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Album Review - Staind: "Dysfunction"
The late 1990's and early 2000's were really a great time for rock music. There was a massive influx of new and innovative acts, ranging from the iconic Korn to the maniacal Slipknot & everything in between. Among these bands rose up a variety of heavy, hard-hitting groups that brought the heavy to a more mainstream audience than ever before. Staind was one of the bands at the front of the pack and their 1999 Flip/Elektra debut record, Dysfunction was their entry into the foray.
From beginning to end, Dysfunction always brings me back to a special place within myself. A dark reminder of what I once was, what I could have been, and what I will always wear on my sleeve. Dysfunction delivers a nine-track rollercoaster ride with a hidden track at 17:10 after the last song “Spleen” concludes. This album is a must have for every person who has ever felt lost, hopeless, abandoned, or just plain old angry & can appreciate some heavy riffs and dark grooves.
The opening track, “Suffocate”, screams for redemption, self-awareness and acceptance of one’s self. It’s about feeling nothing - the consequence of being alone and the lonely pressures of solitude. A slow, baritone riff follows introducing the moody, “Just Go”. Abuse can make a person out to be something they are not. Whether the abuse is physical or mental, it undoubtedly takes its toll on the victim. Unsure and angry, vocalist Aaron Lewis sings to the world about his insecurities stemming from abuse, his lack of understanding and experience to deal with it all & his warning to those who dare to get close.
Track 5 is a heavyweight known as “Mudshovel”. While the name has nothing (or everything) to do with the song (I suggest you look up the meaning yourself to get a quick laugh), this is the song that drove me to mend, to understand that I was not alone, and there were obviously many others who were indeed "STAIND" like me. Maybe it was the lyrical content and the vocal disdain. It could have possibly been the harmonic riffs and heavy power chords of guitarist Mike Mushok. Maybe it was the ever flowing bass line of Johnny “Old-School” April. Or maybe it was the way Jon Wysocki held everything together with his unique drumming style. All I know is that I felt every part of the music. I could relate to every word, and from that moment on, up to today, it helped. It healed open wounds. It educated me, and has been my long time companion for those inevitable tough times.
I strongly suggest everyone check out this album. We've all been down before, and sometimes having a soundtrack and an unexpected companion can really help us to get back up. The album, and the rest of the band's catalog, can be purchased here.