I'm not the best judge. Strictly in terms of record sales, I assume the answer is yes. The band was easily one of the most popular of the late '90s and early '00s. Six million copies sold of the debut, 1997's My Own Prison, 11 million of Human Clay, released two years later, and another six million of 2001's Weathered. That's not just success, that's success at a level we rarely see anymore.
Despite their mass appeal, I've always been skeptical about Creed. Why? When they came up, they were pegged as a Christian rock band (a tag Stapp's frequent Christ-on-the-cross posing did little to discourage). Unfairly or not, the idea of the band as proselytizers put me off. But more importantly, I thought the music was unremarkable--plodding Muscle-bound reworking of Pearl Jam, with all of that older band's warmth and psychological intensity replaced by chest-beating bravado and blandly messianic lyrics. Sure, hit power ballads "Higher," "With Arms Wide Open," and "My Sacrifice" were admirable in their blustery way--the band had no shortage of strong vocal melodies and big guitar hooks--but there was nothing in the band's music to suggest they would ever transcend their influences. Simply put, Creed was not my bag.
Whose bag is it now? Nickelback fans? Chad Kroeger's band certainly has affinities with Creed in its knack for marrying not-too-heavy metal riffs with pop melodies, but they never go for the larger-than-life heroism to which Stapp always aspired. Kid Rock? The rock 'n' roll Jesus sounds just as good as Creed coming from the stereo of a pickup truck, but he's way more of an unencumbered good time, and far more self-aware, than our returning prodigal sons. Really, there doesn't seem to be anyone else like Creed out there right now. Which means there's either a niche that needs filling--or that we've all moved on.
Which do you think it is?
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- Mark Tremonti