It seems Florida rockers Shinedown have a monopoly on drama. Take their sixth studio album: from its title, to it’s cover, to the tense thirty-second interlude that introduces it, Attention Attention is an embodiment of just that.
In fact, if you wait just over a minute into the album, the second track ‘The Devil’ expresses this eloquently with: “The drama, the drama, don’t pay the prima donna.”
The band describe the album as a physical, mental, and emotional journey that stretches from life’s lowest lows to life’s highest highs. Vocalist Brent Smith said the tracks come together in one complete thought to form a story – of a person who has fought from the very bottom to get to where they are.
“As we wrote the songs, they showed me that they were all related to each other during a very early stage,” he explains.
“It’s one complete thought, because it’s a cohesive story. A lot of this is about me, but it’s also about Eric, Barry, and Zach. It was born from the last four years of our lives. I’ve always said, ‘You’ve got to fall in a hole to figure out how to get out of it.’ We start off at the bottom.
“This person fights to build back up, realizes he or she isn’t perfect, accepts that nothing in this world is just handed over, and unlocks the resolve to take everything on.”
Evolution and less-than-subtle transition is something very much alive in Attention Attention. Earlier tracks like ‘Black Soul’ and ‘Attention Attention’ are anxious – not only lyrically, but with quick, almost frantic vocals at points.
Later tracks like ‘Monsters’ see the character Shinedown has created become confident – though the musicality of the album doesn’t really see a shift in the second half. The tone is reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold‘s recent work – with some of the guitar riffs very similar in style.
It’s obvious Shinedown has carefully considered what they wanted to create in Attention Attention – something that takes the listener on a journey. But some tracks are far more effective than others, with ‘Darkside’, ‘Brilliant’, and ‘The Human Radio’ leaps and bounds above the earlier half.