From the Vault...


"14 Shades Of Grey"

© Flip/Elektra Records

track listing
  • Price To Play
  • How About You
  • So Far Away
  • Yesterday
  • Fray
  • Zoe Jane
  • Fill Me Up
  • Layne
  • Falling Down
  • Reality
  • Tonight
  • Could It Be
  • Blow Away
  • Intro

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    "14 Shades Of Grey"

    Alternative Rock band Staind makes their debut, with one of their #1 albums, 2003's 14 Shades Of Grey. Today's Alternative Rock has its hits and misses. This would be Staind's fourth album, as they went into a different direction. And I'll have to admit, the direction they lead on this album is definitely a hit. Not as many songs are in powerful rock force, and I have to say, some of these types of songs do get loud, and annoying. But what Staind did, they did a mix, and although the songs do have some "power," tney are done quite well.

    Take the opening track, "Price To Play" -- a great and powerful song. It was the album's first single. "So Far Away" was the second single. It has a more softer sound, more of a ballad type. One of the best tracks. "Yesterday" is another good rock tune.

    As mentioned, most Alternative Rock sounds have a powerful sound, and yet, they could be distracting. Not the case with these songs, as I categorize them as "not as rocking, but still, good tracks" -- "Fray." The same goes for the album's fourth single, "Zoe Jane." This track was written for Aaron Lewis' newborn daughter. (He now has three daughters.) It has some cool guitar sounds, comparing to Queensyrche's "Empire." "Fill Me Up" starts with a powerful rock intro, but yet, it goes to a softer sound. Good move!

    "Layne" is a dedicated tribute to Alice in Chains' lead singer, Layne staley, as he passed away in 2002, of a drug overdose. (A lot of the tracks here do have a sound like Alice in Chains.) "Falling Down" and "Tonight" are the "ok" songs. They're not as good or great as most of the other tracks.

    Staind's previous album, Break The Cycle produced a great hit, "It's Been Awhile," as this particular song compares to "Reality." "Could It Be" is another good rock tune. The last two tracks, "Blow Away" and "Intro" are mellow in sound, yet they both build into the hard rock of Alternative. Very impressive.

    The Alterative Rock sound is definitely here on 14 Shades Of Grey. It blends both mellow and hard Alternative Rock. It's the mellow-type tunes that stand out. Bands such as Alice in Chains, Creed, and Nirvana are good comparisons.

    The band's direction on this album was not to have a common harder rock sound as their previous albums. Aaron Lewis: "It's kind of a logical progression where we're getting older now. Guitarist Mike Mushok is married, and I'm married now with a kid and we're that much deeper into figuring out as far as lyrically goes and figuring out our trades as far as writing songs go." Guitarist Mike Mushok on the title of the album: "I think it's kind of referring to how in life there's black and white and then there's this grey area. I think the older you get you start to realize that more things are grey and not so much black and white."

    Mike Mushok said that one best. It's how life goes when you get older. It was a good, and lighter direction to turn to.

    Since their release of Break The Cycle, their next two albums reached #1 on the Billboard Albums Chart, achieving the their total of #1 albums to 3: Break The Cycle (2001), 14 Shades Of Grey (2003), and Chapter V (2005). (We look forward in reviewing the other two albums when they are chosen.) A greatest hits album was released in 2006. Two other studio albums have been released afterwards -- The Illusion of Progress (2008), and Staind (2011). Lead singer Aaron Lewis has recorded one EP and one solo album: The EP Town Line was a Country EP, and it hit #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. The Road was released in 2011. A live album was released in 2012. In that same year, the band took a hiatus, saying the band has not broken up. Guitarist Mike Mushok auditioned and became guitartst for Jason Newsted of Metallica's band, Newsted. In 2014, Staind performed at a concert at the Welcome to Rockville Fesival. They also played at two other festivals in the year, the Carolina Rebellion, and Rock on the Range, in May, 2014. No mention of a new studio album in the works, but the band does continue touring.

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    Previous Review: #1417
    Roger Whittaker--The Last Farewell And Other Hits
    Next Review: #1419
    Hawkwind--Electric Teepee