This week was a very sad and depressing week for me because I realized that it has been over three entire months since the rock band Creed broke up. The fact that I didn’t even know they broke up until late July when I was over at a friend’s house and saw a t.v. commercial hocking the new Alter Bridge CD does not change the fact that I still have been taking the dissolution of Creed hard.
I don’t think I am being presumptuous when I state the musical world has lost something very special, and I think we ought to pause to mourn that loss. As you wipe a tear from your cheek let us review and consider Creed’s valuable contribution to the human experience.
Their profound, spiritual lyrics and deep, soulful melodies helped a broken and needy audience realize just how overwhelmingly good Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, pre-Saint Anger Metallica, and Ennio Morricone are.
Yes, Creed resides in that large space between Mozart and Slim Whitman, David Bowie and that fat Asian kid from American Idol--that large and stretching area populated by the likes of Britney Spears, Bing Crosby, and a post-Jurassic Park John Williams. People who have selflessly dedicated their lives to improving humankind’s appreciation of good music.
Imagine the horror you would experience if you turned on the radio and heard Bowie’s “Strangers When We Meet”, followed by Buddy Holly’s “It's So Easy”, followed by “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)”, by “I’m Not Afraid”, by “No Leaf Clover”, by “Down to the River to Pray”, by “Son of a Preacher Man”, by a little something by David Sylvian followed by Annie Lenox and maybe an instrumentals by Ennio Morricone or Vangelis Papathanassiou.
For the most part, I tried to pick examples that most people would recognize, but the principle remains even if you substituted the above items with the obscure offerings of underground new wave Russian folk/techno fusion bands.
Music executives know that the average radio listener is an uneducated Philistine who probably wouldn’t realize that putting “uneducated” in front of “Philistine” is redundant and who definitely would not be able to appreciate the high quality of the music on radio stations that consistently played unique and well-written songs.
That, my dear Readers, is where Creed came in. Out of the goodness of their hearts Scott Stapp and Mark Tremonti wrote music that, while in the grand scheme of things, didn’t suck (assuming “suck” is reserved for Anton LeVay’s synthesizer output) also wasn’t that good. It played in the background as you went on with the more important aspects of your life and only impressed itself upon your consciousness after the twenty-first time it showed up on the radio. “Ah, that’s nice,” you may have said vaguely to yourself before returning your focus to more important things.
And perhaps it was nice—if by “nice” you mean “mediocre, devoid of any originality, requiring no thought to listen to”.
But, there’s nothing wrong with that. Creed was supposed to be mediocre. Creed’s entire purpose was to create second-rate songs that would then be played on the radio to break up the slightly less mediocre music on the station's playlist, and, thereby eventually help us appreciate just how talented Frank Sinatra really was.
And God bless them for it, say I. I don’t know what I would do if I had to have my ears assaulted by soaring perfection every time I turned on the radio.
The problem, of course, with Creed was that after they became successful people forgot what the real purpose of the band was and started claiming that they were musical geniuses--a claim which was patently false. Mindless people bought into the hype and caused their CDs to go platinum a dozen times over. Shortly thereafter, intelligent people rebelled and started speaking out against such a travesty in musical taste. Those dedicated to high musical quality were helped in their campaign by Scott Stapp himself who started acting in an excessively irrational manner. A (slowly diminishing) legion of teenage fans still protested its undying devotion, but the world at large realized that Creed was a joke.
And thus ended the Saga of Creed.
But, I can’t help but mourn its passing. Mediocre music will always be a staple of the radio so why not play Creed’s substandard songs instead of Limp Bizkit’s? Creed at least didn’t swear every two seconds, and it was rather like elevator music in that you could tune it out at will.
Somehow I feel we have reached the end of an era. I doubt Scott Stapp will be particularly successful as an independent artist and Alter Bridge has a really lame name and a singer who lacks a deep, gravely voice with just a bit of a twang to it.
So, let us raise a glass and make a toast. “To Creed,” say I, “who spared me from listening to Matt Dusk and Sweet James, who was ready to be played whenever I didn’t want to work in silence but also didn’t want to listen to any music that forced me to pay attention to it, who helped me appreciate Bob Dylan in much the same way a ratty old sweatshirt from a thrift store helps me appreciate money--you will be missed....But not really, because I own all three of your CDs.”