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The Illusion of Progress (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

Staind seem to sneer at the very notion of forward movement on the title of its sixth album The Illusion of Progress and that disdain very well may be a Freudian slip, as the Springfield, MA rock band stubbornly refuses to evolve over the course of a decade. If anything, with each album their aggression erodes and the angst of frontman Aaron Lewis mellows into a mild grumpiness that surfaces only whenever he's not singing profane songs of devotion, which is most of the time. Ballads have always been his forte, a convenient vehicle for his quivering sensitivity and accidental melodicism, yet it's still startling how slow The Illusion of Progress unfolds, as Staind rarely musters the energy to move beyond midtempo even when they deign to crank up their amps for anthems of mild alienation or vague inspiration. Instead, they prefer to spend their time plucking electrics as if they were acoustics, creating arpeggios that recall "It's Been a While" while sidestepping replication because this slow, stately crawl is now the sound of Staind: they're easy listening grunge, music for recovering extreme sports addicts. So, it should come as no surprise that The Illusion of Progress is filled with love songs from Aaron Lewis, a married father of three who pledges his commitment and chronicles his insecurities and dreams in moody minor chords; it's not just an album recorded at his home studio, it's about his home. As always, Lewis' sincerity is disarming and strangely endearing, as unlike so many of his posturing peers he seems like a genuinely good guy, which is enough to make it hard not to wish that he could break free from his inadvertent lyrical clichés, clumsy expletives, and obvious Bob Dylan allusions, to say something specific instead of something sweeping, but that would be progress, something that Staind doesn't desire because they're perfectly content with where they are. [A clean version of the CD was also released.]

Customer Reviews

What A Surprise

I am shocked that no one has written a review on this album yet. What gives? Anyway, this is Stainds best album in a long time. There's something to like in almost every song on here. The singles have already been talked about so I'll skip those. The Way I Am has some good and poinient lyrics that I found myself able to relate to. Good opening riff that opens into classic Aaron vocals but the chorus is what owns this song. It's catchy as hell and is just really great. I love it. Save Me is another song that is really pretty simple in it's writing and riffing (I've already figured out the chords they play on the guitar) but is ultimately catchy and I haven't been able to stop listening to it. It's one of my favorites for certain. Again, the Chorus is fantastic and really carries the song with a catchy hook. It also slowly builds to a crescendo of heavy overdriven guitar that changed it from a sort of ballad to a rocker. All I Want is really poppy and reminded me of something from a teen band or something. I couldn't get into it. The Bridge redeems it a little bit but not enough to keep me from skipping it. One of the weaker songs for sure, but I like the heavier stuff so if ya dig the really soft stuff then you'll be okay with it. Pardon Me is another ballad type song that just has so much emotion and rawness to it that you can't help but instantly love it. Fantastic lyrics and Aarons vocals are hauntingly killer as well. The chorus kicks it up with yet another catchy hook that everyone will soon be singing along to. The bridge is filled with some sweet soloing that only adds more intensity to the already amazing emotion. This one will be incredible live. Lost Along The Way is a good song with some cool opening harmonics and a catchy riff. The verse seems really familiar to me for some reason. The chorus is good if not a bit typical. Not sure what I think of this one. Break Away uses a cool riff over a wah and a good crunchy palm mute. The Chorus is awesome. The first song where Aaron brings in some of that signature yelling he was known for back on Dysfunction but it still doesn't get to that METAL level. Totally rad though. One of the top songs for sure. Tangled Up is really country'ish in its sound. Aaron has a different sound to his voice and though you can tell it's him, it took a few seconds to really get the familiar voice we know. The songs nice. Not too great though. Raining Again is another melancholy sounding somber song that I loved right away. I wish I could come up with the amazing stuff Aaron does when he sings. He's got it down for sure. The verse is my fav part of this song. The chorus is really good as well. Another really cool bridge too that goes where you don't expect it to. Rainy Day Parade is good stuff. A heavier riff with palm muting but still a lot of high notes in there as well. The chorus is yet another catchy deal where Aaron does some cool harmonizing and adds some somber tones to it. The bridge is awesome. He sounds pissed off and it's good angry sounding guitar. The Corner is another somber sounding killer tune. You can hear this one on Staind's site so go check it out. Fantastic and another fav. Nothing Left To Say is surprising the way it starts vocally which was a good surprise. Yet again it sounded somber and melancholy (my favorite style) and the chorus is fantastic. A strong last song for this album for certain. The last 2 itunes exclusives haven't been heard by me yet so just buy the CD if you enjoy Staind. It's the best album they've made in years.

Not for me

I used to be a huge fan of Staind, but their albums have gone down since Dysfunction and Break the Cycle. I'm sorry to say that I'm just not a fan of the direction they went afterwards. This album has 2 songs that I found decent, but overall after I listened to it once nothing really stuck on me. Just pretty much in one ear and out the other. I gave two stars because these guys are talented, but I'm just not feeling this. ( This is It and Break Away ) are the songs that I found to be enjoyable.

Very Upset

I have purchased every Staind CD, even the horrible "Chapter V." I can honestly say I am no longer a Staind fan. After "Break the Cycle" this band has fallen into a pit of slow tracks, with Aaron Lewis crooning above the distortion. What happened to the heavy tracks full of energy? The angst ridden tracks that make you hang on every word he sings? Instead we literally get album after album with 14 shades of grey... nothing that stands out.


Formed: November 24, 1995 in Springfield, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

It has been said that first impressions last a lifetime. Luckily for Staind, some only last for about 45 minutes. After a volatile disagreement with Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst over some of Staind's early cover art, it seemed their big break had walked out the door. Fortunately, by the time Durst had witnessed Staind's intense live show, he was ready to exchange phone numbers. Staind's story began in the New England area when vocalist Aaron Lewis and guitarist Mike Mushok met at a Christmas party...
Full Bio
The Illusion of Progress (Deluxe Version), Staind
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Alternative, Hard Rock, Metal
  • Released: Aug 19, 2008
  • Parental Advisory

Customer Ratings


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