Creed - Human Clay
September 28, 1999 on Wind-Up Records
Scott Stapp - Vocals
Mark Tremonti - Guitars
Scott Philips - Drums
Brian Marshall - Bass
The name sparks a huge rift in the music community. Some cite Creed as the worst band in existance, and some say that Creed was a great, talented band. The band was one of the most popular artists in the late 20th/early 21st century. They had everything: awards, fans, great records. Sadly, the group split up on June 4th, 2004, because of communication issues. Marshall had left the band earlier, after their second album, Human Clay. They released 3 albums: their debut, My Own Prison, Human Clay, their most successful, and Weathered. Since the band disbanded, a greatest hits album has been released, and Tremonti, Philips, and Marshall have started a new band, Alterbridge, with singer Myles Kennedy, and Stapp has become a successful solo artist.
The album kicks off with Are You Ready?
It starts off very deceptively, with just the guitar playing...then the whole song just explodes. The distortion kicks in, the rest of the band comes in, and the whole song just takes on a whole new level of energy. When I was younger, i put this on for my friend while he had headphones on, and he jumped out of his chair at this part...thats how unexpected it is. This riff keeps getting repeated over and over (it functions as the verse) as Stapp comes in. I really like Stapp’s voice...even though he pretty much ripped it off completely from the band Pearl Jam, it goes quite well with the music. A chorus is played (strummed chords and a few notes, vocals...the whole thing) and we go back to another verse. The chorus is repeated yet again, and an interlude results. The distortion is shut off, and the guitar is left alone for a few seconds. However, the rest of the band comes back in, and Stapp comes back in, counting down from 10. The distortion kicks back in, the song gains a crapload more energy, and the interlude is repeated with this newfound energy spark. A different interlude is played, with Stapp repeating “Your life has/Just begun" over and over. The chorus is repeated three times, and the second interlude comes back in, and the song ends on this with a held chord. A decent opener...however, it gets bonus points for being so deceptive. 8.5/10
The next track, What If
, is better. It starts with a clean, fingerpicked guitar (i believe), and then suddenly gets quiet. Gradually, you hear a distorted guitar very VERY low, and Tremonti comes in overdubbed with a clean guitar (they played the clean part live). A distorted harmonic, and the whole band comes in, including Stapp. A chorus ensues after this verse (which is a bit longer than the one in Are You Ready?), and the chorus is excellent. The guitar holds chords while Stapp sings,
“What if, you did
What if, you lied
What if, I avenged
What if I, for an eye"
Band stops, another distorted harmonic, and another verse comes in. It goes on, and another chorus is repeated. An interlude is played; a palm muted distorted guitar put through a wahwah pedal is the main part here. The guitar goes out, and Stapp comes back in. The guitar fades back in, and Stapp’s voice gradually gets rougher and louder. Finally, it explodes, with Stapp shouting “What if/What if I" over and over over guitar chords. The chorus is repeated, and a little variation on the lyrics is repeated with the chorus musical part. Stapp goes back to his “What if" part; this is repeated a few times, and the song ends on an “I?" by Stapp. I like this song...its one of my personal favorites, and very easy to get into. 9.5/10
The third track, Beautiful
, starts with Stapp and a clean guitar. This intro goes on until Stapp stops, at which point, the distortion kicks in, the rest of the band comes in, and a part is played in classic Creed fashion. The intro guitar part is repeated with Stapp over it, and then, a chorus ensues. The so called “chorus" is just the distorted intro part with Stapp singing over it. He sings,
“But beautiful, is angry
Beautiful, is free
Beautiful, loves no one
Beautiful, stripped me"
The song seems to be about Stapp, and a former girlfriend, perhaps? One may never know...anyway, the verse part comes back in, this time with the whole band (clean guitar, bass, drums, yada yada yada). Drums fade out as Stapp comes back, and then the drums start to do some tom hits, and the chorus is repeated yet again. The part after the chorus, where Stapp keeps singing “Stripped me" is dragged out a little...however, the band minus Stapp enters an interlude, which is one of the best parts of the album. This part is...well, it sounds really touching. There really is no other word to describe it...it conveys a lot of sadness. Stapp comes back in for the second half of the interlude, and the chorus is repeated. The song ends with Stapp holding a note, and the guitar holding its chord. This song screams mediocre...however, it is saved from being completely horrid by the interlude. 7/10
The next track, Say I
, starts off with a bang. The whole band, distortion included, blasts out with a classic Creed riff that appears to be blues-influenced in parts (although the influence is minimal). The distortion fades, the bass has its little part, and the guitar comes back in without its distortion. Stapp comes in a little later, and the melody switches up a little bit as Stapp sings,
“Who is to blame?
We’ll surely melt, in the rain
The intro riff kicks back in with Stapp shouting “Say I" over it. The chorus is very repetitive...the band should have switched some of the lyrics on this part instead of repeating the same thing over and over. The verse and chorus are repeated, and palm muted guitar riffs are played over Stapp saying (what else?) “Say I". He fades out, and comes back in with a harmony. They sing over a voice speaking, with the guitar playing its palm muted part. The distortion turns off, and the guitar plays a little variation on the verse part. The rest of the instruments fade out, and the last chorus starts off clean, with just the guitar and Stapp. Soon enough, everything kicks back in: distortion and the rest of the band. The song ends with some palm muting. Boring, repetitive, tasteless...this track is worth skipping over. 6.5/10
starts off in traditional Creed fashion: a clean guitar. It plays its part, and the rest of the band comes in, minus Stapp. He comes in a short while later. They do their part, and then the guitar and Stapp are left, the guitar with chords. The rest come back in shortly, and fade out again. This part is repeated twice, and the intro is played again. Another verse ensues, and the guitar and Stapp are left again, playing the same riff of the “chorus". However, the real chorus ensues right after that. The distortion kicks in, and Stapp’s voice jumps in energy level. After this part, the guitar plays a palm muted part, and Stapp comes in over this. The distortion switches off, and Stapp repeats, “I hope I helped you live" over a few guitar notes. On the final “live", the distortion kicks back in, and the band does an interlude part before going into the chorus again. It closes with a held guitar chord and Stapp. Another skippable track...it seems like filler. 6/10
opens with what sounds like guitar feedback in the background. A clean guitar comes in over this, and Stapp comes in soon after. The guitar switches from a clean electric to an acoustic (it seems) with the feedback still in the background. Stapp sings “Again I stand/Lord I stand/Against the faceless man" while the acoustic and electric guitar alternate. The rest of the band comes in after this, and another verse is played. The interlude is played (that’s what I call it) with the acoustic part played by the electric. The drums and bass fade out, leaving Stapp and the guitars again. Stapp then sings, “Again I stand/Lord God i stand (his voice changes dramatically in energy)/Against the faceless man" once again as the distorted guitar kicks in, and plays a palm muted buildup. The religious influences are very clear in the song...no wonder some called Creed a Christian rock band. The band plays a new part while Stapp sings,
“Cause if the face inside/Can’t see the light, I know
I have to walk, alone"
The guitar is overdubbed on this part. Stapp then sings,
“And if I walk alone, to the other side/I know
I might not make it home"
The guitar plays its overdubbed part again, and Stapp sings the chorus part again. The distortion fades out as the guitar becomes clean again. It plays its part...this part of the song is very emotional. Stapp sings over it, and the guitar plays some higher notes, gradually becoming more and more distorted until it completely kicks in (I’m saying that alot...). Stapp then sings,
“Next time I see this face/ I’ll say
I choose to live/The wrong way
So won’t you come inside
And never go away"
The song appears to be about a journey, possibly a religious journey. The chorus is repeated a few times, and the distortion fades out, leaving (once again) Stapp and a clean guitar (deja vu??). The song ends with a guitar chord. This song is better than the previous 2...however, it still isn’t one of Creed’s best. But, it’s listenable. 7.5/10
The seventh track, Never Die
, is a personal favorite of mine. It opens with a fingerpicked guitar part. The hi-hats clash, and the rest of the band minus Stapp come in. They play the same part until it stops abruptly. Then, just as abruptly, it starts again, this time with Stapp. They go on for awhile, and the distortion kicks in. This part is basically the same as the verse, intro...the whole first part of the song. It’s just picked here. The distortion fades, and another verse ensues. The song is about eternal childhood...never growing old, searching for the fountain of youth. The chorus is repeated again, and an interlude is played. (Gasp!) It’s different than the rest of the song! I personally like this part alot...Stapp’s voice gets very emotional here, and the guitar complements him perfectly. The distortion kicks in, and the same riff is played. Another chorus is repeated twice, with a slight variation on the second repetition, and the distortion ends, still repeating the main riff of the song, just clean. The song ends this way. One of the better songs on the album, but some may be put off by its repetitive nature. 8.5/10
Ah...With Arms Wide Open
. SURELY you must have heard this track before...it was constantly on the radio. Even though the radio played the hell out of it, it never lost its charm for me...this song is still great. Opens with a clean guitar, possibly put through a delay pedal. Stapp comes in shortly after. This song was written about the birth of Stapp’s child (who was a boy)...it is clearly evident in the lyrics. He sings,
“Well I just heard/The news today.
Seems my life/Is gonna change.
I close my eyes/Begin to pray.
Then tears of joy/Stream down my face"
The chorus then begins. Still, to this day, even after owning this cd for at least 6 years , and listening to this song countless times, it STILL gives me goosebumps. THAT is a sure sign of emotion in a song. Stapp sings (and I’m sure you’ve heard this part of the lyrics before),
“With arms wide open/Under the sunlight.
Welcome to this place/I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open"
The drums kick in along with the start of the chorus, and then the verse is repeated.
Stapp sings in this part,
“Well I don’t know/If I’m ready
To be the man/I have to be
I’ll take a breath/I’ll take her by my side
We’re standing on/We created life"
He holds “Life" as the distortion kicks in. The chorus is then repeated, and he adds to the chorus part,
“Now everything has changed
I’ll show you love/I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open."
The verse part is played with him repeating choice parts of the chorus, and then the song takes a turn. The distortion comes back in, and an interlude ensues. Stapp sings in this part,
“If I had just one wish/Only one demand
I hope he’s not like me/I hope he understands
That he can take his life/And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world/With arms wide open"
The chorus is then repeated again, and the verse part comes back in. It ends with Stapp singing, “Wide open". Now, the lyrics are there to give you what i think is a terrific example of heartfelt lyrics. I am horrible at writing/understanding lyrics, so some of you may disagree when i say this, but these lyrics, in my opinion, are some of the best lyrics ever written. Sure, they may be more poppy and radio-friendly than others...however, the emotion Stapp puts into these lyrics, and his voice, just shows the true nature of what the band can do. One of THE best songs on the album, if not the best. 10/10
was the group’s first single, if I’m not mistaken. It opens with a great riff...i love this riff. The distortion kicks in, and the riff is repeated with the rest of the band. Distortion fades, and Stapp comes in. The verse goes on, and the distortion kicks back in, in the form of palm muted chords. Stapp sings over these,
“Let’s go there
Let’s make our escape
Cmon, let’s go there
Let’s ask, can we stay?"
The song seems to be about escaping to a new world, a new life (possibly Heaven, given the more religious nature of Stapp’s lyrics). The chorus kicks in...this is another great piece of music. Although it is pretty simple, it is heartfelt. The verse is repeated, the interlude is repeated, and the chorus is repeated (a lot of repetition...although no more than other songs of this one’s nature). The interlude is repeated yet again, and then the song goes back to the intro riff. A different interlude results, and Stapp sings,
“Up high I feel like I’m
Alive for the
Very first time
Said up high, I’m strong enough
To take these dreams
And make them mine".
The clean intro riff is repeated twice, and Stapp sings the second half of the interlude lyrics. The chorus is then repeated multiple times, and the song ends with a held chord and a held note by Stapp. Some people say singles are a bad representation of a band...however, I think the singles of Creed are great examples of what the band can do. 10/10
The tenth track, Wash Away Those Years
, is the longest on the album. It is also much slower than the other tracks...it has an almost ballad-y type feel. Opens in classic Creed fashion: a clean guitar, this time fingerpicked, and sounding like it has been put through a delay pedal. Stapp comes in shortly after, and his voice is the most emotional it gets on the album. His voice is terrific at this part. The chorus ensues...it is clean guitar chords, along with the rest of the band and Stapp. Stapp’s voice changes dramatically in this part...it takes a turn for the worse. He sounds like he normally would on the rest of the album...it would be fine for any other song, but it nearly ruins the emotional nature of the song. The verse is repeated again, this time with the whole band playing it. As always, the chorus is repeated, distorted this time. It is repeated twice, with slight (though barely noticeable) differences in the second part. A little interlude, and then the song goes into its most emotional part. The band first plays a little instrumental interlude, and Stapp comes in, with the most emotion I’ve ever heard him muster, on any album. He sings,
“For we have/crossed many oceans
And labor/In between
In life/there are many quotients
And I/hope i find the mean"
Math references? It seems corny (because it IS), but Stapp’s emotion outweighs the corniness. The chorus is repeated twice again. The interlude after the chorus is repeated again, and the song ends with a palm muted chord. Although the chorus of this song does not match the rest of the song AT ALL, the song has enough emotion to override this mistake. 7.5/10
Inside Us All
, once again, starts off with your fingerpicked clean guitar in Creed fashion. The band comes in shortly after, and Stapp comes in after the band. The distortion kicks in at the chorus. It goes on for a while, the verse is repeated, and the chorus is repeated again. The instruments play an interlude (the guitar sounds blues influenced again), and Stapp comes in after over them. The chorus is repeated once again, and the interlude is repeated, this time with different vocals. Tremonti has a little solo at this part, although it is a bad representation of what he is capable of (although still decent). The song ends with a fadeout of the interlude part. This part of the review seems a bit repetitive, don’t you think? Just like this song. It has filler plastered all over it...come to think of it, I’ve only listened to that song about 3 times in 6 years. 5/10
Although the album may seem like it is over, there is a hidden track: With Arms Wide Open (Orchestral version).
It’s just With Arms Wide Open changed around a little bit, with the addition of an orchestra. It’s pretty much the same as it’s unorcestrated counterpart...however, the orchestra adds a nice touch here and there. I’m not going to bother to review or rate this track, simply because it’s so similar to the other version.
Whether you love or hate Creed, they were on top of the world for a while. This is their essential album: it propelled them from the unknown to the well-known. Although some of the tracks are filler, there are others that were 10 times better than current songs on the radio at the same time. The music may seem simplistic...however, there is a deeper depth to their music. Try and play it, and you will see.