, there it is. All in all, a brilliant album. Standouts: “Open Your Eyes,” “It’s Been Awhile,” “Epiphany,” “Warm Safe Place,” and “Outside.” Definitely worth a purchase.

    Posted on March 11, 2010