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Track Review

Whatever else might be said about post-grunge band Creed, they were always a group that inspired strong feelings—among fans, among critics and even among band members themselves.

Hits such as "Higher" and "With Arms Wide Open" helped propel massive sales of 26 million albums in the United States between 1995 and 2005, making Creed one of the most popular bands of that era.

Despite such overwhelming commercial success, however, critics generally disdained the band’s work, which was often dismissed as a warmed-over Pearl Jam retread. Internal tensions between lead singer Scott Stapp and the rest of the band led to an acrimonious dissolution in 2004.

Fast-forward five years, and the band announced plans for a reunion—even if, according to Stapp, it’s not really a reunion. "We never felt like we weren’t together," Stapp told People, "We’re not looking at this as a reunion. It’s more of a rebirth."

With that little bit o’ history in mind, then, it’s on to Creed’s latest.

If "Overcome" is Creed’s future, then it is also its past. I heard it on the radio a couple weeks ago and said to myself: "That’s definitely the new Creed song. Sounds just like the old Creed."

Which is to say, big guitars (note the particularly flashy solo runs from axman Mark Tremonti) and loads of attitude from Stapp. The first verse sounds at first like a mission statement of sorts as Stapp throws down this gauntlet: "Everything we are and used to be is buried and gone."

Keep going, though, and it seems the song is actually about moving forward after a relationship of some kind has come to an irreconcilable end ("You’re impossible, impossible/Say good-bye with no sympathy"). That fractured connection has left Stapp feeling "stunned and numb," but insisting, "I’m entitled to overcome." Stapp also repeats the profane phrase, "I’ll be d‑‑ned," which, apart from the angst-filled narrative, is the main content concern on this song.

Determination amid dissolution, with a big dose of drama and a bit of profanity: Sounds like Creed is back.

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"Overcome" peaked at No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

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August 25, 2009

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Adam R. Holz

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