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The Illusion Of Progress

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  • Well, that’s probably not the best way to title a review.

    Staind changes musical direction (again!), going for what I call “Medium Heavy Melody”. Gone are the pop-like (hyperbole here, folks) beats of their prior two albums, replaced with a Breaking Benjamin sound alike contest between Aaron Lewis and his band. In the end, I’d say Aaron won, as he’s competently mirroring BB’s vocal tenor; i.e., fake crescendo.

    I’m afraid, my friends, that the Staind that gave us “Dysfunction” and “Break the Cycle” are dead and gone; instead, we’ve got the current incarnation, writing music for teens to hold each other and feel sorry for themselves too. I guess young folks don’t like LOUD these days.

    Don’t get me wrong, the album isn’t bad. I’ve listened to it a few times and sort of enjoy most of it. “This Is It” is a great way to start the album, subdued but not sappy, and original enough to have given me hope that the rest of the album was going somewhere (I bought “The Illusion of Progress” on that one song’s merit, in fact). Well, turns out that the album title was much more literal than I’d anticipated. The rest of the tracks meander from one pleasant Heavy Medium Melody to the next, rarely taking a breath to change pace or reevaluate direction.

    So should you buy it? Mmmmm, depends on what you like. If you only liked Staind’s first two albums and are waiting for them to return to form, then I’d say definitely not; you’ll just get mad at yourself for believing that’s even feasible after 8 years. On the other hand, if you prefer their later work, then I’d say probably. It might even be an bonus that two of the songs on “Illusion” have the word `rain’ in their title!

    Well structured overall, Staind delivers a neat, clean product of likable (though boring and mundane) radio-friendly rock songs. Take your chances; at the very least it won’t make you gag.

    Posted on December 28, 2009