Seasoned vets seek new territory
The world of rock music has been begging for brave new territory for a while now. As wonderful and powerful as the music is, there hasn’t been a lot of variety in the scene. But that’s begun to change. Foo Fighters tentatively poked holes in the outer walls with their most recent album. But no band has dared to completely shatter the boundaries of the genre quite like Shinedown has done.
Shinedown is one of the more overlooked and underrated rock bands today. They’ve sold over ten million records and have scored eleven #1 singles on the Billboard Rock charts. Their big breakthrough mainstream hit came ten years ago with “Second Chance,” and since then they’ve continued to churn out massive guitar-driven anthems, led by Brent Smith’s powerful vocals. Their newest record, Attention Attention, blows away all expectations.
This doesn’t mean that Shinedown has abandoned their rock roots; the big guitars and raw energy are still very much there. But there’s also a fantastic amount of diversity in the group’s songwriting that didn’t exist before. Moreover, Attention Attention is largely a concept album, in which the protagonist experiences every different high and low of human emotion.
After a brief intro consisting entirely of footsteps and a door opening, the lead single, “Devil,” immediately kicks the album into second gear, with plenty of authoritative palm muting over a foot-stomping chorus. “Black Soul” is the next song, and introduces electro-pop influences to the party before launching into the hardest rocking hook on the album. The rest of the record is refreshingly unpredictable, especially when an Imagine Dragons-esque dubstep groove (“Kill Your Conscience”) goes back-to-back with an old-school Shinedown banger (“Pyro”). And for those looking for something a little softer, the album also has some killer piano ballads on the back end, the track “Special” comes to mind.
The best part about Attention Attention is that despite the band’s gleeful bending of genres, they manage to keep every song authentic to its core, which is not an easy thing to do. No one has ever believed Shinedown to be a one-trick pony, but the few who did won’t be able to say that now.