Last year Silverstein released what would soon be an anthology of REDUX’s, with REDUX, The first Ten Years. The tracklist saw fan favorites and hits from their early albums get a facelift, with new engineering and mastering. Nearly a year later they are already ready to give fans the second installment of the saga, with REDUX II. But this time they are turning their attention to deep cuts and B-sides.
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REDUX II is giving Silverstein an opportunity to elevate some songs that they knew could be better looking back. And instead of remastering hits they are completely rearranging and even adding extra verses to some songs that were popular in more than just radio play or chart placements.
“Both REDUX’s were different in their intention,” frontman Shane Told said to American Songwriter. “The first one was taking our biggest hits from the first four albums on Victory and redoing them the same way they were intended. It was same tempo and key. We were just trying to make them sound better. It was more mechanical. Our first record in 2003, some of us were literally teens so it was cool to go back and give it a better performance and technology.”
“But for REDUX II we picked deep cuts and fans favorites and updated them sonically,” he continued. “And there were a few where we asked, ‘what did we miss or could we do better?’ We were able to say what those songs should be in 2020.”
The new tracklist of B-sides includes an acoustic version of “California,” which got corralled after performing the song acoustically several times by popular demand at smaller shows and in-store appearances.
“We had so many requests for that song,” Told said about ‘California.’” “We played it acoustically at in store events or online and everyone was loving that version. We adapted it, so it was kind of a hybrid between acoustic and electric. And when it came time to do REDUX II, we knew we should bring it back in a whole new way.”
Along with deep cuts were fan favorites like “My Disaster,” which offered Told the opportunity to take a song that didn’t even make his top 100 Silverstein songs and turn it into a song he could not only tolerate but enjoy.
“I always hated that song,” the frontman laughed.
The original “My Disaster” now re-titled as “My Disaster 2.0” on REDUX II, came from Silverstein’s only No. 1 album, Arrivals and Departures. But as much as the fans loved the songs from that record, is how much distaste Told had for it.
“I just wasn’t happy with that record,” Told said. “But ‘My Disaster’ had a few parts I liked energy wise but when we put it together and demoed it, there’s was just something that fell flat to me. I never really quantified what it was.”
Thinking the song really couldn’t get any worse, Told bowed to any ideas his band had for the song. The saving grace for “My Disaster 2.0” came from bandmate Paul Mark, who wasn’t part of Silverstein during the song’s original release in 2007. Told soon realized a fresh pair of ears and eyes was exactly what the 13-year-old song needed to be reborn.
“He had an idea for ‘My Disaster’ to make it cool and in my opinion, it couldn’t get any worse,” Told said. “And Paul just recorded this powerhouse song.”
Needing to elevate the rest of the parts to the song’s new stance, Told took the once desperate and sad vocal parts and re-recorded a version that is equally exciting and energetic.
“I had to think of what I could bring to it vocally,” Told explained. “The lyrics are so desperate and downtrodden that I felt the vocals were just boring. And I brought more excitement to it and I knew this was track 1. And it was cool to see the redemption of a song. I literally did a ranking of my top 100 Silverstein songs and that one did not make the list at first. But now it’s probably top 20.”
The evolvement in perception and songwriting seen on REDUX II, is just another signaler of the band’s natural evolvement in the 20 years together. But REDUX was not the only release that showed their progression and fearlessness this year. In March, the band release their ninth studio record, A Beautiful Place to Drown, but the pandemic outshined it and it did not get the press it deserved in Told’s opinion. As all Silverstein’s records do, A Beautiful Place to Drown was a snapshot of that moment of the band and it caught the group trying things they would never have even thought to as a young band starting out.
“I think if people listen to A Beautiful Place to Drown, you’ll hear things we were afraid to do years ago, like sax solo’s,” Told said. “It has just opened up the creative opportunity.”
The need to expand the creative well is necessary for Told as Silverstein surpass 20 years together and the songwriting doesn’t get any easier. Releases like A Beautiful Place to Drown and the REDUX’s offer them just one more avenue to explore as a matured band. And everything they’ve created over the last 20 years always comes full circle at their shows, when they see both young and old faces, singing along to their first single and their last single.
“Twenty has been a cool milestone,” Told said. “It’s amazing to be able to look out at our shows and see people who are 14 and who are 40. It’s cool to transcend generations and know that people want to hear both old and new stuff.”
And maybe that’s what the REDUX releases are all about, bridging the gap between both old and new generations of Silverstein and offering a listenable time capsule of a long-standing discography for devoted fans.
“I think we’ve evolved naturally over 20 years and it’s honestly a healthy way to go about being a band,” Told said. “When bands start being cliché and saying they’re going to make the heaviest record they ever have, the songs just don’t end up being good. So we’re going to do what we always have and write the best we can and making sure every album is a snapshot of that time, while thinking about our legacy and not following trends.”
And while REDUX II offers a look to their past, another venture marks the band’s potential future. As the band grew and experienced being on several different labels, they saw a draw to self-release their music. REDUX The first Ten Years was the first release to be featured on the bands own label, N.S.E.W Recordings.
“We’re at a point in the band where we’ve been on a lot of labels,” Told said. “I can tell you about some of them that were great and some that could’ve been better. But really just over time the industry has changed, and we learned a lot and we felt some of our releases would be better suited on our own label. We did REDUX on it and hope to do more.”
The band is also considering bringing on other artists to the label in the future. But they are currently prioritizing writing for their next release after a previous point in the year when they felt creatively tapped.
“We’re definitely ready to start writing again,” Told said. “The frustration of the year is one for the ages. There’s a lot of emotion and aggression to get off our chest. We’re all kicking tires on ideas and probably sooner rather than later you’ll hear something from us.”
REDUX II is out now everywhere now. Check out the band’s newfound love for “My Disaster” here on American Songwriter.