Sound: Creed, undeniably one of the biggest rock bands of the late 90's and early 2000's. Scott Stapp, Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips, and Brian Marshell had it all. Due to Scott Stapp's giant ego, and alcohol problem, the band fell apart in 2002. "Acoustics & Rarities" is a bootleg album that was released in 2003, and it's exactly what the album states, acoustic renditions of six of Creed's biggest hits, and bonus or unreleased tracks from the recording sessions of their first two albums...
01. "Higher [Acoustic]": Creed's most successful single, originally recorded for their "Human Clay" album. Stapp doesn't hold back on vocals one bit, even with the only accompaniment being Mark Tremonti on an acoustic guitar.
02. "With Arms Wide Open [Acoustic]": Another hit from "Human Clay", stripped down to acoustics. The recording quality on this track isn't great. Scott's vocals are far louder than the rest of the instruments (Drums and Bass are present in this song), and sometimes it's difficult to hear Tremonti's guitar work.
03. "Is This The End [Acoustic]": "Is This The End", one of two songs the band used for the soundtrack of "Scream 3" in 2000 (The other being "What If"). Again, not the best quality. Scott's vocals again seem to be much louder than everything else, but the instrumental part of song sounds jangly and cluttered.
04. "My Own Prison [Acoustic]": A big hit from Creed's 1997 debut album (Also called "My Own Prison"). This is one of the best sounding acoustic songs on the album. The quality of this one is great. Mark's guitar doesn't sound too quiet, and mixes in with Stapp's vocals as good as it does in the electric studio recording. The drums and bass aren't too quiet or too loud either. This is one of the best songs on the album, and one of my all time favorite Creed songs.
05. "One [Acoustic]": Another single from "My Own Prison". The recording quality takes another step backwards. Jangly sounding guitars, can't hear the drums practically at all, and you wouldn't know that Brian Marshell existed.
06. "Torn [Acoustic]": The track that started it all, the opening track on "My Own Prison". This is another very good sounding track, everything mixes together very well. This acoustic version is close to 30 seconds shorter than the original studio version, but that's just because the end of the song fades out slowly in the studio, but the band actually brings the song to a close with a final note in this recording.
07. "What's This Life For [Acoustic]": The final acoustic recording on the album. The song starts out with a 30 second long, classical sounding guitar intro by Mark Tremonti that isn't heard on the studio version. After the 30 second intro, the main riff of the song begins. The sound of this recording is good, but you might wanna turn up your speakers so you can actually hear it. I keep the dot on my speaker's volume knot at about 8 o'clock. To hear Scott's vocals and Mark's guitar on this song, I suggest about 10 o'clock... It's a very low volume recording, but turned up it sounds as good as "My Own Prison", or "Torn".
(I downloaded "Acoustics And Rarities", and it omitted three of the songs from the album, "One" and "Higher", both live on Letterman, and an Instrumental version of "With Arms Wide Open".)
08. "To Whom It May Concern": Another favorite Creed song of mine. I believe this was recorded during the sessions of "My Own Prison", the lyrics are from the point of view of a man apologizing for doing wrong. "To Whom It May Concern" is a studio recording, so you can expect to hear the great Drop-D guitar tone of Mark Tremonti, perfectly blending with the powerful pipes of Scott Stapp.
09. "Is This The End": The original electric recording used on the "Scream 3" O.S.T. A very original sounding fingerpicking riff by Tremonti, again perfectly blending with Scott's powerfully sung, heartfelt lyrics. I'm not 100% on the songs meaning, Scott is asking "Is this the end, of us my friend?" The end of what, I'm not sure. (A relationship? Life? Etc.) Again, Tremonti's tone is incredible.
10. "Bound & Tied": Recorded around the same time as "Human Clay", "Bound & Tied" was the one song on this album I normally skipped over (Unsure why). I finally gave it a listen, and I'm glad I did. While not one of my favorite songs Creed has ever written, the chorus is kinda catchy, and Tremonti's tone AGAIN is absolutely to die for.
11. "I'm Eighteen": Creed covering Alice Cooper? Awesome! I actually prefer Creed's rendition of this song over the original. Originally written and recorded by Alice Cooper in 1978, Creed's cover was recorded for the soundtrack of a 1998 Science Fiction/Horror film, "The Faculty".
12. "Into The Grain": The final track on the album, and a very rare demo track that Creed recorded when they first formed. It almost sounds like a completely different band, and its hard to believe that the band evolved from "Into The Grain", to "One Last Breath" (on "Weathered"), or "Overcome" ("Full Circle"). The recording has a click to it, and its not of very good quality (but it was only a rough demo). Not terrible, but probably the worst thing the band ever recorded. // 7
Lyrics: Can't say much about the lyrics, except what has already been said the songs in reviews of the bands other albums. Scott Stapp has a very powerful voice, and it matches perfectly with Mark Tremonti's guitar riffs and tone. // 8
Overall Impression: It's a bootleg Creed album. I don't really think I can compare it to anything else. I love the fact that Scott can hold his own vocally with the music stripped down to an acoustic sound, but I don't really care for the quality of some of the acoustic recordings instrumental wise. My favorite tracks on the album would be "My Own Prison", "To Whom It May Concern", and "What's This Life For". If it were lost or stolen... Well... I downloaded it so I could easily get it again, and its in my music library on my computer anyways. I wouldn't get too tweaked out if I lost it. // 7