Published on April 10, 2013

Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. You awaken with incredible taste in metal. You can tell if a band will be any good after only 10 seconds. With this magical ability, you could listen to only the best of the best, for the rest of your life.

So, do you?

Hell no.

Listening to 'bad' music is an important part of your musical diet. With that intro, I offer you a little history lesson.

STAIND come from now-embarrassing roots, having been discovered and promoted by none other than Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit fame. So they've been written off with a zillion other nu-metal bands, that "true" metal fans "always hated"[^1]. Hell, I could easily forget about them and pretend they were never a part of my musical upbringing. But I can only pass by the name STAIND in my mp3 collection so many times, without clicking out of morbid curiosity. So yeah, here's a retrospective on their first three albums.[^2]

Staind - Raw (heaviest track on Dysfunction)
STAIND's first album was pretty gritty. The riffs are not spectacular - in fact, I remember practicing guitar in my bedroom, switching to drop-D tuning, and seeing what I could figure out. (The track "A Flat" has hints in the track name.) (Oh, and I figured the shit out of that hidden track "Excess Baggage", since it's only like 4 chords, and half of them are the same as "Sanitarium" by Metallica.) That kinda nu-metal didn't require any spectacular talent, really. The production has a bit of a Korn feel to it, especially with the crunchier chords on tracks like "Raw". Speaking of Korn, this guy's also got some serious daddy issues.

I hear you talk about your family life
I wish I knew just what that means
I guess my mother never loved my dad
And now I wear it on my sleeve...

- "Me"

Dig deeper for themes of addiction, loneliness, girl problems.

Staind - Can't Believe (heaviest track on Break the Cycle)

STAIND's stars rose pretty quickly after that. In 2001, "Break The Cycle" came out, with the smash fucking hits "It's Been Awhile", and the acoustic number "Outside" ft. Fred Durst. Yeah, that's right. Fred Durst comes on and sings and says, "these guys are the real mothafuckin' deal, y'all." This song was all over the radio. Super-embarrassing in retrospect. I guess there was a "hard dudes being sensitive" thing going on at the time. (It was a funny time; See also, Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 winning over the hearts of young women everywhere with a song about domestic violence.) The line "Can I blame this on my father?" became something of a meme at the time, with remixes on of just that line, etc. etc.

Anyway, this album could've used a little more incubation IMO. Ex. the riffs on "Open Your Eyes" are stupid, the chorus on "Pressure" is square as fuck, lots of the lyrics are inane.

A boy just thirteen on the corner for sale
Swallows his pride for another hit
Overpopulation there's no room in jail
But most of you don't give a shit

Ugh! But besides that, the production on this album is a huge improvement, and the music has a lot more depth to it. Yeah, this is obviously what happens when a label throws a lot of money behind you. Also might've required a bit of "selling out" on the part of the band...but this is debatable, since Aaron Lewis probably fits in more with the "modern rock" crowd (being a sensitive guy and all) than with the nu-metal crowd.

Staind - How About You (lamest track on 14 Shades of Grey)

STAIND's third album was called 14 Shades of Grey. Pretty funny in retrospect, since there's, like, almost 4x as many shades of grey these days. They continued in the direction of "modern rock", inane lyrics, etc...ugh. "Zoe Jane" is a song for his daughter. "How About You" is another "why aren't you saving the planet right now?", "probably about Jesus" jam. I don't want to write about them anymore.

Oh and they put out THREE MORE ALBUMS AFTER THAT. Would I consider hate-listening to all of them? I would, but honestly I'd prefer Gold Cobra.

[^1]: doubtful. [^2]: I realized after writing this, that I left off their self-released debut album, 'Tormented' from 1996. It's for die-hards only, I'd say. It's notable for having pretty stupid cover art, which later led Fred Durst to believe that they were Satan-worshippers, almost costing them their career! Glad that got straightened out. The album also has an early version of Mudshovel (spelled "MudShuvel"), and has this nihilist ballad I loved when I was younger called ["Four Walls"]( (Yep, it's on my compy, not sure how I acquired it though!)