Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CREED-Human Clay (1999)


Now here's an alternative rock crew that totally knows how to rock! For the longest time, the Florida-based CREED had remained an artist whom I'd listened to exclusively on the popular radio airwaves. Memories of my earliest alternative rock-listening days continue to be shrouded in a cloud of uncertainty, but I'm pretty sure the radio hit that got my ears and I formally acquainted with these guys is "Higher". Not sure why I didn't already have that memorable oldie saved as one of the many favorites on my revamped 'Rock Mix' playlist, but I've corrected that little blunder since finally claiming the album from which this jam can be found. 'Can you take me higher, to a place with golden streets?' is how the words to part of the awesome chorus hook go, which is why I still love this song to this day! Listening to "Higher" again today (after who knows how long!) reinforced that I'm still digging the post-grunge rock sound of the mid-to-late 90's, with further reinforcement coming by way of the intense opener, "Are You Ready?" (the lead guy's repetitive proclamations of 'life has just begun' had this one sold on me long before the thrill ride was over!), the followup "What If?" (I like when the lead guy keeps howling what if, what if, what if I?, "Never Die", "Say I" (this album's cryptic title is explained on this one; I myself need additional listens to grasp the meaning beyond just enjoying the sound of the music) and so many of the others where the gritty vocals, screaming guitars and the banging drums take center stage. I was also reminded that I'm still the sucker for the trademark moving, emotional power ballad. There's the intriguing gem called "Faceless Man" where, besides the haunting imagery painted by the words to the Lord in heaven about standing against the faceless man, I like the alternating between taking a low-key, softer approach and the intense power trip. And then there's the even more moving "With Arms Wide Open", which I suspect I may've heard on the rock radio airwaves a lot back in the day as well. If I did, I can't be sure if it was the regular album version or the 'String Version' that I've included as a bonus treat, but I know that I now prefer the latter version over the original studio recording, as the words seem to come out clearer and have a greater lasting effect on me:

1. Are You Ready?
2. What If
3. Beautiful
4. Say I
5. Wrong Way Album
6. Faceless Man
7. Never Die
8. With Arms Wide Open
9. Higher
10. Wash Away Those Tears
11. Inside Us All

*****BONUS TRACK*****

12. With Arms Wide Open (String Version)

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