Human Clay


Wind-Up Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Scott Stapp and Creed seem to be the musical equivalent of Weebles, a toy that anyone 30 or over should remember well. You can try to push these guys over, but they just won't fall down... not with the way that rock radio latched onto singles from Human Clay, Creed's second album. We're nearing the end of the year, and it's still a pretty safe bet that if you flip through your radio right now, there's some station playing either "With Arms Wide Open" or "Higher".

Without a doubt, there is some fantastic work on Human Clay, just like there was on Creed's 1997 debut my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 My Own Prison. What's a little shocking is that very little, if any, new ground is broken by Creed, and it's only the strength of the hits that keeps this album from sinking into mediocrity.

It would be ridiculously easy to sit here and focus on the five tracks that have gotten some level of attention sice Human Clay was released. I could sit here and fawn over "Are You Ready?" or "What If", or I could wonder why "Beautiful" hasn't joined the ranks of the hits.

But, no, that's too easy - and, besides, these songs have gotten so much airplay that almost everyone knows them by now. So, we'll turn our attention to the six listed tracks (and one uncredited bonus track) that make up the remainder of Human Clay.

First, the bonus track - a remix of "With Arms Wide Open". Honestly, I don't know why this was included, especially since the original version appears so close to the remix. Still, it's a pretty song, so let's not make a big deal about it.

One thing which worries me about Creed is that their sound quickly gets to being redundant; "Say I" and "Wrong Way" are so similar in general sound that it's hard to keep these two songs separate in my mind. Likewise, there aren't that many challenges taken, rhythmically or vocally, by Creed - and stagnation is the biggest challenge that the band is going to face, especially when it comes time to writing album number three.

What's also bothersome about these tracks is this: if it's not one of the hits, the songs are pretty forgettable (the exceptions being "Faceless Man" and "Inside Us All"). I realize that many groups have battled against putting filler on an album; it's a problem nearly as old as rock music itself. But somehow, I'd expect a little better from Creed.

Oh, don't get me wrong, Human Clay is still a very entertaining album, and Stapp and crew deserve every accolade that has come their way because of it. But Creed has also dodged a bullet for two albums now regarding their overall sound and repetitive nature of songs. One has to wonder how much longer their luck can hold out.

Rating: B-

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