Rock band Creed exploded onto the scene in 1999 with their sophomore release, Human Clay. They were the originators of a sound that so many bands try to mimic. With strong guitar work, pounding drums, and soaring vocals, it was no wonder that the band was a smash success at radio. However, it was the deep spiritual content that seemed to be hidden amongst vague lyrics that caught the attention of many Christians. When pressed with the question of "are they or aren't they a Christian band?" they'd always respond with a "no." Since the break-up of Creed, lead singer Scott Stapp found himself in a very different place. He was divorced, leaving him a single father, and no longer had the hottest rock band in music. It was at this point that caused a spiritual renewal in Stapp's life. Fast forward to 2005 and the release of Stapp's first solo project, The Great Divide. After his contribution to the Songs Inspired By The Passion of the Christ release and a poignant interview with Christianity Today, fans were ready to hear what the renewed former frontman of Creed had to say, but would they like it?
After my initial listen through of the album, I found myself thinking that Stapp had picked up right where he had left off with Creed musically. There appears to be little loss without his former bandmates. This has the marks of everything Stapp had become famous for. Hard edge rock that was starting to prevail on Creed's last release is present right from the beginning of this release with songs like "Reach Out" and "Fight Song." The title track and first single, "The Great Divide," is one of those big rock-pop songs that Stapp pulls off so well.
The real change is the blatancy of the spiritual content in the lyrics where it had once been far more subtle. "Surround Me" is about a man at the end of his rope, feeling all alone, and he finds himself praying for God to surround him with His presence. "Broken" utilizes a choir to create a very grand sound. Stapp tells the listener that he knows what it feels like to be confused and pleads with them to learn to love again. The crux of the song and what love really means comes in the second verse, "One more question… I know time is dear / Is what the world speaks of love really real? / The answers not of this world but very clear / Look above to find love and you found eternal life."
The spiritual content is not left to the ballads and apparent hits though. Hard rockin' "Fight Song" deals with letting go of things that are keeping the songwriter from the gift that love has given him. The song "Hard Way" is a cautionary tale directed towards the rich and famous about how quickly it can all go away. Here Stapp asks and answers his own question with "So what am I supposed to do when all I've got is God and you? / I guess I'll trust the one I can't see…"
Overall, The Great Divide seems to be a continuation of the "Creed sound" with the addition of straight ahead Christ-centered lyrics. It's great to hear Stapp talking about his renewed faith through his music without question. If you were a fan of Creed or of any bands that have tried to mimic that sound, then this is a must buy for you. For those of you who are just looking for something new to check out, then you won't be disappointed if you take a look here.- Review date: 1/28/06, written by Matt Johnson
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