What's This Life For

Album: My Own Prison (1997)


  • A track from Creed's first album, Scott Stapp and Mark Tremonti wrote the song after hearing the news that one of Tremonti's best childhood friends had committed suicide. In our interview with Tremonti, he talked about the meaning: "It's a song about suicide and kids searching for that meaning of life. It's tough sometimes for kids in high school, junior high school, to go through a lot of the depression he went through that led him to commit suicide. So I wrote about that."
  • As Tremonti remembers it, he wrote the music and also the verse and chorus lyrics - Stapp came up with the bridge.
  • This became one of Creed's most popular songs, but it took a while to get there. The My Own Prison album was first released in April 1997 on an independent label called Blue Collar Records. It sold well enough in their home turf of Florida to get the attention of BMG subsidiary Wind-Up Records, which signed the band and brought in producer Ron Saint-Germain to remix it.

    Wind-Up re-released the album and launched a promotional campaign, breaking the band nationally by distributing the title track to radio stations and commissioning a video, which did well on MTV. The next promotional single was "Torn," which was followed by "What's This Life For." By this time, the band was picking up traction on radio and the album was a top-seller.

    In an effort to boost album sales, the Creed singles at this time weren't sold in the US, which made them ineligible for the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, Billboard had another chart that perfectly suited Creed's sound: Mainstream Rock. In September 1998, "What's This Life For" became the band's first #1 on that chart, taking the top spot for six weeks. The first single from their follow-up album, Human Clay, was "Higher," which stayed at #1 for 17 weeks, longer than any other song in the chart's history to that point.
  • The video was directed by Ramaa Mosley, who also did Creed's "Higher" video and "Superman (It's Not Easy)" for Five For Fighting.

    Striking landscapes are a hallmark of Creed videos, and this one is set in the desert plains, where we see the band performing. In other scenes, we see various disaffected folks trying to escape their cumbersome lives, which they do at the end of the clip, joining the band at the end where they exult under a rain shower as Scott Stapp sings, "We all live under the rain."

    The video was shot in a desert near Joshua Tree National Park in California. In our interview with Mosley, she explained: "I had this tremendous fascination with weather and trying to capture this on film. Weather is very mysterious and powerful and I wanted to make a video that set men against the forces of nature. I wanted the video for Creed to feel that the music and the band had performed so passionately that a storm approached."
  • This was featured in the 1998 movie Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. A version of the video was made incorporating scenes from the film.

Comments: 17

  • Denise from Pittsgrove, NjI think the beginning is speaking about a child who has been baptised. "Hurray for the Child who makes it through" and that it is up to the parents to help them with this journey..."the answer lies in you" and when he says "they are laid to rest before they've known just what to do, their souls are lost because, they could never find what this life's for?" si a statement about someone who is lost and not waking with Christ, they commit suicide and their souls are lost. The statement about "you see my wrist I know your pain could be about attempted suicide and Jesus knowing the pain or.
  • Patrick from Overland Park, KsThis is a really powerful song. Probably the best creed has ever written.
  • Tom from East Hampton, CtMarshall from Raleigh, you obviously aren't paying attention. "they're laid to rest before they've known just what to do" is saying that teens kill themselves before their life really begins. Try thinking about what you're saying.
  • Nathan Ritz from Paoli, InThis song is about overcoming suicide have you people even listened to the lyrics
  • Phil from Marin, CaSadie, your uncle is getting his stories mixed up. That happened to Eric Clapton, not Scott Stapp. The song that Eric Clapton wrote because of that tragedy was "Tears in Heaven." And "you see my wrist" has nothing to do with abortion, this song is about suicide.
  • Ashley from Spearman, TxI interpret the first verse of this song as being about abortion. "Hurray for a child that makes it into this world. They're laid to rest before they know just what to do."
  • Benji from Chattanooga, TnThis song is definietly one of their most spiritual songs. It is sending awareness of suicide in these new generations. It also appeals us to trust in God even if satan screws up our life on earth. This isn't our home don't give up.
  • Marshall from Raleigh, NcSuicide? Suicide? Try homicide, it is very clear to see that the song is about abortion. First line, says it all. "theyre laid to rest, before theyve known just what do," and then line "you see my wrist," come on, "I know your pain," Scott is in song scenerio, speaking to the mother is chosen to kill her baby, They aint here anymore. (the babies) come on get real. Listen to the song again, or read the lyrics, The first line!
  • Sadie from Cinci., OhWell why would they be talking about their friend committing suicide when at the beginning it says Pray for a child that makes it through if theres anyway because the answer lies in you? My uncle who loves Creed says it's a memory to his Son. He said that Creed was on tour and they were staying in a hightower. Well Creed couldn't take his son with him because he was too smal so he hired a nanny. The nanny wasn't paying no attention to the child and he went on the balcony. Well you see the kid fell off a 20 story high balcony and died. That's really sad!
  • Niku from None, United StatesI think Jackie is right. Before that there are also the lines about how both your and mine souls are grey.
  • Jack from Hemel, EnglandMan, When I first heard this song, i never thought it would be about some thing like this. Ana, I guess it could... but they may have tried another way...
  • Ana from Lokev, EuropeI'm not really sure so I want to ask...
    "you see my wrist..." so that means he uses (or used) a razor to cut veins on the wrist?
  • Billy from Otway, OhThis Song Was Used At The End Of "Halloween:H2O:20 Years Later.
  • Jackie from Virginia Beach, Va"You see my wrist, I know your pain" - sounds to me like their friend is not the only one to have considered suicide before (Scott or Mark).
  • Brad from Gansevoort, Nyi don't know and i don't much care about who and y the song was written i think this is the best song ever written by creed of all time so all i gotta say is GO CREED!!!
  • Taylor from Austin, TxNow that I've listened to the words again, I understand.
  • Dude from Tx, TxScott's friend said, "Now, who's gonna settle the (deleted) score?" before he shot himself. Scott counterquotes him by singing, "Don't have to settle no (deleted) score".
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