Review Summary: Aaron Lewis has created a possible cure for insomnia more than he has an enjoyable album.
It’s a wonder why Aaron Lewis, the frontman of the alternative metal band Staind, has opted to go the route of country music for his solo career as a singer-songwriter. Being a New England native, it’s not as if Lewis has any cultural ties to the south’s musical roots, but he has displayed a fondness of stripped down acoustic guitar driven music in the past, so a possible explanation could be a simple desire to try his hand at a territory he has not yet dabbled in that shares nothing in common with the metal music that is his most known work. Lewis has also been very outspoken about his “love for this country” so perhaps it’s a matter of his admiration of the proud patriotism in country music’s themes. Whatever the reason for the career choice though, whether it be putting an unexpectedly rustic spin on acoustic music or a need to show his undying love for America, Lewis is not successful at being a country artist in any way.
After an unforgiveably insufferable EP that was 2011‘s Town Line
, Lewis has returned with The Road
, an entire album’s worth of unbearably sluggish country music. The main flaw of The Road
is that the album has a pace so unbelievably lethargic and wearisome, that its speed is comparable to that of frozen molasses. It doesn’t help that every single song is exactly the same. All of these identical songs will start out with Lewis tediously plucking away at chords that make very soft twangs, and then crooning his star-spangled heart out about the same rehashed topics of family values, guns, God, the working class, and driving on the road (which is the most frequent of them all), and this pace never quickens an ounce; even the opening track “75“ whose lyrics detail going 75 mph is anything BUT that speed.
has a never wavering mundane tone, nothing remotely exciting or interesting happens even when it slightly makes an attempt to do so, and this slow crawling music is too vacant of any emotion with substance to evoke anything close to a deep reaction. These are shallow and stale lyrics about experiences that Lewis only seems to understand from a stereotypical standpoint rather than a personal one. His delivery of the lyrics is no better than the bland overcast of his dreary rhythms; the man doesn’t have a fun or enthusiastic bone in his body, so he sounds bored even when he talks about having a good time on “Endless Summer”. Lewis has always naturally had a very deep and saddened pitch, and the low key benefit of that had the potential to make him suited for acoustic country, but because there is absolutely no differentiation, Lewis ends up just sounding no less angsty than he is in his work with Staind, except he’s without tortured lyricism here, making his appeal on The Road
At least Lewis doesn’t try to adopt a fake southern accent on The Road
, and at least he doesn’t try to pass himself off as being from the south when he really isn’t, but that just shows how much both him and this music are lacking the strong authentic vibes possessed by country artists that were actually born and raised in the country. All Lewis can do is only go by the conventional country playbook and try to live up to it without a natural feel for the music. This album will definitely not appeal to Staind fans, and even country purists will turn their noses up at it. It's an incredibly draining listen where it seems as if Lewis himself is about to nod off along with his listeners, making The Road
an all-around grueling experience that’s like watching a mortally wounded snail attempt to cross the finish line. It’s just painfully boring to the point of tears.