Trust the Gene Genie

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A word on that one band

I guess we need to put this to bed once and for all.

Dave very aptly pointed out that I've never really stated what it is about Creed that sucks, I've only said they suck. So let me see if I can quantify just what it is about this band I really don't like.

For me, I guess it comes down to two things: lack of any creativity and possessing no originality. To my untrained ears they sound like a bad Pearl Jam cover band. I listen to their songs and it's like they all hit this kind of emotional short-hand. The big power chords, the simple melodies, the generalized lyrics. They make an immediate sensory impact on the listener. It all adds up to Creed being the Smarties of the rock world -- music that's sweet and immediately palatable and then gone as quickly as it came. To me, as a listener, that's lazy and insulting. And I get bored of it really quick.

Had they not sounded like every other grunge rock band that came before them, had their big singles not been played into the ground, had the Evangelical Christians not latched onto the band, I might have given them more of a chance.

The thing is I like music that challenges me. It doesn't have to be indie, it doesn't have to be obscure. It just has to challenge me. That's everything from Queen to Elvis Costello to Wilco to U2. I don't get sick of it, I always hear something new when I listen to it and it entertains me. Creed simple didn't do those things for me. You've heard one Creed song, you've almost literally heard them all.

To be honest, Dave and I may have gotten off on the wrong foot. Creed and U2 are two different groups, appealing to two different people for a variety of different reasons. I will say that as I clumsily tried to make my point about U2 being a better band, in some respects I may have simply been comparing apples to oranges. The issue is moot at any rate. Creed is no longer together and U2 has been inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

One more point, before I put away the pen. I often fall into the trap of pegging people by the music they listen to -- because I define myself by the music I listen to. That's a fallacy. Not everyone defines themselves by their music. So I'll just say, bear in mind U2's the best band on the planet and everything will be right as rain.


Scott's Blog said...

Gotta love the passion of defending your taste in music. I love it when people are passionate about something. Anything. It gives you a reason to live life.

But, since I claim no such taste it wouldn't bother me for someone to rip my music.

Now if they were to rip on my favorite sports team...... it would be time to saddle up.

Urpy said...

The only person I've seen Rob get really upset at was a guy he knew who adored the group Chicago. I have rarely seen fire in his eyes like at that moment. I think it's funny. And Rob, "You're the Inspiration!"

Dave Robison said...

Suuuure, it's easy to talk smack when it's in a super-duper-top-secret blog.

Yeah, I like Creed, because there's no reason not to. You keep talking about how their music is "scientifically provably" sucky (which is ridiculous), but you never actually say what it is that you personally don't like about them. There is nothing wrong with them musically. You may hate Scott Stapp as a person (but if you want to talk eccentric, annoying front-men Bono would be at the top of the list) and you may hate that their songs were brutally over-played, but you can't honestly take anything away from the music. I think your hatred of Creed is fueled only by my comments about U2, who are possibly (along with the Rolling Stones) one of the most over-rated bands of all-time. I like several U2 songs, but I wouldn't be salivating at the chance to download 15 gigs of their stuff onto my iPod. I don't care if you want to listen to U2 - certainly not enough to blog about it. And you can't point out one thing about Creed that is legitimately "bad," only things that you personally don't like.

I don't claim to have "scientifically" cool taste in music (as you apparently do), and I will admit to liking radio-friendly music (they usually put the best songs on the radio for a reason - that reason being that they're the best songs). I don't have to be into indie rock and small, unknown bands (or certain big, over-rated bands) to have "good" taste in music. I like what I like, just like everybody else who listens to music for fun instead of something to write a review about or judge other people by. At least I stepped up and listed to the CD you sent me - which, by the way, if you were trying to convert me you were way off with your selections.

On my road trips I can move effortlessly back and forth between Neil Diamond (oldies), Korn (metal), the Dixie Chicks (country), Alanis Morissette (chick rock), Pearl Jam (grunge), Eminem (rap), Lynard Skynard (classic rock), NOFX (punk), and Magnetic Fields (trendy indie crap) and be in pure "sonic" heaven. My tastes are ecclectic and they are my own.

Consider this my blog - "The Dawgg" - and know that I love you, Handsome Rob.

P.S. I was trying to read the entry you pulled the quote from but it kept saying the URL couldn't be found. Is it still up somewhere?

Dave Robison said...

Ok, I just have to point out that Creed is in NO way grunge, nor do they sound anything like any grunge band I've ever heard (and I'll claim to be somewhat of an expert on the subject - grunge, that is). I'll give you that Stapp sounds similar to Eddie Vedder. I'll also give you that (for 2 albums, anyway) Pearl Jam was a far superior band, as were nearly all of the Seattle-movement bands (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains - these bands are untouchable).

Next I have to point out that if we're talking over-played rock Smarties - "Vertigo??" Hello? Holy crap, if there was EVER an over-played song! Hey, and if you suck on and savor a Smartie they can be "sweet and palatable" for much longer than if you chew them.

Honestly, I think where we got off on our "wrong foot" and started doing the apples and oranges thing was in defining why we listen to the music we do. You listen to music with a critic's ear (the way I think we both watch movies). When I want to listen to music, I'm probably looking for Smarties. I like music that sounds good to me, period. Be it "Pop a Top" by Alan Jackson (which I have NO good excuse for liking, and it's as inexplicable to me as it is to anyone else) or "Stairway to Heaven" (which conforms to what "everyone" is supposed to like), if it sounds good I'll listen to it.

I love Creed's sound. I love the emotion in Stapp's voice, I love to sing along in my own Scott Stapp voice, I love their range - how they can go from ballads to the hard stuff, and I love how they can write sweeping, epic songs that build and build momentum until reaching the wonderful climax (I realize you're laughing out loud now, but I have examples of every one of these).

And measuring bands based on how long they stay together is risky, dare I say, irresponsible stuff. Can you take anything away from Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, Stone Temple Pilots, GUNS N ROSES!!!!! just because their time together was cut short for one reason or another? I say unto you, nay.

This whole argument is ridiculous, although quite fun. It's too bad I had to pick Creed as a band to really make a stand for. Anyone want to take some cheap shots at Nirvana or GNR? Then I'll come flying at you in a whirlwind of hair...and teeth...and fingernails (name that show).

I think we can be best friends even though we don't like a couple of bands in each other's playlists. We're both rockers at heart, and I think we can survive these differences.

Much love.

Scott's Blog said...

I think Dave brought up a pretty valid point. There is a difference between listening to music as a critic or listening just because it "sounds good" to you.

I fall in the latter catergory. I can't critique music because I'm clueless on how to. When somebody talks about how difficult a song is or how many key changes it has or whether it's a vanilla 3-chord song, I'm clueless. Those things don't ever enter into my mind when I listen to them. I don't even know what to look out for.

However, I can understand that someone who has done more research or has more musical knowledge can sit down and say "Ice, Ice, Baby" is a piece of crap because it has no originality (main riff stolen from Queen) and is a pretty simple song. But in my mind I can sing along to it (I have the whole song memorized)so it's OK by me.

My rule of thumb: If I can sing along in the car or shower then it's a song I like. Por ejemplo, this morning driving to work. "Jukebox Hero" is on the radio. Haven't heard the song in years, but the words came rushing back. Is it a good song or not? I don't know. But if felt good belting out the lyrics.

Oh, and Rob. It sure makes it easier to write in the ole' blog when you know people are reading. Keep up the good work. It's been fun to read. Except all the music stuff. :-)

TheRobRogers said...

I'll call you out on Nirvana, Dave. The only reason they have the respect, the lore, the granduer they have today is because Kurt Cobain died young. There would be no Nirvana without Temple of the Dog and I've always believed Pearl Jam was a far superior band.

And as far as listening for entertainment or listening with a critic's ear, I would only saw that we all listen to what sounds good to us -- regardless of the reason. I've just found that songs that grow on me I'm less likely to get sick of.

Dave Robison said...

Blasphemy, pure and simple. I can't believe what I'm reading. If you will recall, Nirvana were respected and had attained iconic, superstar status well before Kurt died. The only reason it was a big deal when he died is because he was already the "voice" of a generation. He WAS grunge music, and the entire genre died out soon after Kurt's death. If Eddie Vedder had died instead, grunge would have continued on just fine, with Nirvana leading the way, and Pearl Jam would certainly not have the legendary status that Nirvana does now.

Temple of the Dog was a nice try, but most of their songs really are not very good. And although "Hunger Strike" is a great song, I feel it is the presense of Chris Cornell that truly makes it as good as it is. Vedder got it right with Pearl Jam for two albums, "Vs." and "Ten." "Vitology" was merely "OK." After that it was down hill, and the next thing you know, Pearl Jam is covering "Where oh where can my baby be," which was a lame song in the first place and became even lamer when it was covered by a "rock" band. Pearl Jam veered off the path of a true rock band a long time ago, and I haven't been able to listen to them since Vitology.

"Ten" is one of the best albums of all-time - period, hands-down, no question. But Nirvana made good albums consistently, and "Bleach," "Nevermind," "In Utero," and their amazing "Unplugged" album are also up there with the best albums of all-time. Nirvana inspired countless other bands and shaped rock and roll. They lead the movement that brought underground punk into the mainstream and (thankfully) killed the hair-band scene. I've watched documentaries on the history of rock and the rockers themselves give Nirvana the credit, not Pearl Jam.

I have traveled to Aberdeen, home of Kurt Cobain, and I have stood on the muddy banks of the Wishkah river. You can still feel the genius is the air in that most special of places. Have you ever been to Bono's home town?

I think we know who the true super-fan here is.

Steph said...

I'm still laughing about the guy who loves Chicago. I can see Rob and his firey eyes in my mind. Ha, ha, ha!!

"D" said...

Kirk didnt show much genius in his choice of spouse. Perhaps if Courtney hadn't sold her soul to the cocaine devil she would be coherent today.
Regardless of song popularity I think you have to take a look at endurance and evolution of an artist. While Mozart is still big he did nothing to move the music of his time forward. Bach and Beethoven on the other hand audibly rocked the world with their evolving styles by pushing the envelope to bring us to music today. In U2 I hear more experiemental, going out on a limb kind of music...and its still popular!
My opinion may be influenced by the fact that I dont listen to the radio. only because the fm in my car doesnt work. Its just me and Dr. Laura on the good 'ol am. I also get mexican music...and it makes me grateful for whatever would be on FM.

Dave Robison said...

It's Kurt, by the way - not Kirk. Just FYI.

Nirvana's music has certainly endured (kids in high school are just as into the band now as they were when I was in high school), and it was certainly revolutionary, as it completely shifted the rock scene. The mainstreaming of grunge signaled the end of the glam-rock movement (which until then was seemingly indestructable, led by immortal bands like Kiss and Motley Crue) and shoved metal to the background.

OK, I think this will be the last I say about this.

Unless someone else wants to start something about Nirvana.

TheRobRogers said...

Nice parallel to the classical world, D. Just for the record -- and I know this is going on oh-so-much longer than it should -- I'm not discrediting Nirvana's contribution to the musical world. I'm just trying to put it in perspective.

The band alone wouldn't have had nearly the same impact they had if "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had been the only song to come out of Seattle. In fact, there would have been no Nirvana if groups like Mother Love Bone hadn't paved the way before them. It was the Seattle grunge revolution that defeated (thank goodness) the likes of Warrant, Poison and White Snake. If Kurt hadn't offed himself, Nirvana would just be another Pearl Jam.

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