“What If” condemns pride, a critical attitude, hatred and revenge. Fans are reminded that “heroes come and heroes go” on “Are You Ready.” Lead singer Scott Stapp hopes his life has been an encouragement to others (“Wrong Way”), tries to promote love, peace and unity (“Higher,” “Inside Us All”) and warns of the deceptiveness of outward appearances (“Beautiful”). Christian imagery and a reverence for God are knitted into the obscure “Faceless Man.” “Wash Away Those Years” empathizes with victims of domestic violence (“When tragedy strikes at home . . . Remember you’re not alone”). Stapp rejoices in his child’s birth (“With Arms Wide Open”) and believes in maintaining a youthful zeal (“Never Die”).
Parents tempted to recoil at Creed’s grinding guitars and gritty vocals may be shocked by how paradoxically buoyant the band’s messages are (quite an improvement over the 4 million-selling My Own Prison). Human Clay is sonically edgy, but with its heart in the right place.