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Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid is the debut studio album by the American rock band Collective Soul. It was originally released on vinyl on an indie label in Atlanta called Rising Storm Records in 1993. The track “Shine” gained the band attention thanks to college radio. They later signed on with Atlantic Records and the album was released on CD in 1994 under the Atlantic label.

The album’s title is derived from the lyrics of Paul Simon’s 1986 hit “You Can Call Me Al.” The cover art is a modified version of the original logo of Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 broadway musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, with just the man on the cover, the picture in color and on a red background and the knife replaced by a huge banner. The album’s opening track, “Shine,” would arguably become Collective Soul’s biggest hit.

Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid was recorded in a basement in 1992 as a promotional demo. Frontman Ed Roland hoped to simply sell the songs to a publishing company rather than form a band. He gave the demo to a small college radio station in Atlanta which began playing “Shine.” The track quickly became their most requested song and the band was asked to perform some concerts for the station. Favoring an opportunity to perform a few shows with his brother, Roland agreed and regathered the demo’s guitarist and drummer as well as his brother Dean.

However, the attention gained by “Shine” allowed it to chart and catapulted the band to national stardom. They were soon picked up by Atlantic Records who wished to release the demo as the debut studio album of Collective Soul. In a 1995 interview, Roland elaborated on his mixed feelings regarding the situation:

“It wasn’t even remixed. It was the same demo. Before we got signed we’d already charted with ‘Shine.’ Once we got signed I said, ‘We want to re-record. This is not a band recording.’ But they said, ‘You’re gonna lose momentum. You’re looking at a three to five month process. So let’s go with it and you can get your next record out quick.’ We thought it would be great to sell 10-20,000 units. [When it went gold], we were sitting there with our eyes wide open.”

Consequently, Collective Soul would regard their self-titled 1995 studio album under Atlantic as the band’s official debut. Roland told Metal Edge, “It’s so funny for people to compare the two. It’s like comparing one band to another band. [Collective Soul] is our first record, flat out.” Wikipedia link: