Perhaps best known for his critically acclaimed I See Things Upside Down, Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter/social activist Derek Webb has been igniting honest dialogue and turning perceptions upside down for some time. A founding member of the popular band Caedmon's Call, he's a rare artist that can marry the good news of the Gospel with the dirt of real life. Derek Webb is at it again – stepping on toes and challenging the church on tough realities including poverty, war, and racism in his new release, Stockholm Syndrome. This provocative CD – already abuzz over the internet – is a work Webb describes as his most important record yet.
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Derek Webb [Stockholm Syndrome]| Posted August 26, 2009
Over two years in the making, Webb co-produced ?Stockholm Syndrome?, with former Caedmon?s Call bandmate Josh Moore. ?Stockholm Syndrome?, delivers everything listeners have come to expect from Derek Webb: killer pop hooks and lyrics as thought provoking as they are emotionally revealing. Sonically, however, this record is a radical departure for Webb, who has left his acoustic, folk/rock roots behind for a sound he describes as ?intentionally inorganic.? ?I?ve always loved folk music,? Webb says, ?because of its ability to tell the story of the times we?re living live in, in a timeless way. But for me, the best folk music on the scene right now is hip-hop. So with ?Stockholm Syndrome?, I wanted to incorporate the more urban and evocative elements of hip-hop.? Webb says he and Moore made the record Gnarls Barkley-style. Webb uses this album as a means of exploring deep issues through the central metaphor of ?Stockholm Syndrome?, illuminating the ways in which a society can fall in love with an oppressive culture and become enslaved by it.
After a cool instrumental song called ?Opening Credits?, Derek gets right into what he considers the thesis statement of the album with the song ?Black Eye?, in essence the title song. According to Derek, ?I was looking at the world around me and seeing evidence of Stockholm Syndrome everywhere. All the issues I was having ? that my friends were having ? that my community was having ? were all deeply rooted in our being in love with the ideas and institutions that are holding us hostage. We love these things. We worship them.? The song has a great upbeat style unlike any song I?ve ever heard by Derek and I think he?s bringing up an important theme as Christians, which is how our culture is infatuated with everything that will destroy us. Derek framed the entire album from that perspective. ?Cobra Con? is next, with a similar electro-pop musical style and another strong message of out-loving and out-suffering our enemies, the people who seek to do us harm. The tools and the weapons we need to fight back are patience and love.
Rather than address the messages behind each of Derek?s songs, suffice it to say that like all of Derek?s albums, he has social commentary about sensitive topics that most Christian songwriters don?t address such as addressing anti-gay sentiments (?Freddie, Please?), relationships and sexuality (?I Love/Hate You?, ?What You Give Up To Get It?) and his usual sarcastic commentary (?Heaven?). To just address the messages song-by-song would be an unfair way to rate this excellent album, the best overall album by Derek Webb in my opinion. Considering that I am a long-time fan of Derek?s back to his Caedmon?s Call days and that ?Faith My Eyes?, ?Somewhere North?, ?Thankful?, ?Wedding Dress? and ?Lover? are among my favorite songs of all-time, this album was worth the wait. Sonically, this album has everything I look for, musical hooks, great melodies and intelligent lyrics.
One of my favorite sections of the album is the flow from ?The State? to ?The Proverbial Gun?. Derek kept recording after finishing ?The State? and started singing an entire stream of consciousness paragraph that Derek had written which became the song ?The Proverbial Gun?, one of my favorite songs on the entire album. Musically it reminds me of the style of ?I See Things Upside Down?, with the songs having an intentional flow and musical connection. My other favorite song combination is ?Becoming A Slave? and ?Jena & Jimmy?. If you like Derek Webb and the musical style of ?The Long Fall Back To Earth? by Jars of Clay, I highly recommend ?Stockholm Syndrome?.
Proud to Suffer from Stockholm Sydrome| Posted September 06, 2009
How do you review an indescribable album. In a word, Stockholm Syndrome, the latest from is eclectic. Its not exactly Christian, yet it is. It's not exactly a political folk album, yet it is. It's not an easy listen, yet the songs go by quickly. The album is a contradiction of sorts. Most of the songs on the album are cryptic in a way only Starflyer 59 meets Joy Electric could begin to describe. There is no middle ground on this album, you will either love it or hate it, and there is not one song on the album suitable for airplay on Christian Radio. (I dare them to play Freddie, please.) Even Heaven, the most "Christian" song, would raise a holy stink, with its reference to Jesus in a bulletproof car.
As a former college DJ, I am well aware of mainstream bands embraced by the Christian Community (does U2 or Creed ring a bell, anyone?). I would gladly play Stockholm Syndrome on the air on a Christian Radio station, though it would be my first and last day on the air if I did. That said, I throw down a challenge. If you can make a case for the political, social, religious overtoned though not overtly Christian Stockholm Syndrome is a "Christian Album", explain to me why the emotional, haunting, dark, spiritual tones of Amy Lee (aka Evanescence) are not.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Stockholm syndrome will not appeal to every ear, but those who expect more from their music will love this album. I know I do.
World Wide Webb| Posted September 17, 2009
This CD is great because it is so different from so many other Christian albums. That's really why I like it so much. Derek is not afraid to speak his mind even if means not having a radio-friendly hit single. Derek intentionally picked every word on this album for a reason that he felt needed to be said to someone somewhere. If you get the CD you got to have the version with 'What Matters More' because the song is just purely brilliant. Any artist that can make me think outside the box is worth what you give up to get it.
First Impression| Posted September 05, 2009
Okay... just a first impression that I will add to later... I like the direction he is going with the lyrics in the album, but unfortunately I don't like the sound all that much.
I have always felt that Christian music needed to become more complicated and thoughtful and move away from the jingoistic lyrics that have pretty much prevented non-christians from enjoying the genre, and this example is definitely going in that direction
One of the songs "The State" does a good job of pointing out our culture's hypocrisy and the last line speaks volumes of how we have gotten away from Christ and into laws and rules "marrying our conscience to the state". I can see this sort of song reaching beyond the pews and speaking to those who are frustrated with the mainstream culture.
"Right and wrong were written on my heart and not just in the laws that condemned me
But now with Caesar satisfied I can even do the things that should offend me"
@#*#&@!(@#)@!| Posted September 03, 2009
I like to think of Mr. Webb as Christian music's bad boy. Always pushing the envelope. Always trying to get us to think or backslide...which ever way you prefer and he does this with much skill- especially in this album. Most Christians will buy this album not because they like Mr. Webb or his music; they will buy this album because of the controversy it has caused by using profanity in one of his songs.