The Illusion Of Progress

Written by: MR on 02/09/2008 20:19:55

I remember myself as the young boy I was in 2001. Chanting along with the classics that "Outside" and "It's Been A While" have become for me, and forever will be. Back then Aaron Lewis was one of my favorite singers in the world. Back then. I've been listening to "The Illusion Of Progress" the whole day, trying to collect the up's and down's of this album. trying to get through to my gut feeling. The thing is that as the years have gone by Staind have increasingly bored me. I don't know if it's a result of big label strategy, which include doing radio-ballads and covering up the more hardcore approach that the band had in "Break the Cycle"(2001) or the incapability of the band to create a different approach to their sound.

For the most part the album is a Staind album, hovering us through mid tempo, colorless, melancholic rock songs. Songs we've heard many times before. There are songs that somehow stand out however. In "Pardon Me" guitarist Mike Mushok does one of the best guitar solo's I've heard for many years (probably cause nobody does it anymore). Mushok is on this record the pleasant surprise, probably doing his best work yet. Furthermore the song "The Corner" moves something in me, probably because I never ever would have imagined a Staind track with a full gospel choir in the back. Not to mention the 70'ies feeling this song awakens in me. Pretty cool I must say.

The third and by far biggest surprise on this album is the song called "Tangled Up In You". "Holy crap what just happened to the Staind album", was my first thought honestly! Staind gone country?! Nonetheless it is exactly what happened. With slides, ebows and everything. I'm sure that every Staind fan will laugh at first but I can recommend giving it a chance. It's actually not that bad and it certainly, for a while, makes the impression of boring rock-songs disappear from the album.

Aaron Lewis still sings about the shit he has to take in his life. He is still mad about things or at least he has a negative perspective on things. We get it now. My point is that, like the sound, his lyrical work could use a fresh approach. God knows I love him for putting words for feelings I also have felt earlier in my life, but come on dude.

"The Illusion Of Progress" is indeed a very fitting title for this album. Not much has happened with Staind and they, for the most part, play it safe. Things are the same as in the two last albums. Rock songs bland, forgettable and average. Aaron Lewis does a great singing job on the slow ballads, but then that's about it. If you like Staind and the way they sound, then buy the album, if you (like me) have become more and more bored with them, don't bother.


Download: The Corner, Tangled Up In You
For The Fans Of: 3 Doors Down, Nickelback, Three Days Grace.

Release Date 19.08.2008

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