Track Review: Shinedown, 'Bully'

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SHINEDOWN
Bully (4:01)
Producer: Rob Cavallo
Writers: Brent Smith, David Bassett, Zach Myers
Publishers: Driven By Music/ EMI Blackwood Music Inc., Curse Of Zach Music (BMI)/EMI April Music o/b/o itself and Bassett Songs (ASCAP)
Atlantic Records

"Seems I've crossed the line again," Shinedown singer Brent Smith laments on "Bully," "for being nothing more than who I am." On the first single to the forthcoming album "Amaryllis," the veteran hard-rock group juxtaposes the theme of powerlessness with a vengeful chorus filled with crashing guitars and venomous sentiments. As a children's choir sings the refrain, "We don't have to take this/We can end it all," Smith lets loose at his tormentors and declares, "No one's gonna cry on the very day you die/You're a bully." Shinedown's power resides in its fine-tuned instrumentation, showy solos and epic hooks, and all three components are on display on "Bully." However, the lyrics, while affecting, slightly miss the point: the band's fight against the epidemic of bullying among U.S. adolescents is commendable, but the violent attitude adopted in that crusade sounds too extreme, even for a group as hard-hitting as Shinedown.

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