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The Great Divide: Scott Stapp

CD Review

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Once upon a time, there was a band named Creed. They had a string of Top 40 hits, sold millions of albums and combined hard rock with lyrical forays into Christianity so both secular and Christian fans could find something to like. Then they started acting weird, got sued by fans for a crappy concert, had some public fights and broke up.

I bring this up for two reasons: 1) this review is on The Great Divide, by former Creed frontman Scott Stapp, and 2) it sounds just like a Creed album. Not reminiscent of Creed, just like it, so much so that I had to listen to it twice just to see if I could find some differences. There are a couple of small ones, but this might as well be Creed.

Having said that, let's look at the music: Stapp went out and collected a band of merry musicians who don't disappoint; they solidly back him up at every turn. The key phrase here is "back him up," because as Stapp has made clear in interviews, this is his parade. Creed probably was, too, but he had to share the spotlight (and the money). Not the case here; this is all his show. Each song is radio-friendly and stars Stapp.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing; Stapp's voice is in good form, and he knows what a melody is and how to craft one. While he leans Christian, his lyrics are written so that secular fans can enjoy them, too, and the arrangements--particularly "Surround Me," "You Will Soar" and "Broken"--are lessons in building solid songs that arena-rock fans love. Plus, there is one improvement here: This album is lighter. Creed's work leaned a lot more on bass and darker lyrics than this album does. Stapp has said that he feels happier with his career now, and the sound of this disc reflects that. However, that one difference isn't enough to separate Stapp's work from Creed. If you liked Creed, you'll like this disc. If you didn't, stay away.

--Brandon Nolta