Worst band ever.

Paul Wong
Courtesy of VH1

Read that again, because I don”t want it to be interpreted rhetorically. I mean it. The only fitting reaction to Creed is to hate them with a ferocious intensity that knows no limits. That is, we should no, we must hate Creed, not just because their music redefines what it is to truly suck, but for everything this band represents.

There is no question that any semi-critical listener will agree that Creed is a lousy band, however it is quite another thing altogether, to suggest that Creed is the worst band of all time. In fact, a superficial analysis of Creed”s music can”t articulate just how profoundly shitty this band actually is. Sure, Creed is nothing but a watered-down Pearl Jam/Metallica hybrid. Yes, you could probably find a bunch of 10th graders who can write poetry just as “deep” as lead singer Scott Stapp”s lyrics by taking a trip to an introductory creative writing course at Huron High School. (Tell me it”d be hard to find a 15-year-old who couldn”t out-write Stapp. The chorus of the album”s title track declares that “Me I”m rusted and weathered/barely holding together/I”m covered with skin that peels and it just won”t heal” now that”s suck-tastic!) But these factors alone don”t make Creed the worst band to ever walk the earth.

Thus, we need a more penetrating analysis if we are to understand how it is logically possible for these three losers to produce the musical equivalent of the Black Plague. Some might say that the religious undertones in Creed”s music are what make them so awful and I”m somewhat partial to this explanation. This doesn”t explain, however, why Creed is the worst and not a more explicitly Christian artist like Joan “what if God was one of us?” Osborne (which is not to say that she doesn”t chug too).

The problem with indicting all “Christian” music is that a lot of great tunes have Christian themes think Woody Guthrie”s “Jesus Christ,” Bob Marley”s “Rasta Man Chant,” and countless terrific old blues, folk, reggae, soul, bluegrass and country songs. Even those of us who are openly hostile to religion have to admit that there”s an authentic, earthy naivete, often tempered with a genuine emancipatory spirit that characterizes and legitimizes the best “Christian” music despite its silly spiritual pretensions.

Ironically, while Creed”s name implies serious fidelity to some sort of universal truth, their music, like their supposed spirituality, is just mushy fence-sitter Christian rock. For all the hootin” and hollerin” about Creed”s “power-packed message of hope,” there doesn”t seem to be much Stapp is saying on Weathered or any of Creed”s other albums. That is, of course, unless you think lines like “Children don”t stop dancing/Believe you can fly/Away away” from “Don”t Stop Dancing” or “Just give love to all/Let”s give love to all,” from “Lullaby,” constitute anything remotely “deep.”

Tell me Stappy, what are you soooo depressed about? What are the children supposed to be flying away from? Communists? Gay people? Your crazy Tammy-Faye Baker-wannabe mom? Jgermeister? (On the Creed “Behind the Music,” drummer Scott Phillips described one of the band”s darkest phases as when they”d do a couple of shots of Jger before every show).

Compare Stapp”s decontextualized quasi-hope to the above-mentioned Guthrie and Marley songs, where there”s some type of vision of a better world. When Guthrie sings “the cops and soldiers nailed him in the air/and they layed Jesus Christ in his grave,” he”s angry at the capitalist state. When Marley sings “one bright morning when my work is over/I will fly away home,” you at least know that he”s unsatisfied with the state of affairs in Jamaica but that he has hope for its future. Stapp doesn”t give us any clues he”s just a whiner riding the spiritual obscurantist gravy train.

Of course, Stapp”s message has to be “touching” someone. This “someone” is most certainly a member of that sub-human caste of people who live in cities like Grand Rapids (and like it), stick American flags on their cars and spend their money on Deepak Chopra enlightenment books and the “Chicken Soup for the ________ Soul” series. If these generalizations seem a little harsh, I suggest you watch the shots of the people that actually go to Creed concerts on VH-1″s “Behind the Music.”

“Creed means a lot to me and they saved my life … Rock on Creed Everyone!! Unite!!” wrote phyco_creed_fan@yahoo.com on a Creed fansite on the prestigious Geocities web hosting service. Jesus Christ … worst band ever.

Grade: F

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