Shinedown
Attention Attention


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
May 5th, 2018 | 180 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: ...a second chance.

When Shinedown released Threat to Survival in 2015, it felt like the nail in the coffin. In what amounted to a borderline comical mess of assorted pop and southern influences, none of which were particularly believable or inspired, the slow decline that Amaryllis had set into motion finally appeared to come to a head. It seemed like an appropriate time to mourn Shinedown, placing them in the rearview mirror while effectively resigning them to pleasant mid-2000’s nostalgia. Thankfully, things weren’t actually as bleak as they appeared back then. After two underwhelming albums and a decade of dwindling output, Shinedown have returned to pin at least one more stalwart album to their resume. Attention Attention serves as both the rightful heir and long-awaited successor to The Sound of Madness, as well as a reinstatement of the band as one of the premier acts in mainstream rock. It’s a breath of fresh air…welcome back, boys.

One of the most remarkable things about Shinedown’s sixth studio album is that, after a total lack of meaningful direction, they manage to get practically everything right here. Shifting focus back to their rock roots, Shinedown ramps up the intensity and volume in every way. Lead vocalist Brent Smith explodes with a level of passion and exuberance that was nowhere to be found on the last couple of records, while Zach Myers follows his lead by contributing some of his beefiest riffs to date and Barry Kerch ties it all together with his momentous and ever-steady percussive work. Attention still isn’t a fountain of invention, as it draws from the same basic premises that Shinedown has always relied upon, but the formula has never been their issue. When this group executes with a chip on their shoulder and a fiery demeanor, they’ve always been leaps and bounds ahead of their fellow genre-dwellers. With this album, that recognizable brand of emotionally-inspired rock has returned with a vengeance, and the band resultantly feels alive again.

While Attention’s highlights are nothing out of left field, they take Shinedown’s primary assets – Brent Smith’s incredible vocal range and passionate delivery – and place them in a setting that makes sense again. There were moments on Amaryllis – and certainly throughout Threat to Survival – that Smith’s talents were underutilized, misplaced, and flat-out squandered. There’s no reason that his voice ever should have been situated between awkward, Irish-sounding pop grooves (‘I’m Not Alright’) or cringe-worthy country notes (‘Black Cadillac’....unforgivable). Smith has always felt like a spiritual successor to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant, demonstrating heavy, southern undertones while still possessing the range to belt out the highest notes with perfect clarity; all one needs to do is contrast the brooding, lower register of ‘45’ with the soaring, melodic heights of ‘Second Chance’ to get the full picture. Anyway, with Attention Attention placing the impetus behind Shinedown’s aggressive rock tendencies, Brent Smith is back in his element in a way that hasn’t happened since, well, The Sound of Madness. The albums will almost certainly continue to draw comparisons, because they both excel at balancing the group’s heavy, southern-rock roots with their infectious pop-sensibilities. For a band that was on the verge of flatlining three years ago, earning comparisons to your magnum opus isn’t such a bad spot to be in, even if Attention Attention falls just short of those lofty standards.

Even if it’s not quite as good as Shinedown’s very best material dating back to their heyday, Attention can still claim at least one superlative in relation to the band’s discography. For starters, it may very well be their heaviest album, moving along at a consistent breakneck pace that relents only sparingly. From the raucous drums and crashing riffs that launch ‘Devil’ through the boisterous pace-changes and electric precision of ‘Black Soul’, it’s a tone that’s set early and often, revisited in the album’s midsection with undeniable head-bangers in ‘Pyro’ and ‘Evolve’, and again with the frantically uplifting closer ‘Brilliant’ – a track that continues the band’s tradition of saving one of its strongest songs for last. When Shinedown does slow down the pace, it’s rarely in the form of a dreadful ballad – but rather a groove-laced, cynical crooner – like the twisting, turning shouts of ‘Kill Your Conscience.’ The closest they come to a standard ballad is ‘Special’, but it’s also the closest quality-wise that they’ve come to replicating ‘Call Me’, possessing some of the album’s best lyrics (“We all live to lie, we all fall apart, we all go to war / There are no happy endings…you're not a god or a poet, you're not special”) , some of its most emotive strings, and easily its most memorable melodic verses. It’s a slow song that is graced with Brent Smith’s angelically soft delivery, the kind that has made so many prior Shinedown ballads enormously successful. Through its abundant loud moments and its quieter, hidden gems, Attention Attention is a record that reaches new heights of its own – despite the fact that the band will almost certainly never escape their own shadow.

The unanticipated quality of this record could be a rebirth or a parting gift, but either way it feels like something that should be valued by fans who have been waiting since the waning months of 2008 for such a moment. It’s an apology for the middling ballads and lackluster inspiration that plagued their last two albums, and it’s one that’s good enough to recoup at least a portion of the fan base that may have wandered to greener pastures. It’s not going to turn heads of listeners who have always shrugged indifferently, even during the group’s prime, but this is essentially the best possible outcome that anyone could have expected after witnessing the debacle that was Threat to Survival. A band once left for dead, they’ve clawed their way to the surface by going back to the basics and invigorating that sound. Thus, Shinedown remains – at least for now- and they’ve redeemed their reputation in the process.




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user ratings (107)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
DropTune (1.5)
Fundamentally broken....

Pagepage250 (3.5)
A natural evolution. And maybe a step back as well....



Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
May 4th 2018


28373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Boom.

Digging: Julia Holter - Aviary

Toondude10
May 4th 2018


13376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

wow a 4? Kinda surprised at that

Digging: Time, The Valuator - How Fleeting, How Fragile

Toondude10
May 4th 2018


13376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

good review btw



'The Human Radio' is a fucking banger

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 4th 2018


28373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There's a lot of bangers but 'special' is truly something else; one of the best ballads they've done

Toondude10
May 4th 2018


13376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

the only songs I couldn't really get into are the t/t and Get Up



I didn't like Kill Your Conscience at first either but the drumming on that song really saves it. Barry really nails it on here along with Brent.

Ashtiel
May 4th 2018


200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

eric bass produced the album, funny enough.

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2018


18008 Comments


uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Digging: Ichiko Aoba - QP

SteakByrnes
May 4th 2018


13507 Comments


a 4 huh

Digging: Joji - Ballads 1

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 4th 2018


28373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I guess people forgot that my first review on this site was Shinedown. Always been a fan.

Spec
May 4th 2018


35526 Comments


The Sound Of Madness was awesome. Will I dig this?

BREAKDOWNS
May 4th 2018


418 Comments


lmao

Toondude10
May 4th 2018


13376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"The Sound Of Madness was awesome. Will I dig this?"



I mean this has more relation to Amaryllis and Sound of Madness but there might be a few songs you'd enjoy.

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 4th 2018


28373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's somewhere between Amaryllis and Sound of Madness. Don't know if that helps.

DropTune
May 4th 2018


1242 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I can't really say there's anything special here. When you look at the record, it comes off as a bad representation of pop rock. There's a lot of different styles and textures being thrown around. I don't know, I guess it's not for me. If anything I think a 3 is about as high as it deserves. A 4 is really pushing it.

DropTune
May 4th 2018


1242 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

It's not even striking close to home. The theme of positivity is felt. They get that right I guess. The problem lies in delivery. The album is delivered horribly. Shinedown doesn't say anything new, do anything new, or even try to. They're just restating the same standpoint of being broken by fame. They revisited their roots but at what cost? What did they gain from this album? I don't understand the intrigue here.

Spec
May 4th 2018


35526 Comments


I don’t think that BREAKDOWNS troll account would have even been funny in 2009.

DropTune
May 4th 2018


1242 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

The whole album is laughable to me. The lyrics are awful. It's so hard to take this album seriously. You guys have every right to enjoy it, but I'm just struggling to find why. I really don't understand any appeal or fascination with this one -- and I like Shinedown.

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 4th 2018


28373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their lyrics have never been great. I don't think very many people listen to them to gain perspective or something.

Toondude10
May 4th 2018


13376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

honestly if you listen to this band for the lyrics...wtf is wrong with you



I don't consider this a pop rock album at all. Sure there are a couple of poppy moments, but that doesn't make it straight up pop rock.

William21
May 4th 2018


308 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I agree the lyrics aren't good, but that doesn't necessarily affect my rating of an album.



And really, listening to almost anything in this genre for the lyrics is a fool's errand.



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