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on November 6, 2013
I'll just go ahead and say it: neither Scott Stapp's first solo album nor Alter Bridge's first two albums filled the void that the dissolution of Creed in 2004 left in my personal musical experience. Regardless of the hate they received at the height of their popularity, Creed was just the right mix of intelligent lyrics and heavy rock for many, MANY people, myself included. While their 2009 reunion album "Full Circle" was a welcome addition to their catalogue, it didn't sound like classic Creed and despite some on-again off-again touring over the last couple of years, the band hasn't exactly rushed to issue a followup due to internal tension. Enter 2013, in which we have a new Alter Bridge album in "Fortress" and no less than a month later, Scott Stapp's second attempt at going solo, "Proof of Life." While I like Alter Bridge and appreciate the skill and artistry of everyone involved, their albums haven't had the same effect on me that any of Creed's albums have, regardless of their merits (that said, "Fortress" is excellent, I just don't like AB as much as Creed). And to be completely fair, I wasn't a big fan of Scott's first album, "The Great Divide", either. It had its moments, but it mostly just sounded like Creed with less intricate musicianship and some rough vocals. As a result, I had little to no expectations for "Proof of Life" -- imagine my surprise when I realized that I loved the album from the first three tracks onward.

Make no mistake: unlike "The Great Divide," "Proof of Life" does not sound like Creed nor is it Creed-lite. This is Scott's attempt to branch out musically and for the most part it works. If anything, this album has a more contemporary Christian sound to it than anything else, and reminded me very much of Casting Crowns (make of that what you will). However, let me enter a disclaimer here: I'm speaking of the body of the album, not the album in its entirety. The first three tracks are hard rock/metal of Scott's stock and trade, so proceed accordingly if you're not a fan of such music. That said, the majority of the album is more poppy than anything Scott has ever released before and is surprisingly refreshing. While the songs can sound overly produced at times, most of it works. Scott's songwriting is strong as usual, and it helps give context to his lyrics if you think of "Proof of Life" as the soundtrack to his 2012 memoir "Sinner's Creed." He alludes to several events that were detailed in the book and you can almost hear his struggle with personal demons in the music. My favorite songs from the album are "Slow Suicide," "Proof of Life," "New Day Coming," "Only One," "What Would Love Do" and "Beautiful Cage," (which is a retailer exclusive, specifically the one with the black and yellow sign).

In addition to his strong songwriting, Scott also deserves commendation for his vocals this time out. Whether you think he's a second-rate Eddie Vedder ripoff or the next Elvis, there's no denying his range here. Last time his voice graced a record it was in rough shape; see the Creed Live DVD or Blu-ray for an example of his problematic singing in 2009. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't quite up to par, either, with Stapp's then-recent adoption of cigarettes and just generally being out of vocal shape likely being the culprits. With "Proof of Life," fans can rest easy: in my opinion this album represents some of Scott's best vocal performances ever recorded. Several times he didn't even sound like the usual frontman that I'm used to and regardless of your opinion of his talent, his charisma is unmistakable. Unlike many of his contemporaries, one gets the feeling that Stapp believes what he sings and would just as soon talk to you about it as sing it. Many of his critics have called this tendency of his being "too earnest," but I call it honesty and that honesty is brought to life with beautifully on this release.

Despite my praise for the album, it isn't without its weaker spots. "Jesus Was a Rockstar" is a tad too corny for its own good, and depending on your relationship with the Almighty, it might seem slightly blasphemous to refer to Jesus as a member of a culture that isn't known for its morality (even if it IS an analogy). That this song is apparently a fan favorite alludes me. Speaking of faith, this new, more explicitly religious direction won't do Scott or Creed any favors. For a man who has spent the majority of his music career trying to refute the idea that his music is all about God, he sure makes a few explicit statements about faith and the nature of humanity here. It shouldn't offend anyone, but it won't help to repair the long-tarnished reputation he has helped to create for his music. But that isn't the point of this review, it's just an observation. I do not think he should skirt his beliefs just for public approval, but I understand that others might be offended so keep this in mind if you have beliefs that differ from Scott's. He has fully embraced who he is with this album and isn't afraid to show it, which is in stark contrast with the spiritual uncertainty of the first three Creed albums. Which, despite being a virtue, leads us to the other weak spot on the album: "Hit Me More," is just too on-the-nose, no pun intended. However, keep in mind that this is just my opinion; Scott's music with and without Creed tends to be fairly divisive so proceed accordingly as most relevant to your own taste.

If you're looking for a point to this review, here it is: this album is different from past Scott Stapp and Creed albums. That, in my humble opinion, is a good thing. Not because I dislike Creed, but more because it gives Stapp room as an artist to breathe. As it turns out, breathing room is just what the man needed. The album isn't perfect, and some fans who are expecting a pure hard rock record will surely hate its pop aspirations, but there are some great moments here. As forewarned, there's a possibility that you might become alienated by some of the lyrical content, depending on who you are. But as long as you're not easily offended by Christian imagery or theology you should be just fine with what's on show (there's nothing controversial, just a very specific point of view). I wouldn't rank this album as on par with Creed's best, but it's just a hair below it. If you like Creed, Scott's previous album, modern rock with substance or contemporary Christian music, give this album a listen. You might find your proof of life.
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on November 5, 2013
I'm extremely impressed with Scott's 2nd solo effort. I loved Creed's first album and enjoyed the next 2 but felt they lacked the hard edge of the first. With Scott Stapp's first solo record I was again very impressed with the songwriting and hard edge while still being melodic. Proof of Life is a continuation of sorts from The Great Divide in that it's melodic and does have an edge but this time the edge is more melodic and fine tuned. The first run through left me very impressed and the second listen is so far giving me more of the same with the additional of nuances and lyrics that I missed the first time. Definitely worth the purchase for anyone that's enjoyed his earlier works and/or Creed. On a side note, I recently read his autobiography and after reading that the lyrics in the Great Divide took on a whole new meaning and I can also recognize certain subjects on this album.
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on November 5, 2013
This is the album that a lot of Creed fans, and Scott Stapp fans have waited for since Creed's latest offering in 2009. And the difference between this one and that one are easily noticeable, right off the bat. This is not a Creed album at all. The sound here, barely resembles Stapp's last solo offereing, 2005's The Great Divide.
Here we are treated to a rock star with renewed belief in his abilities as a singer and songwriter. His voice is much cleaner, and more polished than we last heard it in '09, and the music is void of any Creed re-treads. The album as a whole is fresh and modern, without losing it's hard rock edge. The production is very polished, but it still allows room for the gritty, raw sound that post-grunge fans will like, and that will keep most of these songs from getting too much tired air-play.
The main focus of the lyrics is challenges faced and overcome, with a generous portion of dark reflection.
Overall, I can see 1 or 2 more of these songs being released as singles, mainly tracks 6 and 7, to go along with the opening track, which was release prior to the album. Aside from those, being mostly mid-upper tempo, radio-friendly songs, there are a couple all out hard rockers. The album is heavily loaded with mid-tempo balads in the second half, but unlike Creed's 2001 album Weathered, and Stapp's previous solo outing, this does not diminish from the recording. It never gets too "soft."
Overall, if I were to compare this to something for you, so you can go out and buy it (or not) without previewing it first, I'd say it's about as "hard" as a later 3 Doors Down album, and about as "pop" as a heavy metal album produced by Mutt Lange (no, it doesn't sound like Def Leppard).
As as Creed and Stapp fan, I really enjoyed this ablum, but not because it sounded like previous records, but because of how different and fresh it is, and for the fact that it is still pure hard rock.

PS, there is a version at the competing store, the one with the blue and yellow logo, with 2 extra tracks. I would suggest buying this one as a hard copy, as those 2 songs are worth it.
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on November 7, 2013
Excellent rock album! Very inspirational. As soon as I heard this CD, I knew that it would be a great album to help me get through an extra ten minutes on the bike or to help me pull out an extra ten push ups. This isn't just an excellent CD to workout to; it's also an excellent CD to inspire you to think more positively in your daily life. So, not only will Proof of Life inspire you in the gym, it will also inspire you in your life. For me, there's not much higher praise I can say about this CD, or any CD. Proof of Life is a highly inspirational rock album. What more can you ask for?
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on November 5, 2013
The music combines all emotions, from an adrenaline rush to introspective thought. The heartfelt lyrics are delivered with his powerful, passionate singing. The songs are melodic, gritty, and catchy. thoroughly enjoyed this CD. I think it is better than The Great Divide (which was also very good).
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on November 5, 2013
This guy's got talent. It's a great song oriented, hook based album. You can hear more healing in this one than The Great Divide, which was damn near an angry masterpiece in my opinion. Also a bit more diversity here. It's a shame rock is not in the forefront in this country anymore because Creed, Alter Bridge and Scott Stapp have been helping carry a big ass burning rock torch. Stapp's voice is still great.
I hope Creed can get it together again next year, because they nailed it on Full Circle and I think they could do it again. But in the meantime, Alter bridge and Scott Stapp have given us worthy, yet totally different efforts to listen in on and enjoy. I am man enough to say I enjoy Scott Stapp solo, Creed and Alter Bridge as seperate entities. If you can do that, you will enjoy this album. It's Scott. Be proud of yourself Scott. This is a good collection of works. See you on the road. Peace.
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on February 16, 2014
It took a few listens but in the end I really like Proof of Life. I disagree with other reviewers here in that I think Stapp's first solo effort 'The Great Divide' is a MUCH stronger album. The Great Divide both lyrically and musically was great from start to finish (I actually liked it more than many Creed albums), and I just can't say the same about PoL. However, other than Tracks 7 and 8 (which I skip, they are just awful imo) I do like the album. The strongest tracks in my opinion are Proof of Life, Only One and Break Out with honorable mention What Would Love Do.

Honestly I think I like it more than Creed's last album Full Circle.

Stapp's vocals are varied (which was a pleasant surprise) and a strong point of the album. This guy has such a great voice. I just wish the songwriting were stronger.

If a fan worth a buy for sure.
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on November 9, 2013
My fear after hearing the first track that is so polished, hard melodic and fat in sound was – oh no, the one radio track and the rest will now be filler. I was wrong, not a bad song in the package. Each and every song can stand on its own and is deserving of repeated air play. The songs all have that melodic rock, strong lyrical content and hooks that Creed fans were so found of, and yet they all have a great deal of separation at the same time. This mix of content is not simple variations of other songs in the package. Some may feel it is over produced – I would strongly disagree, that full production quality works very well on the album. Between Hard Rock and Catchy Pop, Scott hit the sweet spot with this one! Agree or disagree, I don’t think anyone would argue that this album shows thought and effort; it was not cobbled together to build a package for release. Scott – well done to you and all that were part of this effort!
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on June 4, 2015
Regardless of Stapp's current personal issues, this album is a redemptive and reflective offering that I frequently play thanks to its very positive message and sold, Creed-like sound. Stapp can write well. He pours his soul into the lyrics and song delivery, and it shows. I so wish him the best as he continues his turbulent walk with Christ and his earthly challenges in being the best dad possible for his family.
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on November 16, 2013
Scott Stapp has just released his sophomore solo CD PROOF OF LIFE. The CD is rich with his stand out CREED sound which made him famous in the music industry. Who is Scott Stapp you may ask. He is the lead singer of the band CREED. HIs first solo CD "The Great Divide" was spectacular and his follow up "Proof Of Life" is just as good if not better. There are 11 track on the standard version and 13 on the best buy version. Songs 3 - 11 are instant classics and all absolutely fantastic. There are three tracks in my mind that stand out and could be international hits if the radio stations pick them up. They are; What Would Love Do, Hit Me More, and the bonus track, Your Beautiful Cage. The first two songs are more heavy. They are good, but the remaining tracks really stand out. Here is the track list:
1. Slow Suicide
2. Who I Am
3. Proof of Life
4. New Day Coming
5. Only One
6. Break Out
7. Hit Me More
8. Jesus Was A RockStar
9. What Would Love Do
10. Crash
11. Dying To Live
Best Buy version includes two bonus songs one of which is: Your Beautiful Cage

Scott Stapp is a person who wrestles with inner life issues and because of his own inner struggle and vision, he has written some beautiful thought provoking music. In the 80s we had Michael Been (God rest his sould) of the band THE CALL to carry us through many struggles. Now we have Scott Stapp. Whatever he touches, weather in CREED or as a solo artist, turns to gold. This is worth the investment of the entire CD. Great listening pleasure here. MAD.
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