Scott Stapp. Where do you begin? The Creed frontman has been ridiculed and the talk of much gossip with his numerous personal issues. He seems to be one of those artists that people love to hate. I don’t get it. I will go ahead and say this upfront. I think he is an awesome singer and a great frontman. I like Creed!! I like Scott Stapp!! I like Art of Anarchy!! I like everything he has done…okay, maybe not everything…but heckuva lot of it.
Scott’s personal demons are well documented…his drinking problems, many addictions and his battle with bipolar disorder. He has attempted suicide, been in and out of rehab and so many other things that nobody wants to have happen to them. At the time of this album, he seemed to be doing really well. But shortly after, he came crashing down again.
‘Proof of Life’ is Scott’s 2nd solo album and is probably his most personal and honest record he has ever done. It takes you on a stroll through all his struggles and how he somehow is able to get back up and fight back. There are many Christian overtones in the music, but it is not a Christian album. It is a mainstream, hard rock album…no doubt. It is probably the best thing he has ever done. Yes, I said it…The BEST thing he has ever done!!!
Let’s get to the album. The opening track is “Slow Suicide”. The album doesn’t hold back and he immediately goes into his battles with depression and addiction and how he has been slowly killing himself. It was the first single of the album and what a way to open the album. It is hard and heavy with smoking guitars and head-pounding drums. It is a straight up rocker and gets the ball rolling.
“Who I Am” continues the onslaught with another head-banging song. This one screams Creed to me and would have fit on any one of those albums. The song talks about fame and ego and his struggles with both. He definitely overdosed on that ego during the Creed years. It is such a high energy, powerful song that you are worn out when it is done.
“Proof of Life” is the title track and was co-written with Tyler Connolly of Theory of a Deadman. The song is a great representation of the whole album as it talks about what is the proof that you were alive and here on Earth. I love the opening acoustic guitar work and the overall vibe of the song. It is still a rocker, but slows down a little from the first two songs which keeps the album flow going nicely. “Proof of Life” includes Phil X from Bon Jovi. He helped co-write the song as well.
The next song up is “New Day Coming” where Scott has taken back his life and is reborn. It is more of a ballad than a rocker with a slower pacing. It is one of the bright spots on the album that is filled with a lot of stories of struggle and pain. Here we have rebirth.
And now we have my absolutely favorite Scott Stapp song he has ever done. “Only One” blows all the others out of the water. It his declaration that God was there whenever he was down and couldn’t hold anymore. It is one of the few very religious songs on the album. There is no denying his intentions here with this one. I find myself singing this song all the time especially when I need God to help me out with things going on in my life. Lyrically, the song is so contagious you can’t help but get into it and sing along. It is a pure Rock song with pop edges that would be very radio friendly. I can’t say enough good things about this song.
“Break Out” keeps that same sound and keeps the party going. Another upbeat song about stepping out and breaking free of the past, the demons and starting a new life. Scott’s vocals are so emotional with this one. You can feel that he seems to be in a good place (at the time anyway). One of the songwriters of the song is Julia Michaels who currently has a song on the pop charts called “Issues”. His song Jagger also gets a co-writing credit. He co-wrote these songs with a lot of different people, but maintained a consistent sound.
“Hit Me More” actually gives us a little different style with his vocals. It is a fun song with a lot of energy, but a really dark topic. The song is about the time Scott attempted suicide by jumping out of a 10 story hotel balcony and surviving. Surviving that seems to have let him know that it is out of his hands and God is the one to decide when it is time to end.
One of the most fun songs and another religious song is “Jesus was a Rockstar”. Co-written by songwriter and American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, the song goes through and points out the things that Jesus had done in his life and how he was a rockstar in his day. I like to think he was…Can I Get a Witness!!!
“What Would Love Do” is a beautiful ballad about how love can be impactful. Would love help resolve all problems if everyone showed love. That is my take on it. Love could also be interpreted as God. You can take it however you would like and I think it is ambiguous that way on purpose. The most heartfelt song on the record and the softer side of Mr. Stapp.
“Crash” another slower song and another song about one of his tragic events where he was slightly drunk during a show with Creed and he crashed on stage. His recovery after that incident showed him that if you get too high, you crash as the lyrics state. It is not a bad song, but not the most memorable as it is more generic than the rest, but I still like it.
The last song and second single was “Dying to Live”. This song was inspired by the Prayer of St. Francis and is another song referencing his jump from that hotel balcony. It is a touching and moving song. That incident allowed him see life from a different viewpoint and that all along he was just “dying to live”. Despite ending the album with three slower songs, it was actually a brilliant way to close it out.
11 keepers out 11 songs – 100% (5.0 out 5.0 stars) There is no need to re-list the track list on this one, they are all keepers. I wouldn’t delete a single song or skip a single song. Proof of Life’ is the album I always knew he could make. The album has such a great flow and sonic feel to it and no song feels out of place. It has the perfect running order. It is such a great journey through his life and getting his perspective on how interpreted each event. As I said earlier, it is by far his most personal and honest album. It is by far…HIS BEST!!