Scott Stapp, "The Great Divide" (Wind-Up)
The inevitable solo album from Creed frontman Scott Stapp following last year's acrimonious breakup of the monstrously successful quartet retains its hard rock power while reflecting the stentorian's ensuing period of painful self-examination.
Lead track "Reach Out," in fact, is both confessional and confrontational. It assumes personal responsibility ("No victims... the choices were all mine") while affirming his spirituality ("learned to listen to that voice within my soul"). "Fight Song" carries on Stapp's conscious will to survive inner turmoil; other songs like "The Hard Way" likewise focus on life's harder lessons, with the hope of forgiveness and salvation, while distant, remaining distinct.
This is particularly clear in the album's title track and first single, "The Great Divide." With the help of co-producer (and longtime Creed collaborator) John Kurzweg, Stapp, a self-described artist who is a Christian, builds upon a sparing acoustic guitar arrangement to eventually exult joyously in his newfound, heaven-sent freedom "to live my life."
Such themes and concerns made Creed dearly beloved by its legions - though dismissed by critics. Stapp's first solo step may not win new converts, but it does offer welcome reassurance to a huge fan base still thirsting for inspiring messages within the basic Creed guitar-bass-drums rock context.