Creed: Critiquing Their 10 Most Heinous Lyrics

Hello, Creed fans. Listen, it's no secret that Creed isn't exactly Rocks Off's favorite band. Anyone at Rocks Off. In fact, it could be said that we despise them. But wait! Wait, don't go. Creed fans, we're here today not to fight with you, but to inform you, to perform a public service for your benefit and enlightenment.

You see, Creed, unfortunately, have chosen to accompany their musical arrangements with lyrics. These lyrics often have meanings which go beyond what they seem to be saying on the surface. So, in an effort to bridge the gap between you, who loves Creed, and us, who think they are worse than the Black Plague (both the metal band and the disease), we'd like to educate you on some of these hidden meanings so you'll have a deeper understanding of what you'll be singing along to when Creed plays the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion this Saturday.

Think of us as diplomats, ambassadors and translators all rolled into one, determined to see this undertaking through with tolerance and class.

1. "Ode" (My Own Prison)

Hang me, watch awhile Let me see you smile as I die Take me, as my body burns Let me see you yearn, while I cry

Holy shit, what is he, a 14-year-old Goth girl? By "he," Rocks Off is of course referring to Scott Stapp, who along with Mark Tremonti is credited with all of the band's songwriting (if you want to call it that). Another entry in the popular lazy-angst category of Songs About How Sorry They'll Be When I Kill Myself, "Ode" should be called "Odious," because it stinks.

2. "My Own Prison" (My Own Prison)

I hear a thunder in the distance See a vision of a cross I feel the pain that was given On that sad day of loss

A lion roars in the darkness Only he holds the key A light to free me from my burden And grant me life eternally

Chronologically, "My Own Prison" was Creed's first song to contain vague references to God and/or Jesus, winning them scores of Christian-rock fans without alienating fans of non-Christian (but still shitty) rock. Not only does Stapp allude to Christ, he seems to be alluding to Aslan, a lion who is himself a Christ figure in C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia books. That's right: Stapp alludes to a fictional character that alludes to Jesus. That's as distanced as you can get from religion while still pretending to embrace it.

3. "Wash Away Those Years" (Human Clay)

For we have crossed many oceans And we labor in between In life there are many quotients And I hope I find the mean

"Wash Away Those Years" appears to be a song about a girl who has survived some sort of tragedy, so we're sure that someone somewhere has been helped by its message in some way, and to you, Rocks Off says: We're happy you've found any sort of comfort in any form of media to help you deal with your suffering. Yes, even a Creed song.

And truth be told, the lyrics aren't all that bad until near the end, when you get the coupling listed above. A math reference? Really? What does it have to do with anything? Stapp may be referring to finding the meaning, but in math, the mean has nothing to do with meaning. It's the average of a set of numbers.

So he's saying he hopes he finds the average? He's aspiring to mediocrity? Very inspiring. If only Creed had written a song about setting their sights higher, perhaps being taken to a place where blind men see... but as far as we're aware, they never did.

4. "Wrong Way" (Human Clay)

What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? What makes our youth run From the thought that we might die? What makes you bleed?

In order: Everything Louis CK does; those commercials where Sarah McLachlan sings while they show footage of abused animals; a basic existential fear of the unknown vis-à-vis the afterlife; and sharp things, respectively. Thanks for asking, Creed.

5. "In America" (My Own Prison)

Only in America We're slaves to be free Only in America we kill the unborn To make ends meet

Only in America Sexuality is democracy Only in America we stamp our dollar "In God We Trust"

None of this is true. If Stapp is referring to abortion when he talks of killing the unborn to make ends meet, America is not the only country where abortion is legal. Nor is it the only country with references to God stamped on our money, although Stapp could be sneaky and claim that America is, in fact, the only country with the "dollar."

We're sure that voting for attractive, charismatic and otherwise sexually appealing candidates is not purely an American practice. As for the claim that only in America, "we're slaves to be free," that doesn't mean anything, so it can neither be true nor false. Example: We're barn hair whipping petrified exfoliation in the coral glazes. See, that previous statement is neither true nor false. It is simply stupid.

6. "Fear" (Full Circle)

Rudiments of interpersonal communication Truth will uproot and bring war's devastation to light Don't you turn a blind eye Change what's been programmed inside Staying silent is a crime

Oh, Lord have mercy, someone gave Stapp and Tremonti a Bad Religion album. For that or some other reason, they loaded this song up with words far outreaching their standard Twilight-level vocabulary and tried to get all philosophical on our asses.

Guys, there's a reason Bad Religion's Greg Graffin writes his lyrics to be as brainy as they are: He's a well-educated man - a professor, in fact - and knows what the hell he's talking about. You'd think that Creed's disastrous foray into the political might make their standard mucking about in vague spirituality seem all the more tolerable, but no. It's all nothing more than different kinds of corn kernels in a vast sea of musical turds.

7. "Rain" (Promo-only single, 2009)

I feel it's gonna rain like this for days So let it rain down and wash everything away I hope that tomorrow the sun will shine I feel it's going to rain like this

We can't decide if this song is more "Tomorrow" from Annie or "Sure Am Glad It's Rainin'" from Ernest Goes to Camp. Either way, Creed finds themselves magnificently outclassed.

8. "Bread of Shame" (Full Circle)

When the world casts me down and says I've changed I'll survive on all the promises you made to me Guess there's no one to blame When all you're living on is bread of shame

Rocks Off listened to this song while enjoying some Iced Tea of Regret, but then remembered we'd already had a bunch of caffeine today, so we switched to the Orange Juice of Envy. For a midnight snack, we poured ourselves a big bowl of the Rice Chex of Sullen Denial, and cut up a Banana of Grief before pouring on some Milk of Ennui. We had some Bread of Shame, but we transformed it into the Buttered Toast of Insignificance before eating it.

9. "Signs" (Weathered)

This is not about age Time served on the earth doesn't mean you grow in the mind This is not about God Spiritual insinuations seem to shock our nation

This is not about race It's a decision to stop the division in your life This is not about sex We all know sex sells and the whole world is buying

So what the hell is it about, Creed? Sweet Jesus Marion Barry, you can't just list things a song isn't about and call it a song. You're not Dadaists. Not intentionally, anyway.

10. "Freedom Fighter" (Weathered)

So many thoughts to share All this energy to give Unlike those who hide the truth I tell it like it is If the truth will set you free I feel sorry for your soul Can't you hear the ringing 'cause for you the bell tolls

How dare you, Creed? How dare you reference Ernest Hemingway and one of the greatest American novels of all time? We bet you've never read For Whom the Bell Tolls, and that you may be only dimly aware of the Metallica song. And you guys might be energetic, but the claim that you have "so many thoughts to share" is a pretty generous boast, not to mention the claim that you "tell it like it is." If that's the case, "it" sucks. And we're all the worse for being associated with "it" in any way.

Creed plays 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 4, at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Tickets are available through the venue or www.livenation.com.

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