Album Review — Shinedown
Shinedown — Planet Zero
After over a two month delay Shinedown has released their seventh studio record, “Planet Zero”, via Atlantic Records. It’s the band’s first release since 2018’s “Attention Attention”.
“Planet Zero” has a whopping 20 tracks but seven are short interludes or intros that help push the loose “concept” record along. I’m not going to get much into the concept here as it didn’t come through clear for me after a few listens. It seems the album is set many years in the future but beyond that I’d need more listens and possibly the lyrics to know for sure what is going on.
So I’ll stick to the 13 full length tracks.
“No Sleep Tonight” is an aggressive opener with double time drums for much of the track. There’s a big chorus on this raucous opener.
The title track is not as aggressive but plenty heavy. Like the opener, the chorus is more melodic but the song still flows.
“Dysfunctional You” is the first of multiple slower tracks that are the highlights of the record. I could see this one being played live and being a fan favorite and a rallying cry for those that feel that they don’t fit in. A really good track.
“Dead Don’t Die” is back to a heavier track that I really like. It’s got a good groove and it just a quality rock song.
“America Burning” is a more modern track that’s a biting criticism of what’s going on right now in the country. At least that’s how I hear it. I like a good critique and this one works.
“A Symptom of Being Human” is a mostly acoustic track that sounds like a classic from the first time you hear it. This band knows how to write songs that hit home and this one certainly does. It’s the kind of song that you want to sing along with the first time you hear it. A superb track.
“Hope” starts off slower and slowly builds. It’s the counter to “America Burning” as it reminds us that “Hope’s not a four letter word”. Another strong slower track.
“Clueless and Dramatic” brings the aggression back after a two song break. I like the guitar in this one. A good track.
I can’t decide if I like “Sure Is Fun”. It’s got moments that I like but it’s borderline cheesy at times. I’m undecided on this one.
No indecision on “Daylight”. This one is a winner. It starts with just piano and vocals and slowly builds. It sounds like a reflection on the pandemic and is full of hope. Again, the band nails another slower track.
“The Saints of Violence and Innuendo” is an interesting track. It’s got some heavy guitar at times but doesn’t rely on the guitar sound all the way through and doesn’t rely on the typical verse, verse, chorus flow. I like it.
“Army of the Underappreciated” is one of the least successful tracks in my view. I just don’t find it very interesting.
“What You Wanted” closes out the record and it’s the opposite of the previous track. It’s very interesting and different. A thoughtful close to the record.
I don’t really get the concept here but overall I do like this record. The band knows how to hook the listener both with their well-crafted songs and interesting lyrics. I like the majority of the heavier tracks although I prefer their sound on the slower stuff.
I’ll likely cut out the seven interludes and keep the 13 tracks and I feel pretty confident they will get more listens. Maybe the concept will become more clear with some more time but I like the songs enough that it isn’t necessary for me to enjoy what’s here.
90 out of 100
2. No Sleep Tonight
3. Planet Zero
5. Dysfunctional You *
6. Dead Don’t Die
7. Standardized Experiences
8. America Burning *
9. Do Not Panic
10. A Symptom of Being Human *
11. Hope *
12. A More Utopian Future
13. Clueless and Dramatic
14. Sure Is Fun
15. Daylight *
16. This Is a Warning
17. The Saints of Violence and Innuendo *
18. Army of the Underappreciated
20. What You Wanted *