14 Shades of Grey

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14 Shades of Grey
Staind 14 Shades of Grey.jpg
Studio album by
Released May 20, 2003
Recorded September 2002 – March 2003 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California
Length 62:12
Label Flip, Elektra
Producer Josh Abraham
Staind chronology
Break the Cycle
14 Shades of Grey
Chapter V
Singles from 14 Shades of Grey
  1. "Price to Play"
    Released: April 1, 2003
  2. "So Far Away"
    Released: June 17, 2003
  3. "How About You"
    Released: November 4, 2003
  4. "Zoe Jane"
    Released: April 5, 2004
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (41/100)[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]
Alternative Press 1/5 stars[1]
The A.V. Club (mixed)[3]
Blender 3/5 stars[1]
E! Online B link
Entertainment Weekly C[4]
Q 1.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[5]
Uncut 2/5 stars[1][6]
Yahoo! Music UK 2/10 stars[7]

14 Shades of Grey is the fourth studio album by American rock band Staind, released on May 20, 2003. The album continues to develop a post-grunge sound seen on the band's previous album Break the Cycle, though the songs on 14 Shades of Grey have fewer pop hooks, focusing more on frontman Aaron Lewis's emotions.[2] It is the band's last album to be released from Elektra Records.

The album featured four singles and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with first week sales of 220,000 copies. By July 2003, 14 Shades of Grey had been certified gold then later platinum.[8]


After finishing their tour schedule, Staind allowed time for Lewis and his wife to conceive their first child and adjust to being parents for a few months. The band then took about five weeks to write new songs before they began recording in Los Angeles, including a week developing the songs at producer Josh Abraham's house. Guitarist Mike Mushok noted it as the first time Staind has actually written in the studio.[9]

In January 2003, Staind planned on a May 6 release date for their untitled fourth album. This date persisted into March during which an album title was announced. However, this would have to be delayed a few weeks.[10]

Aaron Lewis elaborated on the lighter direction of 14 Shades of Grey:

It's kind of a logical progression where we're getting older now. . . [Guitarist] Mike [Mushok] is married, and I'm married now with a kid and we're that much deeper into figuring out as far as lyrically goes and figuring out our trades as far as writing songs go.[11]

Guitarist Mike Mushok described the album title in a 2003 interview:

I think it's kind of referring to how in life there's black and white and then there's this grey area. . . I think the older you get you start to realize that more things are grey and not so much black and white.[12]

The song "Layne" is a tribute to Layne Staley, the late Alice in Chains singer. The song "Zoe Jane" honors Aaron Lewis' firstborn daughter. Some shots of Zoe Jane are featured in the video for "So Far Away".


First editions of the album included a limited edition bonus DVD featuring home videos and footage of the band from their early years to the present, along with album lyrics and new band photos. For a time, fans could use the CD to download a bonus acoustic song "Let it Out" from the Staind website, but the page was later removed. The song was later included on the deluxe edition of the band's next album, Chapter V.

A DVD-Audio edition of the album was also released, featuring a 5.1 surround sound version of the album, at high resolution (96 kHz/24-bit).

Touring and promotion[edit]

The single "Price to Play" was released in early anticipation of the album's debut. Three more singles were released over the next several months with accompanying music videos.

Staind supported 14 Shades of Grey with a series of in-store appearances followed by free club performances. They also performed with Label mates Cold during the summer of 2003. Concert setlists incorporated songs from the band's previous two albums.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Aaron Lewis; all music is composed by Staind.

No. Title Length
1. "Price to Play" 3:35
2. "How About You" 3:57
3. "So Far Away" 4:04
4. "Yesterday" 3:46
5. "Fray" 5:04
6. "Zoe Jane" 4:36
7. "Fill Me Up" 4:24
8. "Layne" 4:25
9. "Falling Down" 3:55
10. "Reality" 4:37
11. "Tonight" 4:24
12. "Could It Be" 4:43
13. "Blow Away" 6:14
14. "Intro" 4:28
Total length: 62:12



  • Aaron Lewis – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Mike Mushok – lead guitar
  • Johnny April – bass, backing vocals
  • Jon Wysocki – drums

Additional Musicians

  • Josh Abraham — Keyboards (tracks 4, 14), Programming (track 4), String Arrangements
  • David Khane — String Arrangements
  • Tony Reyes — Keyboards (tracks 6, 7, 14)
  • Anthony Valcic — Keyboards and Programming (track 4)


  • Josh Abraham — Producer
  • Brandon Belsky — Assistant Engineer
  • Jon Berkowitz — Third Engineer
  • Gregory Gigendad Burke — Art Direction and Design
  • DJ Lethal — A&R
  • Fred Durst — A&R
  • Jones G - Assistant Engineer
  • Scott Gutierrez — Assistant Engineer
  • Anthony Mandlet — Photo
  • Cailan McCarthy — Artist Coordination
  • Joey Paradise — Assistant Engineer
  • Jeff Philips — Assistant Engineer
  • Jordan Schur — Executive Producer
  • Steve Sisco — Assistant Mixing
  • Anthony Valcic — Additional Engineering
  • Mark Valentine — Assistant Engineer
  • Dane Venable — Product Manager
  • Darren Venditti — Assistant Engineer
  • Andy Wallace — Mixing
  • Josh Wilbur — Digital Editing
  • Ryan Williams — Engineer


Initial critical response ranged from mixed to average. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 41, based on 10 reviews.[1]

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
2003 Billboard 200 1[13]
Canada 8
UK 16[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Critic Reviews for 14 Shades of Grey". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. 14 Shades of Grey at AllMusic. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  3. ^ Thompson, Stephen (May 27, 2003). "Staind: 14 Shades Of Grey". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  4. ^ Ousborne, Jeff (June 13, 2003). "14 Shades of Grey Review". Entertainment Weekly. p. 96. Archived from the original on June 19, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (June 26, 2003). "Staind: 14 Shades Of Grey: Music review". Rolling Stone (RS 925). Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  6. ^ "Staind - 14 Shades Of Grey". Uncut. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  7. ^ Rogan, Josh (May 26, 2003). "Staind - '14 Shades Of Grey'". Yahoo! Music UK. Archived from the original on August 23, 2004. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  8. ^ Staind Gets Good News On The Home Front, Goes Gold Yahoo! Music (July 23, 2003). Retrieved on 2-24-10.
  9. ^ Fuoco, Christina liveDaily Interview: Mike Mushok of Staind LiveDaily.com (January 7, 2004). Retrieved on 2-24-10. Archived July 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Staind Aiming For May 6 To Release 'Break The Cycle' Follow-Up Yahoo! Music (January 20, 2003). Retrieved on 2-24-10.
  11. ^ Staind's '14 Shades Of Grey' In Stores Yahoo! Music (May 20, 2003). Retrieved on 2-24-10.
  12. ^ Staind Shares Concept Behind '14 Shades Of Grey' Yahoo! Music (May 13, 2003). Retrieved on 2-24-10.
  13. ^ Chart information at AllMusic. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  14. ^ "Staind - 14 Shades of Grey - Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 22, 2011.