So I’m back looking at the past with the debut album of a band that I have to admit I don’t know much about. I think that why I really wanted to check this album out because I like checking out classic albums and seeing if I too enjoy them and with the debut album from Creed titled My Own Prison, I indeed do.
The album was originally released independently in 1997 on the band’s own record label, Blue Collar Records, but it took on a life of its own when it was serviced to Florida radio stations and went on to sell 6000 copies in Florida alone in a couple of months. The rest, as they say, is history – the album was certified 6x platinum in 2002 and is among the 200 best selling albums in the United Stated.
The record was produced by John Kurzweg, who was a friend of the band’s manager Jeff Hanson. Other than producing this album, he has more notably worked with bands like Puddle of Mudd and Godsmack to name a few and his albums have sold up to 40 million copies worldwide.
We start our look-back with the track “Torn” which is hard-hitting with great instrumentation, and with everything from the guitar riffs to the funky bass line, it works together well all together. Scott Stapp’s vocals are filled with edge and grit that most grunge vocal still uses to this day.
“Torn” starts with a slow build until it really kicks in, the track is a tease into what the band can do, but with “Ode“, the grove really comes off, and they go all out from the get-go, laced with awesome guitar riff that really get the heart pumping, and lovely harmonies in the chorus that get stuck to your head.
The title track “My Own Prison” which would go on top put the band on the map, starts with a nice slow riff that has a funky feel to it, and is led by their great harmonies once again, but turned up to max than the previous two songs. This can be heard in the final chorus, with them putting everything that just wants you to scream in the air.
“Pity For A Dime” has a great picky guitar riff that really pushes the whole song forward with the bass line which is technically great as well, and as a musician myself, I really appreciated it. When the song get hard and fast, the song picks up and when the guitar solo kicks in in the middle eight, it’s the best guitar work in the album and great to hear.
With “In America“, we get a really cool track about what America is like in the 90’s and what I think drives most of these songs is the great layout and the breakdown that always grabs your attention. This song is nothing different and with Scott’s edgy vocals once again really cutting through, it kept this song together.
“Illusion” is more of the same with gritty guitar and vocal performances, with another technical amazing the guitar and bass offering. I like how the bass takes central stage at the beginning and the guitar playing in the bridge is second to none. While this is not the stand out song on the album for me, it is still a great addition to this album.
“Unforgiven” is where the fun begins, with the guitar really taking centre stage. The song has so much energy, that I believe it would have been the perfect track to mosh to back in the late 90’s and everyone would go crazy.
“Sister” is my favourite track on this record due to it having the best intro, led by great guitar and bass working well together. This will put a smile on your face if you love great guitar playing, and I also think this is Scott’s best song vocally on the album
The album ends with two gems in “What’s This Life For” which slow it down a bit with reflections on what the meaning of life may be after a break-up. With the style on this, the vocals and the subject matter really work together, and with the really cool guitar melody, it stays with you.
We finish with “One” which is nothing different than the other tracks on the album, but once again, the guitar and bass arrangements are on point, and really make you feel great at the end of this record.
Overall, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this album before and I’m so glad I finally got to listen to it. With great bass and guitar playing, the 90’s style vocals from Scott and the technically superior sound, every song on this album is a joy to listen to.
If you haven’t listened to this album before I really recommend checking it out. My favorite track are “My Own Prison”, “Unforgiven”, and “Sister”. Purchase Creed’s My Own Prison on iTunes here and stream it on Spotify below.
Words by Stuart Irvine