Top 5 Songs on Shinedown’s ‘Planet Zero’

Welcome to Issue No. 6 of Listicles, the feature that presents the Top 10, Top 5, Top 3, Top 100 or Top 1,000,000 of whatever it is you want to know about. Email your Listicle suggestions to johnagliata@gmail.com.

The rock band Shinedown burst on the scene early in the new century and made its mark with its 2003 debut album Leave a Whisper, which featured singles 45 and an amazing cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Simple Man. Since then, the band — made up of singer Brent Smith, guitarist Zach Myers, bassist Eric Bass (sadly, pronounced like the fish, not the instrument he plays) and drummer Barry Kerch — has grown to be one of the most iconic rock bands of the 21st century, with seven albums and numerous awards to their credit, including iHeeartRadio Music Awards’ Rock Song of the Year in 2016 (Cut the Cord), 2019 (Devil) and 2020 (Monsters) and Rock Artist of the Year in 2017, 2020 and 2021.

Now, the band from Jacksonville, Fla., is back on the road in support of its newest album, Planet Zero, a dystopian-future (present?) storybook of songs that must be listened to old-school, in order, as intended. Interspersed with haunting robotic monologues outlining conditions and expectations on this (non)fictional planet, it is a mix of powerful jams and inspiring melodies.

So … what are the Top 5 songs on this 20-track title? Let’s dive in. And as always, remember to start your day with outrage.



No. 5: Planet Zero

The title track is a powerful, driving rock attack that drives home the theme of the album — that Planet Zero is one screwed-up place in which there’s an unhealthy drive for homogeny. It is most definitely an in-your-face statement against cancel culture gone too far.

‘All hail! Power to the people!
Except you. You checked a box we don’t
Like’



No. 4: Dysfunctional You

Shinedown is often criticized for being over-the-top with its inspirational messages. Dysfunctional You is the counterpoint to criticisms that threaten to keep those who stand outside the norm from being heard. The song is one of encouragement for those who feel like they don’t fit in and who have been kept on the sidelines because of it. It’s about embracing who you are, or, as Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl would say, flying your freak flag.

So go on and be your dysfunctional self
Life’s too short to play someone else
‘Cause being normal is just a trap
But you’re never so gone that you can’t turn back
So go on and be unpredictable
Shatter the glass when it’s half full
The audience has waited all this time
You’re well-rehearsed and you know your lines
So introduce them to
The wonderful dysfunctional you’



No. 3: Saints of Violence and Innuendo

The band has been opening its concert swith this hard-driving rock song with a great groove. It goes back and forth from heavy guitars to more atmospheric choruses and some subtle other-worldly flavors. It sticks heavily to the Planet Zero theme that we’re living in a time and place where we truth is obscured and false narratives are jammed down our throats as the thing that must be accepted.

‘Oh no, here we go
Here come the saints of violence and innuendo
So tell me the truth, are you really surprised?
You live in a world where empathy goes to die’



No. 2: Dead Don’t Die

Fans of old-school Shinedown should love this kick-ass power rock crusher. Yet behind the driving drums and screaming guitar is the band’s more fully evolved overall message — and a key theme of this album. It’s a fight song and rallying cry for those who battle and keep battling against the powers of personal and group oppression.

The dead don’t die, the heart still beats
Head held high, I haunt these streets
Life’s killed me a hundred thousand times
You can try, you can try, but the dead don’t die



No. 1: Daylight

Shinedown were outspoken supporters of mental health awareness before it was hip and fashionable. Band members have openly shared their struggles, including bassist Eric Bass’s battles with depression that were the inspiration behind the 2019 hit song Get Up from the album Attention Attention. With Daylight, the band offers a way for its fans who have battled or are battling their own demons to thank those who have helped them get through those lonely nights when living didn’t seem like the best option. It’s Shinedown at its finest.

‘You saved my life, not once but twice
You keep me free from falling
You saved my life, make it all alright
When I don’t feel like talking
You make sure I always see the daylight’


And remember …

‘Please relax, do not panic
This world is not on fire
What you have seen is not reality, all is well
During your time here
Please do not seek truth and think critically
As this can be problematic
However, this urge shall pass
As it is just a symptom on being programmed’

B. Goode is by no means a music critic and has zippo in the way of actual music theory education. He is simply a fan of music who grew up in Seattle and loves delving into the significance of songs.


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