"It is unfortunate that "Stain" was the least popular Living Colour c-d when originally released (and therefore, the least appreciated); but there is growing consensus today that "Stain" is their masterpiece--as much as an advance on "Time's Up" as that album was for "Vivid." Part of the reason maybe that the strong funk-rock fusion that was present before ("Love Rears It's Ugly Head", "Elvis is Dead", etc.)is largely absent here--with the exception of "WTTF"--their best instrumental track. This was their hardest, edgiest work yet; the sheer bleakness of most of the songs dealing with alienation, indifference, hatred, insanity and persecution might have proved too "heavy"; and the occasional satiric song, such as "Mind Your Own Business", didn't balance out the intensity the way previous recordings did. But, the hard-edged approach is justified with the lyrics achieving a new maturity that had Living Colour getting under the skin of its disfunctional characters instead of the effective yet simplistic preaching that was characterisitc of their first two albums. Songs like "Go Away", "Ignorance Is Bliss", "Auslander", "Never Be Satisfied", "Leave It Alone", and "The Postman", testify to Living Colour's growing artistry. Compare the earlier, similiarly themed "Middle Man" with the deceptively jaunty "Leave It Alone" or note how the lush orchestration on "Nothingness" underscores the song's nihilism. In fact it is only when you reach "Stain's" coda "The Wall" that Living Colour reverts back to using a more typical "message" song that it almost disappoints . ("Time's Up" final song, the haunting "This Is The Life" is certainly more memorable.) But, "Stain" is a dynamic album and contains what is Living Colour's greatest song ever--"Bi." A perfect blend of pop, r&b and heavy metal, without a trace of preachiness, witty yet serious, it's light tone contributing to its provocativeness--"Bi" represents Living Colour at their musical and lyrical best and for that alone makes "Stain" a must buy."
Still rad after all these years...
D. Galante | watchcity, Ma | 04/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These guys get no love...this album smokes-the band is on fire, period. I havn't listened to this in a while, and it sounds as good, if not better, than I remember. The production is mint-the bass is clear, the guitars thick, shreddin' and heavy, the drums are poundin', this album is just a sonic boom. I have to compare them to the Chili Peppers for the sole reason that the vocals are the weak link-Corey sounds great and all, but the band behind him is just a MACHINE...a FORCE. This band deserves respect, and I resent the fact that they don't get it...because when you talk about Living Colour, all people remember is the guy with the dreads dancin' around in a dayglo Body Glove outfit. Yikes."
WILLIE A YOUNG II | Houston, TX. | 07/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The addition of legendary bassist Doug Wimbish was an inspired move! The brothers in Living Colour have never sounded angrier and more focused than they do on this, thier final studio album. The opening "Go Away" roars and sounds like a battalion of tanks coming to flatten everything in it's path. Corey Glover unleashes a parched, barking, gruff and soulful delivery on this track that may frighten you upon first listening and the lyrics are classic ("I don't want anybody to touch me, I think that everybody has AIDS, What's the point in praying for you, You're gonna die anywayhay!"), frightening? You better believe it! and that's whole point. Upon it's release in 1993, guitarist and band founder Vernon Reid described the album as "music for misfits" and he couldn't be more right. As violent as most of "Stain" sounds, the LP also has moments of sheer beauty the most notable example being the guitarless ballad "Nothingness". Recorded outside at night (listen close and you'll hear the crickets chirping in the background) with lead vocalist Glover singing into a satellite dish for a stunning double tracked effect, "Nothingness" is a moment of absolute perfection, it simply can't be touched. My personal faves are the walloping "Leave It Alone" (don't you just love the coda with Vernon soloing over the top of Doug's funky, popping bass and William Calhoun's fat bottomed drumming?), the punk attack of "This Little Pig" (the reference to the Rodney King beating that opens the track will drive the point home) featuring one of the albums most inspired solos( Vernon simply riffing hard, heavy and relentless on the same three chords for nearly a minute) it WILL have you banging your head. The art-rock pretensions of "WTFF", "Hemp" and the trippy, multi-layered, psychedelic closer "Wall" which bangs you over the head with it's message of Acceptance and Non-Predjudice. Special Musical Note: Drummer William Calhoun is in especially fine form on "Auslander", his snare and foot work on the choruses is ferocious! I really hated to see them go, but the the best black rock band on the planet went out with a bang! Living Colour, you are sorely missed."
Perfection - The bands best album, it doesn't get any better
selffate | Washington, DC USA | 10/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Stain came out in 1993, it was lost in a sea of the new music of grunge and alternative, seemingly meant to be forgotten. What ended up was a perfect album with the new member of Doug Wimbish who within 30 seconds of his introduction flattens any pre-conceived notions and questions of his ability to replace former talented bassist Muzz Skillings.Stain is an album that has perfect flow, great groove, killer sonic power, and songs that hold your attention one after the other. The band litteraly plays it's BUT off, and the album is not just mixed with the great talent of rock musicianship, but also of various styles, and with some good industrial sampling to boot.Lyricaly it's also the most provocative, from songs of alienation , guilt and indifference ('Go Away', 'Ignorance is Bliss', 'Leave It Alone'), humour ('Bi', 'Mind Your Own Business'), political issues ('Auslander', 'This little Pig', 'Wall') and touching moments typified in 'Hemp' and the brilliance of the track 'Nothingness'.The album is in simply one word: flawless. It was a crying shame that the band called it quits after this album. The darkness of this album and it's previous album 'Times up' was an oddity compared to it's fun rocking begginings long since past. The album has everything including the kitchen sink. Gem mint, get it."
Unfairly neglected, even by this fan
John S Hess | Grenoble France | 09/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I very much enjoyed Living Colour's first two albums, and received this one as a birthday present. I listened to it a bit, didn't "get" it, and it languished on the back shelf of my tape collection for 6 years. Maybe I was still a little miffed that they showed up late and evidently drunk for that London show a couple years before. Anyway I dug it out a few months ago just for kicks, and could not believe how good it sounded to me now. I agree with an earlier reviewer who believes that Living Colour found a genuinely original voice with this last album. This band's strength had always been carefully managed dissonance, and here they played to this strength on every song. Even apparently melodic tunes like "Nothingness" and "Bi" juxtapose sweetish music with ironic or nihilistic lyrics. The intensity they manage to sustain is most impressive--check out even the little 3 minute throwaway song "This Little Pig" with its rapid changes in rhythm and and texture.It is indeed too bad that Living Colour broke up when they had apparently reached a new level of creativity. From what I understand, it was a minor miracle they stayed together long enough even to get Stain finished, so I suppose we should be grateful. Buy this and prepare to rock at a new level."