Well, Puddle of Mudd were one of the best post-grunge bands to come out of the 1990s (in my opinion) and I am a big fan of their first few albums but I am sad to say that this album is average at best. And believe me, this makes me sad as I am a Puddle Of Mudd fan (been listening to them for over 10 years).
The problem with this album is manifold, but the changes in the band line up certainly didnt help matters. Paul Phillips is Puddle Of Mudds best guitarist and he had left the band in 2005 (but returned again briefly in 2009) and the drummer Greg Upchurch left to join the band 3 Doors Down. Christian Stone and Ryan Yerdon were brought in to play lead guitar and drums respectively.
More importantly the record sounds overproduced and the guitars have clearly been toned down for commercial radio friendly acceptability. Also the drumming on most of the tracks were completed by session drummers yet they named Ryan Yerdon as a POM member in the sleevenotes. (He only drummed on the single 'We dont have to look back now'). Wes Scantlin has gone on record to say that he thought the original mix was fine and that he disliked the final release mixed by the producers.
Having said all that though there is some good news as some of the tracks are good. 'Famous' is a nice song about the conflicts of fame, the grungy 'Livin on borrowed time' is an album highlight where Wes sounds a bit like Layne Staley. I also like the frenzied 'Merry go round' and the sentiment of 'Radiate'. It's these tracks that ultimately save the album!
Lyrically and thematically not as angsty as Come Clean, or as troubled as Life On Display, the message is much more positive and upbeat on this record, however this reviewer prefers the aforementioned releases and just hope that as POM continue to grow they don't lose their edge which has served them so well in the past.