Wednesday Hump the Jukebox
Creed Is Good
Scott Stapp’s nu-grunge foursome was seriously underrated.
I realize that Slate is all about the contrary, what with Saletan working the vagina beat, and Kaus and his whole goats vs human interrelations thing, but ferchristsakes, championing Creed? Have you no decency, Jonah Weiner?
There’s no telling whether Creed will make good on its second chance, but the band deserves a second listen. If your impulse on hearing that it has reunited is to groan, stifle it long enough to locate a copy of Creed’s 2004 Greatest Hits collection. It’s a fantastic baker’s dozen of first-rate schlock-rock, courtesy of one of the most underrated and unfairly maligned groups in pop history.
No. No. Creed was not “unfairly maligned”. They were not maligned enough, and you’re going to have to do better than this:
Listening to Creed today, it’s hard to reconcile the animus against the band with the music. (The animus against the group’s satiny tunics and slithery facial hair was always perfectly understandable.) In his lyrics, Stapp is a well-meaning, Bible-fluent doofus, easy to chuckle at but difficult to imagine hating. “The world is heading for mutiny, when all we want is unity,” he sings on “One.” The trouble wasn’t that he was a blustery, would-be messiah (that didn’t stop Bono’s canonization) so much as the unrepentant hamminess he brought to the role: ample baritone quaking and churning, arms outstretched atop mountains and hovering, Christlike, above crowds in music videos. On stage, Stapp was Charlton Heston in leather pants, humping the stone tablets. His brand of fist-pumping, hair-tossing, pelvis-swiveling rocksmanship was hardly without precedent; it just seemed obnoxiously anachronistic. An audacious throwback to the preening hair-metal era (and, even further, to Robert Plant’s roosterish sashay), Stapp audaciously reinflated rock’s hot-air balloon less than a decade after Kurt Cobain was thought to have punctured it for good.
Really? Of all the Creed lyrucs out there, you really want to go to war with this:
“The world is heading for mutiny, when all we want is unity,”
Fail. You really should have gone with this:
Only in America
We’re slaves to be free
Only in America we kill the unborn
To make ends meet
Only in America
Sexuality is democracy
Only in America we stamp our dollar
“In God We Trust”
Speaking of Jonah Weiner, Robert Christgau:
Many editors–among those who think about such things at all, probably most–love this stupid cliche. They love to think rock critics are ridiculous. The reason is simple–they don’t want to feel ignorant about pop music, although they are, or think about it, although they can’t. Of course there are bad rock critics out there, but that’s the last you’ll hear from me on that subject in this post. Weiner doesn’t qualify, although he seems to be working on it. Understandably, he’s desperate for work. So he posits for such editors a version of “the reader,” that unempirical figure via whom editors habitually personify their own prejudices: “Many readers who are otherwise passionate about culture have little time for music writing, irritated that it speaks in abstract, jargon-stuffed language about ostensibly mainstream entertainment.” “Not me sir,” Weiner declares. “I have muscles and everything. Just get me Access. And at least a buck a word, please please please.”
That would probably explain:
On stage, Stapp was Charlton Heston in leather pants, humping the stone tablets.
That also…rawks. But in a much suckier way.
Okay. Enough of that. Random ten thingy and, just watch, Limp Bizkit will make an appearance just to undermine me:
Gonna Find You -Operation Ivy
Therapy – Infectious Grooves
That’s It That’s All – The Beastie Boys
Winterlong – Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Black Cow – Steely Dan
Pictures of Me – Elliott Smith
You and Your Sister – Chris Bell
St Peter’s Day Festival – Ra Ra Riot
Turn On Your Radio – Harry Nilsson
La Cantatrice – Modern Jazz Quartet
and number eleven so that we may wash the idea of Creed = underrated from our beautiful minds:
I Don’t Know – The Replacements.