Planet Zero

Planet Zero

“The record is about not losing our humanity. It’s about not bowing to chaos.” That’s Shinedown frontman Brent Smith talking about the Florida rock band’s seventh album. Written during the pandemic, Planet Zero captures their perspective on the world-altering events of 2020 and 2021, and how those events were filtered through the media. “The process of this album was looking at the decay of society and the way the internet, the news, and social media affect everybody,” Smith tells Apple Music. “If we don’t try to understand each other, even if we disagree, we’re not going to have a future. The only way to do that is to communicate and be respectful.” Below, he talks about some of the album’s key tracks. “2184” “The intro is a bit of an homage to 1984—Orwell’s book, not necessarily the Van Halen album, which is also badass beyond belief. But the album starts with that kind of ’80s synth feeling, where we want the listener to be like, ‘What are they doing? What is this?’ And then, the next song hits like a sledgehammer.” “No Sleep Tonight” “This is a rallying cry to society. At the end of the day, for us, it’s all about the people of the planet—not just the United States or one specific country. The chorus is making a point: ‘We’ve had enough of being powerless/We’ve heard it all and we’re not impressed/We are the nightmare that brought you to life/So, don’t turn out the light/Because there’ll be no sleep tonight.’ Because we’re coming for you. What are we coming for? The truth. And there’s more of us than you.” “Planet Zero” “‘Planet Zero’ was written at the beginning of the pandemic. It felt like the world had gone back to the beginning almost. It was like this awful reset button, but not to the benefit of society or the public. It almost felt like all the knowledge that we had of life and existence and common sense was thrown out of the window. It just felt so surreal, like the world had started over on some kind of catastrophic, weird planet. That’s why the song’s called ‘Planet Zero.’” “Dysfunctional You” “We’ve been writing about mental health in Shinedown for the better part of 20 years, even before it was a headline in the media. One element of this band is that we want people to be themselves because we’re all a work in progress. If people don’t agree with you or don’t understand you, or they think there’s something wrong with you, celebrate that. Because there’s no right or wrong when it comes to an individual. You have to feel comfortable in your own skin and your own heart, your own mind, body, and soul.” “A Symptom of Being Human” “This kind of lives in the same world as ‘Dysfunctional You.’ We have a staff of about 70 amazing men and women with us when we’re on tour. Some of them have been with us for the better part of 15 years, and part of this song was inspired by them. There’s a line that says, ‘I got my invitation to the lunatic ball/And my friends are coming too/How about you?’ And that really is about all the people in our lives who inspire us to be better individuals. It’s also about finding your true friends, the people that mean the most to you, that you want to share your existence with.” “Daylight” “This is about the people or the elements in your life that get you to tomorrow. It could be your wife or your brother or your sister or your best friend—anyone or anything like that. You know, the thing that motivates you to get up in the morning. It could be your dog. It could be your favorite coffee place that you go to in the morning for 30 minutes before you go to your job because it gives you some serenity before you have to tackle the day. The song really was a gift to the record because it was written in about 25 minutes.” “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo” “That song is about the media during the pandemic and watching what almost felt like some kind of horrific movie. I spent 28 weeks in California during the pandemic before I was able to leave. Every day, I would wake up in this hotel like, ‘This isn’t really happening. It’s all a dream.’ But then, I’d turn on the TV and there it was. The song came from feeling that the media was trying to scare everybody, like, ‘We’re all doomed!’ I remember thinking they should stop scaring people and start giving people the confidence to educate themselves about what’s actually going on. I don’t mean all media, by the way. But the media I am talking about, they know exactly why I’m talking about them.”

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