At a minimum, Creed is the nostalgic soundtrack to childhood car rides when you still listened to the radio or the background noise to an awkward family dinner at Applebee’s. When you were young, if you had any thoughts about Creed at all, it was likely that they were corny. They were overly earnest, vaguely worship-y, bordering on Christian rock. But now that we’re all older, it seems many of us are coming to realize that all of those elements are precisely what we’re missing from our lives now. We crave the simplicity of ’99, the sincerity of its rock music, and even the ambiance of a mediocre chain restaurant. And that’s why we’re bringing Creed back.
Creed will, without a doubt, be on my Spotify end-of-year Top 5. “My Sacrifice” was on it last year. I’m not sure I ever considered myself much of a fan until recently, despite knowing every word of their biggest hits. I’m not sure what brought about this change in me, either—likely a night of watching music videos on YouTube with my friends. But as of late, I’ve found that Scott Stapp’s crooning about God, vulnerability, and the elation of feeling connected to the world is just what I need. I’m not alone, either: According to Google Trends, searches for the band are at an all-time high.
On TikTok, in particular, Creed has become the soundtrack of many wistful videos embracing the feeling of, for example, drinking eight beer-and-shot combos and then joining a bar fight to defend a person who gave you a cigarette once. More straightforwardly, too, there’s been a resurgence of old Creed performance footage. On TikTok and X, clips from Creed’s 2001 Cowboy’s Thanksgiving halftime performance—in which shirtless male aerial trapeze artists fly across the stage—have gone viral several times. Often, it’s shared with a (semi-ironic) sense of patriotism. Back in September, for example, @ElectionLegal on X posted a clip of the performance with the caption “The European mind cannot comprehend this,” gathering over 23,000 likes and 3.6 million views. Or as @Bruhsepheus, who originally posted the video, wrote, “Watching the 2001 Creed Dallas Cowboys halftime performance dedicated to 9/11 first responders and being so moved I immediately enlist in the military.”
Beyond the American greatness stuff and the nostalgia for popular music from 25 years ago, the revival is driven by pleasure in the mundane, lowbrow parts of our existence, too. Creed has become the track to nearly any TikTok about being in any establishment where one can get drunk on a budget. Many of these videos have several million views. People love to put Creed over the scene from Breaking Bad where Mike Erhmantraut waits for death on the riverbank as Walter White anxiously paces around him, representing the spectrum of drunken experiences. While the scene may be negative, it’s shared with humor and familiarity: We’ve all been one margarita too deep inside a strip mall while Creed plays, and we’ve enjoyed it.
Whether Creed is responsible for this revival themselves or simply leaning into it, the band has been on top of their current popularity. Over the summer, they announced they’d reunite for the first time in 12 years with the 2024 “Summer of ‘99 Cruise” in the Bahamas, accompanied by Buckcherry, 3 Doors Down, Tonic, and more. It was popular enough that they announced a second round of the cruise in September, and, soon after that, that they’d be doing a 40-city North American tour, too. They’ve even begun making TikToks of their own. So, perhaps Creed is experiencing a comeback because, well, they’re literally coming back after more than a decade of inactivity.
But even so, there’s more to it. As Stapp has always been in his music, we’re particularly vulnerable now to being overcome with the beauty of life in all its simple glory. We yearn for it. We want to feel moved by halftime shows at football games again. We want to get goosebumps from a song we hear on the radio. Perhaps we took it for granted before, but Creed has always welcomed us in that embrace, waiting to say, “Hello, my friend, we meet again. It’s been a while. Where should we begin?”