“Change,” “Outside,” “Epiphany,” “Fade” and “Suffer” all express pain or frustration, yet seem hopeful, wanting to rise above anger and resentment. “Open Your Eyes” grieves for an apathetic, selfish culture blind to human suffering and the vices consuming kids. “Fade” reminds fans that providing a listening ear can spare someone pain. On “Safe Place,” lead singer Aaron Lewis thanks his wife for helping him to maintain a healthy perspective on rock ‘n’ roll life. “Waste” vehemently condemns suicide. However . . .
Even thematically positive tracks aren’t immune to profanities and obscenities (f- and s-words are quite common). “Safe Place,” “Pressure,” “Epiphany” and “It’s Been a While” allude to drug use or addiction. Though “For You” makes a valid point about teens’ need for support at home, it’s an angry, sarcastic anthem directed at parents who failed to meet the enraged singer’s needs.
The fact that Break the Cycle acknowledges inner turmoil without basking in it is significant. Metal music isn’t exactly known for its optimism. “You can see that there might be a glimmer of hope on this record,” Lewis told Billboard. “It’s finally like I’m seeing the light [at the end of] a 28-year-old tunnel.” Great. Unfortunately, any lyrical light is all but extinguished by coarse language.