For those who grew up to the sound of Nirvana, there’s been nothing quite as spirit-crushingly miserable as the grunge hangover – a refugee line of tousle-haired slackers shivering along the corporate gangplank, clutching at dimes, all the while praying their ‘alternative’ cover doesn’t slip.
We owe it to nu-metal for hammering the final nail into grunge’s coffin. But it hasn’t been enough. On ‘Break The Cycle’ – the third album from Massachusetts miserymen Staind – the Ghost Of Corporate Grunge shrugs off the old plaid shirt, pulls on the box-fresh hoodie, and rebrands itself as the Angst Of A New Generation.
This is partly down to Fred Durst, who met these young tykes in 1997 when they were slogging their independent debut around the fleapits of America. He furnished Staind’s deal with Flip Records – and took the credit when 1999’s ‘Dysfunction’ shifted a million copies, which suggests that Durst’s musical taste is as shonky as his rapping.
‘Break The Cycle’ is nu-metal as envisaged by Tipper Gore – 14 tracks of parent-friendly grunge-flavoured soft rock that make Creed sound like GG Allin. [I]”Most of you don’t give a shit”[/I], croaks frontman Aaron Lewis on ‘Open Your Eyes’, [I]”that your daughters are porno stars/And your son sells death to kids”[/I].
Patience finally snaps on the closing live rendition of ‘Outside’, a syrupy duet with Durst in which the capped one announces [I]”maaaan, I’m feeling those lighters”[/I] and you’re left picturing the audience building a funeral pyre stageside.
Nu-metal is ready to whip its cock out and fuck a corpse because of albums like this; anything to elicit a glimmer of interest from a dead-eyed public. Staind: spell it like ‘Bland’. That’s all you need to remember.