album reviews

Scott Stapp
The Great Divide
Wind-Up Records (2005)

Singer Scott Stapp's release of his solo debut, "The Great Divide," barely a year after Creed's highly publicized breakup seems to solidify his assertion that his former band will not reunite. Guitar-driven and packed full of Stapp's trademark Christian-influenced lyrics, "Divide" sounds for the most part like a new version of Creed, and not surprisingly so: Why alter the style that sold millions of records and made Creed one of the biggest rock acts of the late 1990s?

"Divide" doesn't start out as radio-friendly Creed Junior, though: The screeching guitars, pounding drums and screaming vocals of album-opener "Reach Out" hint at a more aggressive approach. But it doesn't take long for "Divide" to settle into a more familiar sound. "Hard Way" follows Creed's formula of quieter verses paired with impassioned choruses, all delivered with Stapp's over-serious vocals. The title track could be the sequel to Creed's single "Higher," both sonically and lyrically, with Stapp's religious words ("You became my reason to survive the great divide/You set me free") linked to a blaring, dramatic guitar riff.

Such Christian lyrics frame "Divide" as a spiritual journey, with Stapp's struggle to make the right choices ("Justify") leading him to a triumphant proclamation of faith ("You Will Soar"). The album-closing ballad "Broken" pairs Stapp's confessional lyrics ("Yes I know what it feels like/to be broken and used/scared and confused") with the uplifting vocals of a backing choir to deliver one of the more overtly religious sounds of Stapp's career.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 23 November 2005, Page C05
.: The Great Divide on