SOOOO much better than Libertad.
Yeah, Libertad was pretty bad. I was so pumped for it after watching the band interviews and the video diaries. But after I listened to it a couple times, I thought it was a bit of a let down. Everyone was raving about She Mine, Mary Mary, For a Brother etc but it just didn't connect with me at all.
My biggest gripe had to be the production of it though. Brendan O'Brien did wonders for RATM and STP, but he dropped the ball on this one, big time. Contraband wasn't anything special when it came to the production, everything seemed rendered in the bass frequencies, but at least the riffs were tight and the solos had vigor to them. Libertad, on the other hand, sounded like a collection of undermixed demos. And lord almighty, there was too much pop present throughout the album.
Hasn't put me off the band though - Contraband for me is one of the best rock albums since 2000. Was interesting that the band put out a raw, thumping, darker record when they had next to no time.... you could almost hear the urgency in the music. Then when they had a lot of time to follow it up, they went down the more mainstream sounding route.