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.


7 thoughts on “A defense of Creed

  1. Interesting. I always thought the same. And I would consider myself a Nickelback hater…. But mainly because a) chad kroeger is an uberdouche b) the music is postpostpostgrunge i.e 1% grunge 99% pop. Please explain to me though why reusing the same chords is so annoying to you and you immediately discredit it as bad music? I’ve never really thought that way, well to degree, but I think chord progression is a small part of music. What about changes in drums, playing style, vocals and instrumentation?


  2. I’m willing to put up with a lot, actually, since every band in existence has made a song at least using the Canon progression. What bothers me about Nickelback is this effect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs4tNeGyTyI . The fact that I can take the chords from one Nickelback song and sing another one on top is a big no-no for me, in music. I can do it for other bands (usually pop). They don’t actually CHANGE the instrumentation or the playing style, in some cases. It’s annoying to me because they’re not trying hard enough. They just played the chords, realized they made for a catchy tune, and put lyrics on top of them (like so many bands before them).In music where they do change the small things, but find themselves coming back to the same progressions, it is noticeable but not as bad. I will always prefer to hear something a bit more original, because I’ve heard takes on the “magic 4 chords” in every genre I listen to.


  3. I will agree that the magic 4 chords are used ALOT in pop music.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_progression#Three-chord_progressionsI believe (in most cases) its more of a psycho acoustic effect rather then something that is intentional.It a fact that the I-IV-V chord progression sounds good; pleasing to the ear. Its no surprise that alot of pop music reflects this as pop music is designed to make the listener feel good. I myself noticed when I first started producing music that I would subconsciously gravitate towards certain progressions – one of the first songs I wrote was using the I – IV – V progression. Theres something uplifting about the I – IV – V progression. In the case of Nickelback however – yes I will agree – that is a blatant carbon copy of one of their existing songs and theres simply no excuse for it. It not only copies the progression but the playing style and structure as well. I didnt mind Nickelback until I heard that song.


  4. I think its wrong to judge all music by the same standards you judge Nickelback however. Nickelback are a rock band. Rock music is for most purposes designed for listening. Therefore I would expect a Rock band to push boundaries a bit and keep the listener interested. Nickelback obviously craft their hits to appeal to the masses and therefore their music lacks alot of authenticity.Dance music on the other hand has an entirely different purpose. To be danced to. And I can tell you now that the best dance songs are the simplest ones with a clear focus on melody and progression. Below are few examples where simple works-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pe0MK8a45Q&ob=av3nhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNqferTMaw&feature=fvstI notice in alot of your posts that you seem to gravitate towards “complicated” music with a view that these somehow require more effort and talent and are therefore ‘better”.


  5. I think that view holds true for some forms of music… but not all. When I listen to music I judge it not by its complexity but by how each element of the music works together and whether it achieves its intended purpose for the listener/dancer/headbanger. Complex music requires effort in that each element has to work together and harmonize without coming across as a jumbled mess. Minimal music may have fewer elements – but what elements you do have you have to get right and make them stand out. Complex music is about correct orchestration. Minimal music is about correct instrumentation.I always use the same analogy but it holds true. Music production is alot like cooking and sometimes even the simplest dish can have 1000 different variations and some alot better than others. So you may say scrambled eggs is no , but I would disagree. Any mistakes you make are going to be all the more noticeable in a simpler dish.


  6. I also get to make this argument a lot, so I will give my latest rendition of it. :DI must preface with the fact that I simply don’t listen to dance music at all, but I don’t NECESSARILY have a problem with “simple” music. I give credit to artists that make music for the sake of the art. The reason I don’t respect – and I think respect is probably the term, rather than “like” – a band like Nickelback is because I listen to them and think:”You guys aren’t making music for art, you’re making music to make money. I can tell, because you keep reusing your songs. Not just some chords, not just structure, you actually have managed to release the same song multiple times. Old rock used to have intros, verses, choruses, interludes, breaks, guitar solos, and outros. In the age of intro verse chorus, you can’t even do one creative thing? Then why should I even listen to your music?”There are a lot of bands with more technical or complex songs than Nickelback, but that isn’t the ONLY problem. Minimalist groups still can be creative, and the big mainstream artists just aren’t. Your scrambled eggs argument takes this into account: some artists can take “scrambled eggs” and do something to make it their own. They add seasoning by throwing in some guitar solos, or having a unique frontman, or experimenting with new sounds. Other artists will just go through the motions and give you the predictable result.I picked on Nickelback, but it is pandemic in mainstream music. My original point was just that Creed was not THAT bad. They had a lot more creativity than people give them credit for, even though their music WAS of the scrambled eggs variety.


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