196. Human Clay – Creed

HUMAN CLAY (1999)

Creed

A few years before it was “cool” to rip on Creed, it was very cool to love Human Clay. I chuckle at all those who ridicule the band while at the same time owning an album that “everybody” owns. Selling over 15 million copies worldwide and placing itself in the Top 50 of albums sold ALL TIME, Human Clay is simply one of the most successful album to feature Biblical themes and imagery ever released.

It also kicks ass!

The second release from the band and the first major success, Human Clay debuted at number one on the Billboard sales chart after nearly going gold in its first week. The major success may have influenced the band to seek more commercial sounds in later releases, but that is not the case with his album. They still rocked and rocked hard. This is not the big power ballad anthem of later releases though two songs do fit that category, and quite possibly defined the category.

The album starts with the apropos titled “Are You Ready?” Simple and soft electric guitar intro explodes quickly into a plodding and grinding aural assault and passion and energy. No matter what ones opinion is of the eccentric and often troubled lead vocalist, Scott Stapp, for some time he was the strongest rock vocalist out there. His baritone lower register would often only set up the stronger and compelling higher register explosion that shook the rock world.

The Biblical imagery is unmistakable as Stapp’s upbringing as a “PK” would mold and influence his lyrical content despite his own self-admitted protestations. This inner turmoil is quite possibly one factor why the songs on this album especially are both so tormenting and inspirational.

The previously mentioned “power ballads” that appear back to back on the album made the band superstars, but should be placed in the proper context of the album as a whole. Though the band would later fall into the trap of trying to recreate “With Arms Wide Open” and “Higher,” it is because these two songs are son great that the attempts to to follow them up was so tempting.Sometimes the snotty rock critic needs to get off their superiority high horse and just admit that songs like these two are actually quite compelling and enjoyable.

Though over a decade old and stuck squarely into a particular musical expression, the album retains an authentic quality that transcends the late 90’s grunge scene and makes it more timeless sounding than many other releases from the same era.

 

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  1. Greenchili
    March 24, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Wow talk about a short lived band.. But then some artists seem to have just enough to say to fill up a couple albums. Anywho finally got around to listening to this album. Stapp’s enunciation style reminds me of Mac Powell from Third day.

  2. Tim Cheveldae
    June 21, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Creed self-imploded because of getting too big way too fast. When I used to work for a Christian music website, I had this album as my number 1 out of the top 10 most important/influential Christian albums ever. Yes, they got fairly popular with My Own Prison, but this album rocketed them to superstardom. It was because of this one people went back and purchased My Own Prison.

    That being said, I still occasionally bust out this album and crank it up to 11. My girlfriend likes to bust my balls about this, but she likes Nickelback, who hopped on to Creed’s coattails when they became popular. So I win.

  3. February 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I popped in Human Clay today and I remembered why I loved Creed! This album absolutely rocked! It wasn’t pretentious and I think everyone was at their peak with Human Clay.
    Sigh! I do miss that

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