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29 of 31 found the following review helpful:
Modern Classic Jun 07, 2004
By A. Estes
"Break The Cycle" is basically Staind at their pinnacle. The album is flawless and each track is a hit. Aaron Lewis' introspective lyrics combined with Mike Mushok's wall-of-sound guitars build what was easily the best hard-rock album to come out 2001. The band explored more acoustic elements than before and the song-writing was put up front a bit more. Obviously, at the time, many fans brushed Staind off as sell-outs, which, in hindsight, I think everyone is realizing just how ridiculous that is -- especially when you consider the two biggest hits here ("It's Been A While" and "Outside") were kicking around in Lewis' head before Staind got signed. Sure, this album isn't half as aggressive or depressing as it's predecessor, 1999's "Dysfunction" (or their indie debut "Tormented"), but it is an overall professional and potent album, that is consistantly solid the whole way through. Acoustic (or partially) ballads (that have now become a staple of the band) make up about a third of this album. "It's Been A while" is already a modern rock classic, along with a studio version of "Outside" (original live version from the "Family Values 1999" disc) and "Epiphany," a touching song, dedicated to the fans. "Waste" is another fan dedicated song, but this one is more aggressive and is directed towards an individual fan who committed suicide. After being approached by the kid's Mother, Aaron Lewis penned this song. By closely listening to the song, a positive message is revealed, and marks one of the most mature moments of Staind's career. "Open Your Eyes" is a song about various global problems (i.e. pollution, homelessness, drugs...) while straight-out rockers like "Pressure" and "For You" tend to dwell on more familiar subjects. Some people may label this album or the band as "whiners," and it is true, there is quite a bit of self-pity in Staind's music, but the material is handled well and Aaron Lewis writes mature lyrics, that seem to be somewhat more constructive than that of his peers. Overall, everytime I listen to this album, I walk away feeling good, rather than beat down by the world. Which is exactly what music like this should do. Aside from this album, having seen Staind live, I can honestly say they have my full respect. I saw them on one of the coldest nights of this past winter. We had to wait outside for the doors to open (sold out, mind you) in the freezing cold of negative 25 degrees (with some wind to boot). It was pretty cold inside the venue too. But once Staind hit the stage, things actually seemed to warm up. It may sound corny, but their live show (and their music in general) sucks you in. For the hour or more they played, they put all their energy into it made the audience share the experience. Staind are a truly gifted band, and this is their best recording so far. I recommend it to anyone who loves music.
19 of 20 found the following review helpful:
Come off of it... Jan 06, 2002
......1. Open Your Eyes-Love the instrumental, the verses have a sick way of getting into my head and staying there. The chorus is so-so, but the song is definitely one of the better songs.
2. Pressure-great song, verses and chorus are melodic and go together nicely. A good song to use to introduce someone to Staind.
3. Fade-One of my favorites. The chorus is incredible and I simply can't get enough. The song never gets old.
4. It's Been Awhile-Eh...i loved this song to death, but it got overplayed. Not the song's fault, however.
5. Change-At first I liked it, but now it just seems mediocre compared to the rest of the album. The verses are still good though!
6. Can't Believe-I didn't like this song, but you must hear the MTV Unplugged version of this song--damn incredible..
7. Epiphany-Everyone's favorite...=)
8. Suffer - The verse's lyrics are kind of weak, not because I can't relate, but because one or two lines don't flow real nice..chorus is very catchy and melodic, and surprisingly optimistic
9. Warm, Safe Place - I love the bass line and the guitar melody but the song itself is weak.
10. For You-Ahhh, another incredible song. The whole song is well-rounded, very enjoyable if you hate your damn parents sometimes!
11. Outside-Definitely much better than the live version. Still as every bit captivating as it was.
12. Waste-Ah damn, now this is intense. About a fan's suicide...the verses, drums, and guitar melody are captivating, but the chorus is kind of weak. Wait till you get the parts after the second chorus...i almost fell over when i first heard it
13. Take it-Good song, but not much to really say about it...I do like how it ends though !
All in all, its an incredible CD, but the number one thing to remember about it is to listen to it over again even if you don't like it. I hated it at first, but i listened to it again two weeks later and I haven't stopped listening to this incredible album.
If you're one of those people who hate albums just because you can't relate to their lyrics, then this album isn't for you. But its people like you who destroy great bands. If you enjoy an album because of what really matters, the MUSIC, then you'll love this album.
12 of 12 found the following review helpful:
Very Well-Made! Jul 09, 2001
I don't think I've ever bought a cd as good as "Break the Cycle". Aaron Lewis has such a good voice and such a good scream ("Change", "Can't Believe") All the songs sound different and are well written by Lewis. Songs like "Epiphany", "It's Been Awhile", and "Safe Place" remind me so much of my girlfriend, Brittany, and they are just a pleasure to listen to. Though I have to admit this album by Staind isn't as hard and heavy as their other 2 cds, songs such as "Suffer", "Pressure", "Can't Believe" and "Change" definently makes you want to thrash your head back and forth. Very emotionally driven and shows Aaron Lewis sharing his angst about his broken family he had to grow up with. I'm adopted so I can relate to alot of what he sings about like being ignored, never given much attention, shouted at consistently and other sh-- like that. The drummer is excellent, the guitar riffs are awesome and the singing by Aaron Lewis is some of the best I've ever heard (Nickelback, slightly better) Well, if you havn't bought this masterpiece of alt-metal\hard rock, do it ASAP! Peace.
28 of 33 found the following review helpful:
Never Meant to Fade Away... Apr 02, 2004
By Michael Crane
Ever have a CD that you never really fully listened to when you first bought it? You know, sometimes you get that album for some specific songs, play those songs again and again, then forget about the rest of the album later. This has happened to me a few times, being that I have a very short attention span (gotta love the pure wonders of television, folks!). I'll listen to certain songs again and again, then forget about the rest of the album.
This was the case with Staind's album, "Break the Cycle." There were a few songs that I'd listen to again and again, then not pay any attention to the rest of the album. This was not the band's fault at all. Just my own weak attention span. Well, after finding this CD in a pile of others (ones I don't even listen to anymore), I decided to pop it in and give the entire album a good listen. I was completely surprised by the results. It was as if I was hearing the album for the first time--well, in a way, I was.
All of the songs are well balanced with emotions such as sorrow, anger and sadness. The lyrics are very powerful and strong, while the singing and the music is overall excellent. Each song has a feel and look of its own, which is important to create a successful album, as these guys have. While it's not quite as heavy as their past efforts, this album has plenty of anger and rage within. There are songs that are heavy while others are more mellow and somber. You're never facing overkill with a certain song style. While I love the entire album, my favorite songs are "open your eyes," "fade," "it's been awhile," "suffer," "epiphany," "for you," "waste" and "outside." Those are my favorites, but the entire album is a great listen. The band has really grown with this release, and it's very clear from the play list that is delivered on this masterpiece.
If you're looking for something that is evenly heavy and mellow at the same time, you should definitely give Staind's "Break the Cycle" a chance. And if you're like me by already owning it but never gave it a proper listen, be sure to do that as soon as you can. This is a fine and outstanding effort from a very talented band that knows how to deliver power and emotion with each song. -Michael Crane
10 of 10 found the following review helpful:
Incredible sophomore album! Better than "Dysfunction!" May 22, 2001
By Maneesh Rajen Goel
I've always considered myself to be a fairweather Staind fan. The singles from "Dysfunction" were great, but sometimes the rest of it was a bit hard on the ears for me. Not so with their second album, "Break The Cycle." It's just as hard, but this time, it just seems to flow more melodically. On to the music:
1. "Open Your Eyes:" Brilliant opener, heavy, yet Lewis' voice keeps it melodic...One of the best on the album.
2. "Pressure:" Loud, soulful rocker about being under pressure...
3. "Fade:" Using the alternating soft verse/hard chorus that is becoming Staind's signature, "Fade" describes, in one word, abandonment...
4. "It's Been Awhile:" To me, this song, this song obviously represents getting over someone. The first single, it uses the same formula as "Fade," and it works very well...Also one of the best on the album.
5. “Change:” Same formula again as “Fade” and “It’s Been Awhile.” A song of penance, remorse, and a desire for change, I consider this to be one of the weaker songs on the album, the first from the beginning that I dislike...
6. “Can’t Believe:” This is the first song on “Break The Cycle” that reminds me of the old Staind. It’s got the requisite screaming, massive distortion, and aggressive, driving bass line.
7. “Epiphany:” The first time I heard this song, I just sat in my chair, dazed. After a few minutes, I restarted the song, and listened to it over and over until I knew the words by heart. Not in a long time have I heard a song this powerful, this emotional, and this evocative. The first Staind song that is relatively soft the whole way through, “Epiphany” is also their best song...Easily the best track on the album.
8. “Suffer:” Another throwback to old Staind. Showcases another new Staind mechanic: Apparently, after “Dysfunction,” someone realized that Aaron Lewis can sing incredibly well, and so on “Break The Cycle,” Lewis’ voice is much more audible over the crashing guitars. This song is odd, in that the chorus is relatively upbeat…for Staind, at least...
9. “Warm Safe Place:” Another track, about finding refuge, follows the afore-mentioned Staind formula. Not too many Staind songs have audible backing vocals, but this one does on the chorus.
10. “For You:” This song reminds me of “Me” from “Dysfunction,” at least in content...
11. “Outside:” The long-awaited studio version, sans Fred Durst, of the live wonder. This song arguably created the formula that I described for “Fade.” An incredible song of the pain of a relationship that seems to have ended before it began, “Outside” seems to spike in the hope department in the last verse, but the final chorus lets us know what’s really going on. This song has come a long way since the live version, and the changes have been nothing short of spectacular. It would have been pretty easy to screw this song up, but thankfully, Staind pulled it off. Another of the best songs on the album...
12. “Waste:” This Staind-formulaic song features very low key verse music; Aaron Lewis’ voice is completely in front of everything else. He sings double on the chorus, which makes for an interesting sound. Aaron 1 sings the almost monotone version, while Aaron 2 sings a very sharp and high version of the chorus...
13. “Take It:” The album’s official closer, “Take It” is formulaic Staind at it’s most aggressive and obnoxious...
14. Bonus track: The bonus track is really long, and contains lots of…sound. About 7 ½ minutes into it, someone begins reciting what I think is a passage from the Bible, though I might be wrong. About 13 minutes in, static begins. At 15 minutes, much of the…sound ends. The entire track ends at almost 20 minutes.
Note: When I wrote in different song descriptions that a particular track was “formulaic,” I wasn’t demeaning the song. I’ve just noticed that Staind has a particular approach when it comes to its new music, the soft verse/loud chorus, and I like it.
So, there it is. All in all, a brilliant album. Standouts: “Open Your Eyes,” “It’s Been Awhile,” “Epiphany,” “Warm Safe Place,” and “Outside.” Definitely worth a purchase.
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