Music Incider reviews Shinedown’s Us and Them –
Music Incider Magazine
Shinedown: Brent Smith-vocals. Jasin Todd-Guitar. Brad Stewart-Bass. Barry Kerch-Drums.
Us and Them is for the real people. The ones I see at the Masquerade and the ones that send me email. This CD is for you and all the heavy shit you go through. You want to listen to it. -Shinedown is one of my FAVORITE bands on Atlantic. They put on an EXCELLENT live show, one that is truly unforgettable. Mark my prediction now, within ONE YEAR, Shinedown will be a massive headliner. There are shades of Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Megadeth, and Dio in the music. -Brent Smith is a metal/rock fusion vocalist that will remind you a little of Kurt Cobain and a lot of Darryl Abbott if he was a singer. He interacts with the audience and is a motherfucking showman. I love this guy. -Jasin Todd sounds like two guitar players to me at all times. Cool fucking trick. Jasin has this cool, hard, funky, laid back thing happening. I always wonder if he was influenced more by Joe Perry or Gary Rossington. -Brad Stewart and Barry Kerch bring a good, hard thundering rhythm section down from the sky so we can all ride the wave. -I love this whole CD-so lets look at the tracks.
The Dream-Haunting little intro that reminds us all that we all are scared little kids underneath the surface. -Everything is just a fucking dream underneath anyway and to struggle and make the plastic people your friends is just sort of motherfucking pointless. This intro sets up the whole album…there are two sorts of people….us and them.
Heroes-I love this song on the cd, but I have seen Brent Smith perform this twice so bear in mind nothing beats that. -To me, on so many levels, this is the Dimebag Darryl tribute song. In some ways, Darryl has no public legacy other than in our hearts-and his death has pissed a lot of people off.
Save Me-I love the poetic Jim Morrison imagery in this song. This one reflects the rage and agony of a lost generation. We are not going to make as much money as our parents. Right now it seems as though the only employer for kids who don’t go to college is the motherfucking army. What the fuck is there to hope for but a good buzz? Where can somebody find redemption?
I Dare You-This song is going to bring Megadeth’s Hello Me to mind. Fucking craziness with the upshot of hope blended in an assload of rocking guitar. -Walking through fire makes you think of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Yer Majesty-Who did Brent wrong? I think I want to go kick their ass. Is it a girl? A manager? A friend? What I like about it is that it is open for interpretation-pick who is right for you and cut loose with some motherfucking red hot rage at them. I have a whole list, try and guess if you are on it.
Beyond The Sun-It it’s own way, this is like a William Blake poem about letting go and trusting the universe. If you let go and see with your heart rather than your eyes, you will see everything.
Trade Yourself In-Did you ever look at somebody and just know they hurt and they got old before their time? Some people have to grow up way too fucking fast and have no idea how to go back.
Lady So Devine-This song is like a prayer. The guitars in it are gentle and sort of Pink Floyd and times. I have to say-good song for smoking pot at three am. -I hate the video, because there is NO BAND in it. I forgive Shinedown though-they spend all their time on the road.
Shed Some Light-The lyrics in this one will bring to mind NIN, but these are more honest than anything off of Downward Spiral. Let’s face it, Trent hasn’t really done anything massive since Pretty Hate Machine. To quote Jesse Turner, this song has some massive kickassness.
Begin Again-Life is about the struggle you little bastards, and it isn’t easy. Circle of life-catch the poetic metaphor in this. You suffer and you fucking die and you have to mindfuck yourself into hope. Personally, I mindfuck myself into thinking I am going to win the lottery at least once a month.
Atmosphere-The duality of man jumps out on this song. Everybody has a good and bad side-and the only way to deal with it is to rise above it and let it go. Me? I jump in and tell everybody to go fuck themselves. Uhm, In a loving way of course. (cough).
Fake-The light is real. The light is US. The dark is THEM. Sometimes the dark overcomes the light and all you can do is hold on for dear life. If you die, THEY win. But you feel like you are losing your soul.
Some Day-You are getting knocked off your pedestal bitch-we are all going to hate ourselves for it and we will feel like asses…but to quote Brent himself-if there is someone that makes you feel less than…remove them from your life with two words….FUCK YOU!
This is a GREAT CD. It was a bitch to slow down and write about it because it is permanently stuck in my stereo. I listen to it at LEAST once a day-and you should too. It is about hope in the end. We all have problems and there are answers. This is one of the few CD’s out there that is written for the audience. Nobody is screwing or getting killed on it-as much as I love Brent singing about staring down the barrel of a 45…it is about REAL shit that almost everybody I know and see at shows goes through. That is why this is an American Classic. Go get it.