Creed was one of the most polarizing bands of the late 90’s, and to this day, I still find people who take pride in hating Creed. While I was never a fan in the “listened to all of their albums” sense, I did like Creed’s sound, and I’d like to use this article to explain why Creed was not as bad as people think. I hear a lot of faulty criticism, and I will address as much as I can. (I will only be looking at Creed’s early albums, not the stuff they’ve done since getting back together. I’ve only heard a couple of their new songs)
The genre I’d assign to Creed is post-grunge, and their contemporaries were bands like Seether and Puddle of Mudd. Due to Creed’s success, the band they are instead compared to is usually Nickelback. This is the first failure of critics (or perhaps I should just use the term “haters”). Nickelback’s biggest problem as a band is the habit of reusing the same chord progression and in some cases even reusing the exact way of playing them. Their music has rightly been used as the definition of made-for-radio rock. Creed had many hits, but their music is not so simple. Say what you will about Scott Stapp (I’ll get to him later), the rest of the band was quite talented. Mark Tremonti managed to make every song unique, even in the ones that did reuse chord progressions. Complaining about the radio rock nature of Creed is usually just an extension of hating mainstream music altogether.
The next issue I contest is the matter of calling Creed awful NOW, a decade after their peak relevance. I hate when people who listen to bad music take a band like Creed and say “at least I didn’t listen to them.” The unfortunate truth is that the radio rock of today is on average worse than what it was when Creed was huge. I would rather listen to Creed than the southern-style rock or party rock that I’ve criticized in previous articles. Again, what Creed did was try to infuse some talent into their music, and a lot of contemporary rock bands really aren’t trying as hard. They go for a certain attitude, rather than writing original music. I’m not going to present a large list of modern post-grunge bands that are worse than Creed, but if you look the tag up on last.fm, I’d argue that at least 75% fall under that category. Basically, if you particularly dislike Creed, I’d have to assume you just don’t enjoy the genre either.
And then we have Scott Stapp. Do I care if he was a douchebag? No. I only ever listened to their music, and I’m not interested in his off-stage antics. Is his voice modeled after grunge artists? Yes. His genre is post-grunge, after all. Could Creed have had a better vocalist? Maybe, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. I’ve had to listen to vocalists that were far more annoying than Stapp, and they didn’t have the band to back it up. Unsurprisingly to me, such is the music of people who often criticize Creed’s vocals.
To be honest, I think one of the lasting impressions Creed had on people – and the real reason they hold a grudge against them – is the fact that they were allegedly a Christian rock band. This never mattered to me, but I can see very clearly that many people found this offensive, and couldn’t like Creed because of it. Now, if these “haters” had been listening to better rock or better music the last 10 years, I would say that they didn’t miss anything by ignoring Creed. That’s not the case, though. Fellow hard rock fans around me deeply dislike Creed while enjoying many equivalent or worse bands, and I have now discussed the illogical nature of those feelings. Keep on hating.