SCOTT STAPP – The Space Between The Shadows (2019)
Long before Chad Kroeger, Creed frontman SCOTT STAPP was the punch bag for anyone who hated preening, self-regarding, multi-million-selling arena-grunge. The criticism wasn’t unwarranted – Stapp was a grade-A ballbag. However, Stapp has just released a solo album, “The Space Between The Shadows”, that might make you like him.
Twenty years on, a combination of fading fame and struggles with addiction seems to have knocked some humility into Scott Stapp. That turmoil shapes this, his third solo album, which reads like a mea culpa from a man who realises what a pillock he used to be.
What’s even more surprising is just how good “The Space Between The Shadows” is.
From its opening apocalyptic newscaster,”The Space Between The Shadows” heralds the end of things old and speaks to new, hard-won beginnings. Having had a tumultuous few years fighting his own personal battles, many surrounding his mental health, Stapp took a long, hard look at the man in the mirror and strived to make some changes.
A process captured with unvarnished honesty and full disclosure in the explosive “Purpose For Pain”. An anthem for anyone who has ever struggled in the dark, the song is an act of defiance, embracing the negative and turning it into something overwhelmingly positive.
A sentiment echoed in the rising from the floor, singalong anthem, “Heaven In Me,” as well as the very well arranged “Survivor” and the album’s pulsating closer, “Last Hallelujah.”
Vocally, Stapp is arguably at his best on “‘The Space Between The Shadows”. Nurturing his craft and not relying on the sheer force of his natural ability as he perhaps once did, Stapp’s delivery is simply stunning. As is his range, riding the emotional and vocal highs and lows. Yet if one element risks eclipsing all this; it lives among the lyrics.
Stapp made the conscious decision to approach the lyrics with a visceral directness. And he excels and exceeds his own expectations, revealing the universal in the person in doing so.
Take the heartbreakingly “Name,” which sees Stapp recalling a moment when he looked at his children playing, prompting reflections on his own childhood and the one jarring difference. Scott, who describes himself as a husband and a father, did not know his own father and swore his children would never know that pain. A sentiment that informs “Name” whose haunting, laden paced opening feels like trudging through the muds of personal pain, before rising, phoenix-like, and soaring free of the shadows.
A sentiment replicated, lyrically and vocally, throughout. Whether it be arena-ready anthems such as “Face of the Sun,” or knee-weakening ballads such as “Ready To Love,” or the sublimely beautiful “Gone Too Soon,” a song remembering Scott’s peers such as Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, and Scott Weiland, Stapp is exceptional, ever-present, and ever invested in every second.
Sometimes you can have all the right ingredients; a great singer, songwriter, and musicians, but it just doesn’t make the cut. Not the case with “The Space Between The Shadows”.
Lyrically, musically, and vocally Stapp makes no excuses. If music as therapy can sometimes feel a little self-indulgent, Stapp transcends that danger and makes his own tales speak to all.
One of the rawest, honest, and human albums you are likely to listen to in 2019, “The Space Between The Shadows” is also one of the best.
01 – World I Used to Know
02 – Name
03 – Purpose for Pain
04 – Heaven in Me
05 – Survivor
06 – Wake up Call
07 – Face of the Sun
08 – Red Clouds
09 – Gone Too Soon
10 – Ready to Love
11 – Mary’s Crying
12 – Last Hallelujah
Scott Stapp – lead vocals
Ben Flanders – guitar, backing vocals
Yiannis Papadopoulos – lead guitar
Sammy Hudson – bass, backing vocals
Dango Empire – drums