Over the past 20 years, you would be hard-pressed to find a more enduring and successful Rock band than Shinedown. Producing heavy and passionate music, Shinedown burst onto the Hard Rock scene with a bunch of hype but soon surpassed all of it. Overcoming obstacles, they rose up, conquered, and continue to grow as a high-power musical entity. Still hungry, they stunned their fanbase in 2018 with the immaculate concept album ATTENTION ATTENTION. An album that raises the question within oneself to wake up and take your lives back, ATTENTION ATTENTION could be more timely than ever in the current state of the world where it seems everything is coming apart at the seams.
Also an album that produced some stellar music videos – “DEVIL,” “THE HUMAN RADIO,” “GET UP,” “MONSTERS,” and “ATTENTION ATTENTION” – you could not help but notice there was an intertwining thread between each of them. All directed by Bill Yukich, who has worked with everyone from Godsmack to Beyoncé, each video also features Shinedown, along with several repeat cast members, including Actresses Francesca Eastwood (M.F.A. 2017, Old 2021) and Melora Walters (Boogie Nights 1997, The Butterfly Effect 2004). All this in mind, wouldn’t it be something if there were additional pieces to the puzzle within the videography of the album? What if there was a full-length film that filled the gaps and tied it all together? Well, that is exactly what Shinedown had in mind, and on Friday, September 3rd, 2021, they debuted their feature film ATTENTION ATTENTION, a cinematic experience of the album by the same name.
Now, it would be easy to critique the film by simply breaking down each music video one by one, but in truth, there needs to be an element of surprise with this viewing experience. Shinedown clearly want to drive home a message; it is outlined in the music on the album and now the visuals on the screen. Those who have seen the previously released music videos understand there is a bit of anxiety present in their overall atmosphere. Why? Well, because this is a story about all of ‘us,’ and well, we are all a bit anxious. It is about one’s own lack of self-confidence, their inability to recognize destructive behaviors, and how it all inhibits their ability to reach their true potential individually. There are the obvious symbols/signs dispersed throughout the film. These, of course, include the disconnection we have from others and ourselves, in great part due to our obsession with electric devices. Additionally, it touches on the vanity we possess in creating a false sense of ourselves for others to see.
With all these thoughts swirling around our heads while taking in ATTENTION ATTENTION, it is impossible not to wonder…What am I doing to make my life better? Or, why do I continue to seek affirmation from a virtual world that does not even know who I truly am? We can go on about the feelings the film evokes, but that decision is really up to you to make. And that is the thing: Shinedown created an intense, hour-long music video which wants you to think. Have you ever noticed all the track titles on the album are capitalized? It is on purpose! It is made to shake you, make you become more self-aware, and make a positive change.
Now, you could argue that nothing has been actually revealed about the ATTENTION ATTENTION film itself within these words, but what is most important is the message of it all: art is meant to inspire free thought, not manipulate or dictate it. Fortunately, Shinedown get that, and with the ATTENTION ATTENTION film they just made their album of the same title that much more potent. Highly recommended, especially at a crucial point in the battle for the soul of humanity, Cryptic Rock gives the ATTENTION ATTENTION film 5 out of 5 stars.