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December 1999 Pick of the Month
Human Clay
Artist: Creed
Label: Wind-Up Records
Length: 12 Tracks/approx 60 minutes

Faceless Man (sample)
Higher (sample)
With Arms Wide Open (sample)

After Creed's label debut last year, many people began asking the question, "Is Creed a Christian band?." The band answered in the negative; lead singer and songwriter Scott Stapp was raised in a Christian home and the band says they are all deeply spiritual, but they're not out to proclaim a Christian agenda.

But, it seems, someone forgot to give that message to this album, for the clarity of message it contains is amazing. Spiritual thinking and images coupled with a compelling turn of phrase permeate the album, but two tracks in particular stand out. The first is the lead radio single, "Higher." In  the verses Stapp expresses a longing for a "better place," and the place he dreams of and desires is made clear by the imagery used in the chorus.

Can you take me higher
To the place where blind men see?
Can you take me higher
To the place with golden streets?
The other truly noteworthy track is "Faceless Man." The tale it tells is of a man who doesn't quite know how to handle a God who is infinitely bigger than he can understand. It seems to be not so much that the Man is faceless, as that His face is incomprehensible as such.
Next time I see this face I'll say
I choose to live for always
So won't you come inside And never go away
And I stand, Lord God I stand,
against the Faceless Man.
This is a musically solid, as well as a lyrically sound album, reminiscent of the best of modern-rock radio. Influences include Stone Temple Pilots, with perhaps a bit of Soundgarden. And yet the band's driving rock never sounds derivative. It is great to see this band's track burning up the airways. It's the best thing on the radio, and one of the best albums I've heard in a long time.

Josh Marihugh 11/9/99

Creed...just that name leaves questions in your mind. And, when referring to this band, there's this one, really big question--are these guys a Christian band or not? While time and time again they say they are not, there is so much religious symbolism used in their lyrics that it confuses many people. And once again, they plunge into the art of confusion with their newest release, Human Clay.

Musically, the band is as good as ever. This album has not left my CD player since I've gotten it. Songs like "What If" and "Higher" always seem to be blaring through my speakers. Other songs, such as "Faceless Man" and "With Arms Wide Open," also get their fair share of playtime.  When it comes to making music, this group is one of the best. 

The lyrics are similar to those on the freshman release, on which certain songs had a Christian influence to them, while other things were mentioned that would throw the listener off (for example, "What's This Life For" used the Lord's name in vain). You can find some Christian meaning to almost every song, especially "Faceless Man," "Higher," and "What If," but it doesn't quite hit the mark. Also, the album has a faint hint of New Ageism, much like an uncut onion. This aroma is so faint that it doesn't make you cry, but pungent enough that you can tell it's there. So, to say Human Clay is a Christian album is almost like saying The Matrix is a Christian movie. Just because it represents Christian issues does not make it Christian.

All in all, though, I do like the album very much. There's nothing overly offensive in it (like G.D. plastered somewhere), but there's really nothing overly spiritual either. 

Adam Duckworth 1/11/2000


 

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