-->
Music

Creed: Weathered

Tony Peregrin

Creed

Weathered

Label: Wind-up
US Release Date: 2001-11-20
Amazon
iTunes

Almost every Creed tune shines with a kind of velvet luster; from one perspective, their songs are decently packaged bits of muscle rock. But move your head just a little, look at it from a slightly different angle, and the songs easily morph into dull patches of formulaic arena-rock, which is largely the case with Weathered, the band's much ballyhooed follow-up to their 1999 offering, Human Clay.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the band claimed Weathered would be "the heaviest, most intense music we've ever written", and sure enough, the album opens with "Bullets", a noisy, aggressive track where frontman Scott Stapp screams his way through lyrics like "Look at me / Look at me / At least look at me when you shoot a bullet / Through my head". (After cringing your way through the song, you're more likely to want to put a bullet through your speakers, if anything.)

In reality, Creed works best when it isn't trying so hard to be "heavy", especially on the song's where Mark Tremonti swelling guitar blasts aren't competing with Stapp's vocals. Tremonti has publicly admitted that many of the riffs on this album came from soundcheck jams while on tour, and -- at least in this case -- that's not such a good thing. Tremonti's contribution to the album ranges from inconsistent and distracting ("Bullets") to downright annoying and show-offy, especially in "Don't Stop Dancing", which features misplaced, early '80s-inspired guitar solos.

While Weathered is flecked with imperfections, the album still manages to offer some fairly serviceable rock. Tracks like the album's first single, "My Sacrifice", and the radio-ready "Who's Got my Back?" allow Stapp's strained vocals to shine through in all their grunge-tinged glory, as he growls his way around feelings of loss and redemption. In fact, it is the band's ability to craft songs in these primitive, primary colors of insecurity, fear and depression that have generated such a determined fan base, despite the scowls and indifferent shrugs of the critics.

Creed does manage to provide a few surprises this time around: look for Bo Taylor, a Cherokee Indian vocalist, to chant a prayer at the beginning of "Who's Got My Back" as well as the Tallahassee Boys Choir (accompanied by Stapp's sister Amie, natch) singing backup on "Don't Stop Dancing". Both Taylor and the boys choir are comfortable supplements to Stapp's vocals, who, as one critic noted, "sings every note as if it were his last".

But its just that kind of intensity that gives Creed fans a hard-on. That, and Strapp's ability to view himself -- and the band -- without so much as a glimmer of self-induced humor or irony, allowing them to produce tedious, ordinary songs that, depending on how close you're looking, can easily double as charismatic rock anthems.

Music

The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

Wars of attrition are a matter of stamina, of who has the most tools with which to keep fighting. A surprising common tool in this collection? Humor.

The name of the game is "normal or abnormal". Here's how you play: When some exceedingly shocking political news pops up on your radar, turn to the person next to you, read them the headline and ask, "is this normal or abnormal?" If you want to up the stakes, drink a shot every time the answer is abnormal. If that's too many shots, alter the rules so that you drink only when things are normal—which is basically never, these days. Hilarious, right?

Keep reading... Show less
9
Music

The Dear Hunter: All Is As All Should Be EP

Jordan Blum
Publicity photo via Bandcamp

Although All Is As All Should Be is a tad too brief to match its precursors, it's still a masterful blend of songwriting, arrangements, and singing that satisfies the Dear Hunter anticipation.

The Dear Hunter is undoubtedly one of the best—and consequently, most egregiously underappreciated—bands of the last decade or so. Aside from 2013's Migrant LP, every one of their major releases featured an ambitious hook; for example, 2011's The Color Spectrum presented nine EPs (consisting of four songs each) that individually represented a different sonic tone (in order: Black, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, and White), whereas the five-part (so far) Act saga, with its genre-shifting arrangements, superlative songwriting, narrative complexity, and extraordinary conceptual continuity, is a cumulative work of genius, plain and simple.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image