What Happened: Shinedown


As far back as I can remember rock music has been for me. From bands from the 60’s all the way till today, there is no denying the impact rock music has had on me and the rest of the world. Rock music is alive and well but certain people and radio will lead you to believe that it isn’t. That’s not true though. There is something that happens to rock bands though that leads them down the wrong path and they wind up losing their way. Back in the 80’s at the height of the “hair metal” era, the “power ballad” was a way to break into the mainstream and cross over to a different audience. And that has followed up to this day. So many bands still have “that one song” that can hit the mark with a specific audience. Just look at Staind. Remember “It’s Been A While?” That song catapulted the band to new heights and brought in a whole different audience.

One band I’d like to discuss this happening to is Shinedown. When I first heard the band back in 2003, I thought to myself that this band could be the one to really bring back “rock music.” Their debut album Leave A Whisper was powerful and rocking. It had all the right parts of heaviness and melody along with a singer that could actually sing. I remember first getting a 2 song cd sampler which had the songs “Fly From The Inside” and “No More Love.” Those two songs were awesome and it set me on the path of anticipation for their album. So when their album finally came out, needless to say I was excited and it didn’t disappoint. I saw them a couple times during this album run and they were an awesome live band. They had something that a lot of bands out during that time were lacking and that was true substance. One such show was at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen there. They had this energy playing that legendary stage and venue and you could feel their hunger and love of what they were doing.

When it came time for their second album, the guys in the band all worked together and truly developed their sound. It was still rock and hard but also had this brightness to it that let everyone in the band shine. Us And Them, their second album, was released in 2005. The band that accompanied singer Brent Smith was absolutely stellar. Guitarist Jasin Todd, bassist Brad Stewart and drummer Barry Kerch all made this band something special and provided the “balls” the band needed. Even though Us and Them was a very rocking record with songs like “Heroes,” Save Me,” “Yer Majesty,” and “Begin Again,”  there was one song on the album that teetered toward the cross over side. That song was “I Dare You.” Also it didn’t help that during that year on American Idol, Chris Daughtry would perform the song on the show. Granted it was great exposure but that was what really set off the change in the band.

Their third album saw a big line up change and that also was a drastic change to the band. Guitarist Jasin Todd and Brad Stewart were fired from the band. Also an outside songwriter was brought in to help singer Brent Smith make and complete the album. The album entitled The Sound Of Madness saw a different sound for the band. Produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance), he brought in a more “pop” sound to the band. The first song the band released from the album though was a “rock” called “Devour,” which was mediocre at best and lacked the real depth the band had on their first two albums. Following that song came the ballads, and high charting success. This is where the band started to lean more toward the realm of Adult Contemporary.

Their next two albums Amaryllis and Threat To Survival are both (to be absolutely honest) watered down crap. They are overproduced and are complete departures from what the band started as. When Shinedown first came out they had a southern rock meets grunge rock thing going that made them stand out. Now they are just your typical “radio rock” type of band without any depth to them. They really lost their way over time and let outside people and record labels dictate where the band should be going. Not to mention that during their live shows they don’t even acknowledge the first two albums. Which is a real let down.

I will never begrudge anyone making a living and doing what they need to do to feed their families but, I do take umbrage when a band sells out and takes the east way out. Just look at the band Sugar Ray. When they first started they were actually a hard rock band. Even the album that has the song “Fly” on it, is a really rocking record. But because of the success of that one song, they completely flipped and went the easy way.

If Shinedown were to get back to the roots of it all, I think they could really pull off a great comeback. They would also need to bring back Jasin and Brad. They had the chops and songwriting ability that made this band along with Brent’s lyrics and voice. I have given up on the band. I did go back and listen to those first two albums and I still dig those, but I just can’t listen to them knowing that they just don’t have it anymore. Hopefully they can come through and change my mind but, until then, at least I have the first two albums and the memories of seeing them during that time.


Leave A Whisper:


Us And Them:


      1. If you truly listen, all the songs are really the same setup. 8-10 lines, refrain, 8-10 lines, refrain, refrain, instrumental, refrain, extended refrain. I change the radio station whenever they come on. Never liked them. Not saying they aren’t good musicians, just need a new song writer.

      2. Hi John,

        You are right. And yes they need a new songwriter. The guys in the original incarnation of the band gave the group the rock edge they needed. From The Sound of Madness on it’s been absolute crap.

        Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.


      3. Well finally someone else besides me, and Brian agree about the entire change of SD. Thanks John for being real!!!

  1. You may have spoke about 3 months too soon from the time this was published!?? Me personally in March when i first heard their single “Devil” release off their newest album Attention Attention it blew my mind!! I first seen them live in late 2005 and they have been my all time favorite since…i agree that the 4th and 5th album song tracks are were kinda hit or miss but they still remained #1 in my book for a solid 13 yrs (Im 31 now..so my entire adult life lol) and happy to say i felt like they definitely managed to salvage ALL of the rest of their sound back with this 6th album and hope u would agree.. but it is also very upsetting they dont play anything from their first two albums live anymore except their cover of “simple man” its not the same with out Stewart and Todd!! Those first two albums were iconic!!!!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for taking the time to read the article and check out the site. I hope you enjoyed the other articles.

      While I appreciate your enthusiasm for the new Shinedown album, to me it still seems like the same watered down generic drivel they’ve been putting out since The Sound Of Madness. Sure there might be a song here and there that has flashes of what they once were but, when it all comes down to it, it’s the same ol crap.

      I’m glad that you have a new found liking for the band with the new album. For me though, I’m just done with them. I’m not trying to come off as an elitist or anything like that. I’m just a fan of what they once were. They truly had the potential to be the next great American rock band but instead they traded that in for generic success. Granted that’s just my opinion.

      If you get a chance, check out the band of the week category on the site. I think you’ll definitely find some new bands and music that you’ll dig.

      Thanks again for reading and checking out Audioeclectica!



      1. Brian, it was sunny afternoon while coming across again another shinedown song on Pandora and the very essence of all that you have mentioned seemed to subliminally reach out and ask my conscience the same question “What happened to Shinedown”. I feel that since I never got to know the band as much you all it’s like I am in a state of confusion. I want to like them but I cannot be bounced around like a pinball when it comes to the soul of music. When a band changes, it’s their decision and most time for reasons really that only they know (even though it’s not hard to guess). Yet for the rest of us originally touched souls, it’s like when someone special in our life dies and just isn’t around us any more. You wind up just very empty, sad, wondering what could have been and you really have no choice but to move on. I’m glad I found this good read. I believe I can move on now. Carl

      2. Hi Carl,

        Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I love your response. It’s very true. I truly believe that Shinedown lost their way and just did whatever the label wanted and didn’t care that their “roots” got left behind.

  2. Could not agree more. What they were to what they turned into is something straight out of metallica’s book “how to sell out to make more $$ according to Lars”

  3. I had to revisit this site. I have been following SD for over 15 years, sadly they have become what I never thought would happen to them…They have gone mainstream pop music. There is not that emotion filled , gritty sense of what I could relate to and or feel. My opinion of course , and I just needed to vent. This is the first time I have returned from a SD concert feeling disappointed 8/25/18 Xfinity Theater in Hartford CT

    1. I’m sorry you had to witness and pay for something that was so lame.

      I know the feeling you have about the band. I’ve totally given up on them. I’m not saying a band shouldn’t evolve and grow but, they never evolved or grew the way a band like they started out as should.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I hope you can look through the other articles on the site and find a new band that you can really dig into!

      I suggest the new Alice In Chains album, Rainer Fog. It’s tremendous!



  4. Dude, Amaryllis and Threat to Survival are my favorite albums by this band. I also love Sound of Madness and Attention Attention. considering the results in my opinion you’re dead wrong with it being “watered down crap” I sooo disagree with you on this. They have become my favorite band. It used to be Journey for me. And now I pick Shinedown over Journey. So what is it you’re thinking about them now?

    1. Hi Linda,

      Firstly, thank you for checking out Audioeclectica.

      While I’m sure you have your reasons for loving the direction Shinedown took from The Sound Of Madness onwards, those of us that saw what they were up to on the first couple albums know damn well, they fully took the easy way out.

      I’m not doubting the members of the band went through the trials and tribulations of life but, the music surely suffered and the band really became something entirely different. It is truly borderline selling out. You are more than welcome to your own opinion, just as I am mine. They truly are “watered down crap” now. You should really take a listen to the depth on the first two albums as well as the production quality on those and then compare them to the ones after. There is a huge drastic difference in quality (Which went way down hill). The fact that you name Journey as a favorite too, well that doesn’t help your argument much.

      The Stallone thing too? really? you want to say that “Diamond Eyes” is an amazing song? Well to each their own.

      I’m glad you like Shinedown for what they are doing now. But as a fan from way back, they really lost me, and left me rather disappointed in their output of generic and bland material.

      All the best,


  5. And another thing. The fact that Sylvester Stallone himself picked Shinedown to write the song for the Expendables is saying that this band is going places now I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’m simply saying that your opinion of them selling out, no dude they just evolved. You don’t know what happened within the band. You don’t know what they’ve endured and rose above. I’m sure there are people who share your opinion but I disagree. I’m loving the band way more than their first two albums. They rock and they’re here to stay a while.

  6. Fabulous article dude, you hit the sad, broken, black-hearted truth like no other. I’ve known Jasin for bookoo years and he has my heart. He was at my house when he found out that he’d been fired and in fact, I was the one who told him. Brent didn’t have the balls to tell him and the record executives didn’t care.
    Brad was burning mad when he got fired, but Jasin was absolutely crushed. And when I told him that his guitar tracks had been deleted off of The Sound of Madness and replaced by a studio guitarist, the blow to his reality was deafening. So, like a demon he forced his Mercedes to break every speed record and fly to Best Buy. When he saw his betrayal he fell headlong into the pit dispare. Even now, the anguish is ever present.
    Like you, I don’t like or listen to the garbage Brent spews forth. But lucky me, I have the demo recordings of SOM, which he calls Love Boat, Leave a Whisper, which we call Dirt House. Dirt House has 7 songs that didn’t make the first record, but were later released under the new band.
    This is the first time I’ve told this tale and I thank you for hearing me.

    1. Hi Donna,

      Thank you for taking the time to check out Audioeclectica and comment on this one.

      Yeah, that band really went downhill. It’s a shame too. They were really onto something good with those first two albums. I’d love to hear those demos you have. I’m sure they sound light years better than the overproduced mediocre crap that SOM became.

  7. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing that Shinedown has changed. At the time of the first two albums they were all drugged up and wild. Now Brent has a kid (what the sound of madness album was about) and has gone through his own personal battles against his demons and that’s what his/ Shinedown’s music reflects and focuses on now.
    No, they’re not just a heavy southern rock band anymore but their music is still deep and written with purpose.

    1. Evolution of a band is one thing but, when you completely forget your roots and basically sell out (look at Sugar Ray), you lose the true essence of what it’s all about. Like I said in my post, I don’t begrudge them being successful, they obviously made a distinct choice to follow a certain path. That being said, their watered down generic songs from Sound Of Madness onwards have been boring and rehashed time and time again. Even the production has made them suffer. The first two albums were real and raw, after that, they were too processed and clean.

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