Some hard music fans despaired in the late 1990’s worried that their style of music would be overrun by pseudo-skacore pretenders and teeny-bop boy-wonder bands that made sugar-pop for pre-teens (I was going to try and get in a few more hyphenated words there, but ….). Then along came Creed. They covered no new ground musically, but they did revisit the well traveled roads of hard music and made a name for themselves in the process. Needless to say, they were welcomed with open arms, ears, and wallets.You know this album is going to rock when Mark Tremonti’s guitar starts to kick-in right as Scott Stapp sings “Lies are what they tell me” in “Torn”. “Ode” takes the rock one step higher and harder before things tone down some for “My Own Prison”. We kind of tolerate “Pity For a Dime”, “In America”, and “Illusion” before “Unforgiven” explodes confidently from the first note. “Sister” is a fun and sentimental rocker. “What’s This Life For” asks an emotional question that really gets no answer (beware of one naughty word sung three times). Finally, “One” visits social frustrations as it punctuates an energetic departure.Although we can celebrate the sound of edgy hard rock all day long, the amazing thing about “My Own Prison” is the lyrics themselves. Creed incorporates a great deal of religious imagery, angst, frustration, and anger in to the song writing, but isn’t that how so many of us feel? … and possibly that is why the foursome became so popular. We heard songs about us.All-in-all, “My Own Prison” plays very well in any CD player. Parents may object to hearing profanity (God’s name in vain coupled with “damn”) on track number 9, but Creed definitely puts pop music on its gluteus maximus with this release. It is a strong debut.