August 9, 2009

Who likes "Creed?"

I admit, I'm a sucker for nostalgia. This summer's been rough, I feel like my childhood is dying with the loses of Michael Jackson and John Hughes. Nostalgia has driven me to purchase many DVDs that I regretted purchasing just moments after the credits rolled, or in some cases moments after they began. Everything is always better in your memory. You tend to remember what you loved and sweep what you didn't like under the carpet.

I went to The Police reunion show, and I must admit, I didn't go in expecting much. I was simply going for nostalgic reasons and because they were a band I always wanted to see live. Part of my musical live show bucket list. While I was expecting a bunch of aging rockers mailing it in and collecting a massive pay day, they actually put on a fantastic show. (If you're a music fan and you get a chance to see Stuart Copeland drum live, I would highly recommend it.) So I fully understand the lure of the "reunion" concert, honestly I do.

But honestly, did anybody want a Creed reunion show? I feel like we got pretty damn lucky that they decided to split up after such a short time together putting out truly shitty music; and I really don't recall anybody mentioning them after they left the scene, so why are they coming back? Is it like Candyman, and some bastard said "Creed" three times in a row which brought them back from the depths of hell? Whatever evil forces conspired to make this happen, I'm not sure, but on Thursday night Creed launched their reunion tour.

It gets worse.

Unfortunately, they're not just going town to town churning out their sub-par Pearl Jam cover band crap but they are also going to inflict another album upon us too. What the hell? Aren't things bad enough with the economy tanking, global warming and Paula leaving Idol? Do we need this too?

Who exactly is this reunion for? Was there actually fans out there clamoring for their return? I've never - in my life - encountered a Creed fan. Who are these people? Are they the same people who are mysteriously purchasing Nickelback albums, apparently under cover of the night? I just don't understand what the appeal is for this band. Their music seems so ... generic. What do Creed do that a dozen other bands don't do significantly better? Usually I can see why artists I may not be a fan of personally are successful. They write music with infectious hooks, they work with skilled pop producers that make radio-friendly music or they simply know how to write a catchy chorus that you find yourself singing and hate yourself for simultaneously. I don't find anything unique or interesting about Creed's music in any way. There's nothing they are doing that you haven't heard any number of other bands do much, much better.

What are Creed delivering that has led to such massive success? I dismissed Creed as shit from the get go. I can honestly say that "With Arms Wide Open" might be my least favorite song of the last twenty years. I avoided all things Creed until I heard the pleasant news that the band was splitting up. (In the interest of full disclosure, I thought Creed sucked ass well before I discovered what a massive douchebag lead singer Scott Stapp is. And wow, he really is a huge douchebag. He once told Rolling Stone that he considered suicide because he felt his whole band hated him and he was going to kill himself to become a "Kurt Cobain martyr-type" and that the band would be happy cause his death would lead to greater sales. What kind of asshole thinks this, let alone tells a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine?)

Awhile back, in our morning meeting for MTV News, someone pitched the Creed reunion for the headlines of our show, and I mumbled some sarcastic remark (as I often do) but later on, out of curiosity, I read up on what Creed had done before they split. It was shocking.
  • They have sold 35 million records, 26 million of them in the States alone. Thirty five million records!
  • Their second album, Human Clay, the musical atrocity that gave us "Higher" and "With Arms Wide Open" is certified 11X Platinum. It's the 54th highest selling album in the history of the United States. Sadly, this isn't something we can simply blame on Americans and their lousy taste; it's 6X Platinum in Canada. It's also - beyond a shadow of a doubt - fucking awful.
  • Human Clay was in Billboard's top 15 albums for over a year.
  • Creed are the first band to have three singles on the Billboard Top 20 at the same time. I would have had difficulty naming three Creed songs if I didn't check out their discography on wikipedia.
  • Creed released an album called Weathered in 2001. I'd never heard of it, and I can't say I'm familiar with any of the songs on the album except the craptastic "My Sacrifice." However, the record was #1 for eight weeks, which is a record they share... with the Beatles. What!?!
How is all of this possible, first of all, and secondly, how is it that I don't know a single person that likes this band? There are plenty of things that are very popular that I find baffling. For the life of me, I don't know why professional Wrestling is popular; it amazes me that phone sex is a successful business idea and I must confess that the entire Harry Potter phenomenon is something I've never quite understood.

But in all of those cases (well, maybe not the phone sex one, but I can see why someone might keep their fandom quiet in that case) I know plenty of people that like these things. Do Creed fans know the music is utter shit, and as a result they keep the fact that they like the band on the down low? People are clearly listening to this shit and buying their CDs... the evidence is there, but nobody seems willing to admit they are doing so.

Is Creed the musical equivalent of phone sex?

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