My Own Prison


Wind-Up Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


What I remember best about the year 1997 is that three bands came out around the same time who sounded like they were going for the alternative music throne held by Pearl Jam. What was especially interesting was that all three bands had a similar sound to them - note I'm not saying they sounded exactly the same.

In one corner of the triangle, you had Seven Mary Three, who got people's attention with tracks like "Cumbersome". In another corner, you had Days Of The New, featuring Travis Meeks, his acoustic guitar and his tempramental style, firing bandmates faster than Spinal Tap could replace drummers.

And then, there was Creed - the band who were so popular yet many people probably couldn't name a single band member. Their debut release My Own Prison has some excellent moments on it - there's a reason this disc has spawned so many hits. But the funny thing is: not only would I not have picked Creed to be the "survivor" (God, I hate making any reference to that freak show, intentional or not) in '97, but I still wouldn't have made that selection today, knowing what I do.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Make no mistake, this band - vocalist Scott Stapp, guitarist/vocalist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips - had some great chops, and they know how to create a tune that will lock the listener in from start to finish. It's also interesting that they were able to take a pseudo-Christian approach to the lyrics and win over fans; usually, the mere suggestion of spirituality sends people screaming for the exits. While Creed states they're not targeting themselves as a Christian rock band, they could well be the most successful group with that musical direction.

Just the mention of some of the hits - "Torn," "One," "My Own Prison" - is enough to convince anyone that Creed was making sure they were going to be in this for the long run. And admittedly, it's hard to find any fault with many of these songs - even if some people did get their panties in a bunch because Stapp dared to utter the phrase "goddamn" on "What's This Life For". (My opinion: I can understand its usage in this case.)

Yet there are signs that My Own Prison shows off a band still learning its craft. Some tracks, like "Sister" and "Unforgiven," just fail to catch fire like the smash hits, and even oversaturation on radio wouldn't help things. Likewise, other tracks have some level of effectiveness, such as "Pity For A Dime," "Ode" and "In America," but they don't have the same level of magic that would set them apart as being special.

For that reason, sometimes I find it hard to get through My Own Prison, though I will admit that seeing some of these tracks performed live helped things quite a bit. (Whenever I find five free minutes, I still have to write up that show review for "Power Chords".)

In one sense, you have to admit that My Own Prison is a powerful first effort from Creed, and it held out the promise of much greater things to come. (It, along with superstardom, would indeed come one album later.) But on the other hand, one has to admit the weaknesses on this disc as well as the strengths. After all, this was a band who was just starting out, and had much to learn about themselves and their music. For that reason, My Own Prison remains an enjoyable, but flawed, first picture of Creed.

Rating: B-

User Rating: F



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Wind-Up Records, and is used for informational purposes only.