Editor’s Note: I said I was going to review Creed’s new album, Full Circle, knowing full well that I wouldn’t like it. Well, in this season of giving, I’ve decided to relent. I sought out someone who would be infinitely more merciful to Creed than I could ever be. My first choice was His Holiness, the Dalai Lama but when I sent him a copy of the album he said, “I love you, Matt, but we Tibetans have suffered enough.” So then I remembered that Creed kinda has a thing for Jesus and I figured I’d let him take the reins and share his thoughts with us about Full Circle. Below, completely uncensored, is Jesus Christ’s review of the new Creed album.
Hi. I’m Jesus Christ. I don’t usually contribute to Bollocks!, but I’m doing a friend a favor (Chorpenning and I get together about once a year; I bring him John Coltrane bootlegs from Heaven and, in exchange, he supplies me with delicious microbrews. Keep this on the do-lo, okay? I don’t want the zealots getting all lathered up about the Rapture – I’ll initiate that particular party when y’all stop speculating about it, savvy?). I am a big fan of a lot of different kinds of music (Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix collaborated on an album last year that literally induces the listener to orgasm – but you can’t get it down here) and I was quite game to give Creed a listen since my pal claims he’s incapable of giving them a fair hearing.
Contrary to popular belief, I’ve never listened to Creed before. I hear that their singer, Scott Stapp, likes to imitate me from time to time. That’s cool, I s’pose. At any rate, I’ve listened to Full Circle several times now and, since I’m the All High Judge of Everybody (what can I say? I love my job), I expect that you will take my word as Gospel.
Full Circle is a great album.
Permit me to clarify: Full Circle is great album if you like trite, empty, corporate rock that fits like peas in a pod between Kid Rock and Nickelback (by the way, if Heaven has a greater musical enemy than Kid Rock, it can only be Ted Nugent). It’s great if you like a singer who sounds like he’s trying to shit out a bowling ball while simultaneously attempting to imitate Eddie Vedder’s sound from the first two Pearl Jam records (try this for me: while you’re listening to any given Creed song, just put on your best Vedder and sing “Jeremy spoke in class today” all weird and elongated – you’ll see what I’m getting at here). It’s awesome if you like a band that likes to sandwich wanky guitar solos between verses of single-fingered, Drop D “power chords” (for non-guitar people: you can tune your low E string down to a D, which gives you the option of playing “power chords” with just your index finger instead of the typical barred-chord fashion). I am only going to say this once, ye believers, so listen up: single-fingered “power chords” are the last refuge of scoundrels and complete pussies.
Lyrically, Full Circle is a mishmash of pain, blood, rain, crumbling walls, shame, heartache, hope, and light. I think Stapp (I assume he writes this dreck) might literally just be pulling words like that out of a hat and pasting them into lines about how tortured he either is now or used to be or both. He starts the album off by singing about how he’s “entitled” to overcome. Let’s examine this phrase, can we? It bothers the piss outta me and here’s why: overcoming things (usually obstacles) has nothing to do with your rights. In fact, obstacles tend to arise in direct defiance of what you think you’re entitled to. You don’t earn the right to overcome an obstacle, you get off your ass and overcome it. I’d have no problem with Stapp singing about “trying” to overcome something (other than the fact that song is by-the-numbers radio rock. Like Metallica meets Switchfoot. And by the way, if that combination fires up your salivary glands, you should know that you’re going to hell) but singing about having the right to overcome something is nonsense. By the way, Mr. Stapp, I overcame motherfucking death and I didn’t need to sing a song about how I was entitled to do so. That’s how you roll Messiah-style.
Elsewhere, Stapp is lyrically preoccupied with fighting and struggling (I guess, implicitly, he’s struggling to overcome. Or to assert his right to overcome if he should so choose at some point), though he never really articulates the nature of these struggles, the foes with whom he’s struggling (and the first person to suggest he’s struggling with himself will be struck by lightning. Don’t test me), or really anything other than maintaining that he’s going to keep on fighting. Over the course of Full Circle, Scott Stapp comes off as a completely humorless person and that makes me really sad. The old blues masters (I don’t mean Eric Clapton, white people. I mean Leadbelly and Robert Johnson) sang songs about being about as busted-ass as you can be – Leadbelly sang about not being able to go places because he was black – but there was always a sense of laughter behind the moaning. In the face of feeling about as bad as you can feel, these dudes maintained their humor (and my friend Mr. Johnson, I can assure you, also maintained a harem of womenfolk across the entire country, women who were willing and able to squeeze his lemon until the juice ran down his leg – this is part of what got him killed, but he hasn’t stopped to this day. Dude still gets all the finest women in Heaven. You can bet your ass Jerry Falwell and Oral Roberts were shocked to arrive at the Pearly Gates and find an entire afterlife full of mixed-race blues babies). It’s a life lesson that is apparently lost on Scott Stapp, which is really too bad. Humor gets us through the very worst that life can throw at us. When I was on the cross, the thief to my right recognized me and said, “Jesus! What are you doing here?” I lolled my head over toward him and said, “Oh, I’m just hangin’ out.”
Jesus Christ can be reached through prayer, though he is not always inclined to answer. He wishes it to be known that, of his favorite 10 albums of 2009, only one can be found here on Earth: Middle Cyclone by Neko Case. He also told me to tell Neko Case to call him, but I patiently explained that I have no way to reach Ms. Case. If you happen to be Neko Case and you happen to be reading this (unlikely), I think Jesus has a crush on you. He also said that there’s no war on Christmas, so all the right-wing people who are on about that can “shut the fuck up” (his words, not mine. And his words are gospel, kids).