With the pandemic shutting down live performances for over a year and better-informed/cautious fans still leery of festival seating or moshing their way back into venues, alt rock/arena rock/pop rockers Shinedown decided to remind fans they’re out there — or will be soon — with an old school “video album.”
“Attention Attention,” their most recent studio LP (another is due out this fall, according to what I’ve read), is another chart-challenging smash from the quartet. They hired Marilyn Manson’s favorite video director, Bill Yukich, to turn the 14 tracks into quasi-arty “performance” videos, again pretty old school.
As such things go, it isn’t bad. It isn’t remotely as interesting as a good “in the studio to cut a record and having a hard time of it” documentary, some of which have been known to capture a “Eureka” moment of creation. It’s not a mediocre or epic concert film, not a “get to know the band” doc either.
But for what it is, it’s not awful, kind of MTV @1989 — only post-grunge.
See the band lip-sync and thrash about in matching black ensembles, or matching (nearly) suits, dolled up as their favorite glam or whatever performers (Elvis, Elton, etc). Check out the flames, lots and lots of flames, as songs are rendered into fiery or monstrous nightmares, or semi-sexy dreams (model/actress Francesca Eastwood appears, among many others).
The occasional arresting image aside, the collected videos are seriously run-of-the-mill. They’re symbolic and/or literal, soundstage-bound or out of doors, always with dreadlocked drummer Barry Kerch whaling away, Eric Bass keeping time on the instrument he’s named for, Zach Myers power-chording his guitar and Brent Smith sing-shouting in that heavily-overdubbed and harmonious Offspring, Fuel style some seriously dark, and occasionally upbeat lyrics.
“I was sent to warn you, the Devil’s in the next room.”
“When your Mom is a burnout and you Daddy is a pyro, set fire to the family tree.”
Yes, actors playing a biker and biker moll and a lot of flames figure in that one. Another is set in a plastic surgery clinic. They could be playful in the hands of a director/editor with a lighter touch, but that would be off-brand.
In between the tracks we hear Smith, in voice over, intoning that “Wanting things to change is not the same as making things change.”
“Everything is so important, until it’s not.” “You can’t go back. You can’t rewind. It just is.”
Sometimes quoting Springsteen or Shinedown is the only “pretentious/vapid” comment necessary.
The artier touches include a snippet of the band glimpsed in reflection in (Digitally-created) water, and that vamped up glam sequence.
In “Special,” Smith sings “You’re not special,” which has a whiff of self-mockery about it. I’ve heard these guys on alt-rock radio but never listened enough to be able to separate them from the many sound-alikes in their various formats.
But I can see and hear why they’re chart-toppers. They’re more positive than negative, the tunes are catchy and high energy. And the lyrics, while nobody’s idea of serious profundity, aren’t bad either.
“Keep your eye on the prize and your feet on the ground…This human radio is playing your anthem.”
The “movie?” Probably for fans only.
Rating: unrated, some profanity, disturbing images, nudity
Cast: Brent Smith, Barry Kerch, Eric Bass, Zach Myers, Francesca Eastwood, Melora Walters and Raelynn Harper.
Credits: Directed by Bill Yukich. A Gravitas Ventures release.
Running time: 1:03