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Shinedown’s Brent Smith reflects on the sound and meaning of record-breaking single, "Atlas Falls"

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Atlantic

Not only did Shinedown‘s new single “Atlas Falls” give the band a record-breaking 16 number-one hits on Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Songs chart, it also serves as a time capsule of a different era.

The track was originally written during the sessions for Shinedown’s 2012 album Amaryllis, which frontman Brent Smith tells ABC Audio was nicknamed “The Kitchen Sink.”

“We threw everything on it and the kitchen sink,” Smith recalls of Amaryllis. “It is a very epic, cinematic-sounding record.”

“I mean, there’s five songs on the record that have a 24-piece orchestra,” he says. “There’s layers of vocals and guitars…with the harmonies in some of those songs, we used and borrowed a lot from Queen. We wanted it to be epic.”

It was that cinematic quality the first struck Smith when he revisited “Atlas Falls” earlier this year.

“When I heard it for the first time, I was just, like, ‘Wow, I don’t remember it being that large,’ if you will,” Smith shares.

He adds, “But I remembered the words.”

Ultimately, it was the lyrics of “Atlas Falls” that led Shinedown to officially release the song. It premiered this past March alongside a campaign to raise money for Direct Relief, which is providing healthcare workers with personal protective equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While “Atlas Falls” hearkens back to a past Shinedown era sonically, Smith feels that lyrically, it feels very relevant in the time of COVID-19.

“I just heard the optimism in the song,” Smith explains. “I remembered when the song was written how powerful I felt the song was, and how, still to this day, I’ve always thought that song had a very strong message.”

By Josh Johnson
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