There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Derek Webb’s newest release titled Stockholm Syndrome. His record label refused to release it because of a song with two cuss words on it, something that Christian artists are apparently not supposed to do. Webb wasn’t going to let that get him down though, he proceeded to drag fans into an alternate reality online game similar to what Lost did to fans with the Lost experience. Everything culminated July 3rd in Nashville at The Rutledge where fans who followed to clues in the game were rewarded with a video containing most of the songs on the album and a brief Q&A with Derek and the guy who helped him make the album. Those of us who had been playing the game and were still remaining vigilant followed still more clues released during the event and ended up at Derek Webb’s house with copies of the new album in hand. This will be the first time I’ve reviewed something that isn’t even out to the general public yet, I’m pretty excited about it.
I was very surprised by the style of this album. Most of Derek Webb’s other releases have been very acoustic and chill, this album is very electronic and upbeat. While it’s not what I was expecting I do enjoy the style quite a bit. This is the first Derek Webb album I’ve been able to sit down and listen to straight through without skipping around, every track is well written and fun to listen to.
The lyrical content is exactly what you expect from Derek, a scathing blast at the Church at large as well as attacks on the American government. A lot of what he says is needed. There’s a song title Freddie, Please that is an attack on Westboro Baptist Church, the Church that made “God Hates Fags” a slogan. The most controversial song is What Matters More, the song that caused his record label to not release the album for awhile. It’s an attack on how Christians treat homosexuals and includes lines such as “if you really believed what you say you believe you wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak” and “We can talk and debate till we’re blue in the face about the language and tradition that He’s coming to save. Meanwhile we sit like we don’t give a shit about 50,000 people who are dying today.” Personally, I think the cussing in the song makes sense and I think it contributes to his message. I am not opposed to it. There are other songs on the album attacking Christian culture and books such as 90 Minutes in Heaven, songs attacking the way we view our government, and a song that appears to have a pro-choice message in it although Derek refused to comment and confirm that was what he was saying. Every track has it’s purpose and the album’s message is one I think Christians need to hear and think about.
I love this album. I appreciate the things Derek Webb has to say, I think he’s a voice that we need, someone who is within the Evangelical Church and is not afraid to announce the ails he sees. Musically and lyrically this is his best effort yet and marketing-wise this is his most intriguing album by far.
The album will be available for pre-order on Tuesday and you will get a download of the album in it’s entirety as soon as you pre-order, the physical copies hit stores in September, I hope you all get a copy.
Overall rating: 9.5/10