In the mere year-and-a-half I worked at Atlantic Records I witnessed more than enough facepalm-inducing behavior to compile at least two sequels to Dan Kennedy’s brilliant, true-story account of the foibles of a major record label in the digital age. (Side note: if you work or have ever worked in the music industry, his book — Rock On! — is an absolute must read! hilarious hilarious hilarious. Buy here.)

One of my favorite and most telling moments at the company came when Staind were on the verge of releasing a new album, their umpteenth since becoming adult contemporary radio schlock, and we, the lucky attendees of the weekly marketing meeting, got to hear the brand new single, hot off the presses! New Staind! Easy-riding, units moving through retail! A surefire radio smash! The sparkling energy of the label personnel amping up to do what they do best — peddling shit music to people who live in Red States — was palpable under the uniform glow of the conference room’s flourescent lights.

As the song that sounded just like every other Staind ballad rocked through the ginormous speakers that were big enough to power Madison Square Garden, just there for appearances of course (which song it was is insignificant because you all already know exactly what it sounds like), the lights went down and some overworked, soul-sucked intern pushed play and cranked the volume way too loud. Heads bobbed, feet tapped, eyes closed, old people grooved in that special way that only old record execs can do (imagine your Uncle who used to be cool trying to give your new music a chance, and you’re close). As the proud holder of an overpaid middle management position — cool enough to be in the room but not important enough to be seated at the table, itself sorted by its own special heirarchy of rank / lameness — I was privy to a perfect view of the label’s collective feigned attempt at interest. And good God, was it hysterical! Watching the room react to the new Staind song — the new Staind song for chrissakes! — was a million times more entertaining than the song itself. I repeat: the new Staind song. And this was like 2008, mind you.

Song over, foot-tapping and head-bobbing cease, lights back up, eyes open.

“It’s a hit!”

“A smash!”

“A total crossover sensation!”

Me: (inside my head, but I so wish I’d said this out loud) “Are you people fucking kidding me? It sounds like every other god forsaken Staind song from the past decade.”

The room sprung into action with excited clammer of what would come next: this video, that tour, this website, these radio stations! Activity! People justifying their jobs!

So, with that in mind, here’s the new Staind song. It’s not a ballad, because these days it’s cooler to establish credibility with a rocker before going for the crossover gold, and even the major labels know that now! But rest assured, Atlantic Records has this new record’s singles mapped out to include that same old wimpy ballad and the above meeting, in which the marketing department hopes to trump their superior plastic-item-selling skills on the back of another shit band putting out another shit sappy song, has most certainly already taken place. And this song sucks anyway.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic Records blooper reel: Next time you’re over at the MS Mansion make sure to remind me to show you the “before” and “after” pics of the Unkle Kracker photoshoot in which the infamous Kid Rock sidekick miraculously vanishes 50 pounds from his gut.


Metal Hammer – Staind – ‘Eyes Wide Open’ Teaser on MUZU.TV

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