Top 10 Songs by Staind

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Since their debut in 1996, Staind has become a legendary band in the worlds of hard rock, metal and post-grunge. Frontman Aaron Lewis wrote most of the band’s material that is oftentimes unsettling, and even disturbing, compelling the listener to think and take an honest look at their own life alongside Lewis, who takes you inside the depths of his mind.

The band’s dark and heavy lyrics clearly translated to a wide audience over their nearly three-decade career, landing multiple hits at the top of the rock charts, some landing on more mainstream charts. Here are 10 of the best Staind songs:

1.) “Outside”(live acoustic version)

Fun fact: When Lewis and Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst met for the first time at a concert in 1997, Durst was so appalled by the gory cover of Staind’s Tormented album that he tried to remove Staind from the bill. But after watching their set, Durst was so impressed that he signed them to his record label. This opened the doors for a longtime collaborative partnership between the two acts, including Durst making a special appearance at Staind’s show in Biloxi, Mississippi to sing an acoustic version of “Outside” live with Lewis.

The stripped-down version of the famed track makes way for Lewis’ powerful voice, as he sings of recognizing his inner darkness reflected in someone else, while Durst’s subtle harmonies compliment Lewis’ vocals. The song was a work-in-progress when Lewis debuted it at the show and actually completed the lyrics live onstage. That happy accident turned into a success, as the live version featuring Durst became a No. 1 rock hit and one of Staind’s best songs.

I’m on the outside, I’m looking in
I can see through you, see your true colors
‘Cause inside you’re ugly, you’re ugly like me
I can see through you, see to the real you

2.) “It’s Been Awhile”

As one of Staind’s most widely recognized songs, “It’s Been Awhile” has enough of an edge, yet is still palatable to the general public. Lewis’ rugged voice, coupled with the grungy melody and angsty lyrics like And it’s been awhile / Since I can say that I wasn’t addicted / And it’s been awhile / Since I can say I love myself as well shine in this now-iconic song that crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100 where it landed at No. 5. The track also spent a record 20-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Airplay chart, making it as commercially successful as it was revered by fans.

And it’s been awhile
Since I can say that I wasn’t addicted
And it’s been awhile
Since I can say I love myself as well and
And it’s been awhile
Since I’ve gone and fucked things up just like I always do
And it’s been awhile
But all that shit seems to disappear when I’m with you

3.) “Fade”

Don’t let the hard rock melody fool you – Lewis packs plenty of vulnerability into the lyrics that find a man looking for someone to listen to him as he proclaims, I just needed someone to talk to / You were just too busy with yourself / You were never there for me to / Express how I felt/I just stuffed it down.

The guitar riff played by Mike Mushok was originally a six-minute-long instrumental, and after the band worked on the track for several years, it finally ended up on their third project, Break the Cycle. The move was a resounding success for the band, solidifying itself as a top five hit on both the Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts.

Now I’m older and I feel like
I could let some of this anger fade
But it seems the surface
I am scratching
Is the bed that I have made

4.) Right Here”

“Right Here” is a gem of a song on Chapter V, an album Lewis called the band’s “best record to date.” Here, Lewis sings of being a changed man, admitting to his imperfections while asking for mercy. The band tones it down while still honoring their edgy sound.

Like “It’s Been Awhile” and “So Far Away,” “Right Here” translated to a mainstream audience, topping both the rock charts and peaking inside the top 10 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 and Mainstream Top 40 charts with the memorable lyrics like, But you always find a way / To keep me right here waiting / You always find the words to say / To keep me right here waiting.

But you always find a way
To keep me right here waiting
You always find the words to say
To keep me right here waiting
If you chose to walk away
I’d still be right here waiting
Searching for the things to say
To keep you right here waiting

5.) “So Far Away”

Even with the chart success, “So Far Away” is easily one of Staind’s best. Between Lewis’ impressive vocals as he tries to grasp dreams realized and the success that comes with it, the song offers a welcomed softer side as he sings, These are my words / That I’ve never said before / I think I’m doing okay / And this is the smile / That I’ve never shown before.”

“Far” was a breakthrough hit on multi-genre charts, sitting at No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for 14 weeks, one of the longest streaks on that chart, in addition to making it inside the top 30 on the all-encompassing Billboard Hot 100.

Now that we’re here
It’s so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
All in the mistakes
One life contained
They all finally start to go away
Now that we’re here it’s so far away
And I feel like I can face the day, and I can forgive
And I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today

6.) “Mudshovel”

“Mudshovel” embodies a different groove than a lot of Staind’s other songs, yet Lewis’ voice sounds as strong as ever. When the beat drops into a heavy metal riff, it brings to life the song’s vivid imagery like “tainted smiles” while also expressing feelings of deep anger and betrayal that Lewis is not shy about as he wails, driving me insane / I can’t fight these feelings they will bring you pain / You can’t take away / Make me whole again. Originally released in 1996 off Tormented, “Mudshovel” was then re-released in 1999 as the third single from Dysfunction, becoming a top 10 hit.

‘Cause you can’t feel my anger 
You can’t feel my pain 
You can’t feel my torment 
Driving me insane 
I can’t fight these feelings they will bring you pain 
You can’t take away 
Make me whole again

7.) “Schizophrenic Conversations”

Though it may have a jarring title, “Schizophrenic Conversations” delivers a healthy dose of truth, beckoning the listener about whether or not they’re willing to take an honest look in the mirror. The deep cut featured in Chapter V continues to explore themes of weakness versus strength. Lewis invites fans into the depths of his mind, which makes for an interesting conversation conveyed through the song.

Schizophrenic conversations
That I’m always having with myself
I hear these voices in my head competing
Maybe I could use a little help
I still have schizophrenic conversations
When there’s no one else around to hear
And I long for solitude and peace within me
Void of all the anger and the fear

8.) “Believe”

“Believe” is a quintessential Staind song, as deep sorrow and pain are embedded in the lyrics that, like “Mudshovel,” call on potent imagery such as the devil, fake smiles, and crying oneself to sleep to tell the story. There are some lines that sound autobiographical, as Lewis howls, I was made for chasing dreams, and begs for someone to believe in him. It’s my life, it’s my choice / Hear my words, hear my voice / And just believe, he sings in a powerful set of lyrics. It became the band’s third No. 1 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Believe in me
I know you’ve waited for so long
Believe in me
Sometimes the weak become the strong
Believe in me
This life’s not always what it seems
Believe in me
‘Cause I was made for chasing dreams

9.) “Something to Remind You”

“Something to Remind You” finds the band scaling back from their typical hardcore rock sound, allowing Lewis’ voice to take center stage. Without overdoing it, he allows the words to linger like how his face holds a lifetime of stories he can’t erase.

In the span of four minutes, Lewis takes us on a journey of what he hopes to leave behind when he passes on in the form of one last song. “Remind” is also the band’s last single release since 2012, serving as a fitting way to end their 2011 self-titled album.

So when the day comes and the sun won’t touch my face
Tell the ones who cared enough that I’ve finally left this place

That’s been so cold
Look at my face
All the stories it will tell I can’t erase
The road is long
Just one more song
A little something to remind you when I’m gone
When I’m gone

10.) “Price to Play”

“Price” sees Staind doing what they do best: delivering blistering melodies alongside hard truth lyrics. The song was inspired by Lewis’ frustration of having to cut another song under someone else’s suggestion when they were nearing the end of the recording process of 14 Shades of Grey. Its dope guitar riffs and angsty vibe are classic Staind. Even if it hadn’t reached the top of the Mainstream Rock chart, it still would be one of their best. 

The more you take, the more you blame
But everything still feels the same
The more you hurt the more you scream
The price you pay to play the game
Then all you see and all you gave
And all you step on will know shame
There are no rules, no one to blame
The price to play the game

(Photo by Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)

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