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Music Review: "Stockholm Syndrome" -Derek Webb

I still remember the first time I saw Caedmon's Call in concert. I had been the only Caedmon's fan I knew for nearly a year when my youth group went to Atlanta Fest (I'm thinking it was '96). I begged and pleaded my way into special permission from my youth leader to their midnight concert. And I can still hear the jangling strat as Derek sang a cover of Where the Streets Have No Name.

Nearly fifteen years later, I've come to love and appreciate Webb's music even more than I did as a teenager.

Seeming to always push the envelope, I had heard bits-and-pieces of controversy surrounding his newest release, Stockholm Syndrome. Now, having listened to it, I can see where it might push some people's buttons. Touching on hatred of homosexuals, blind patriotism, and the need for justice, all with the use of bold language, Derek Webb does a great job of pushing his bottom line. Love is the bottom line; love for God and love for neighbor. The songs echo the basic sentiment of the album title: all too often Christians have fallen in love with the very things that hold us captive and counterfeit our true love.

Musically, longtime Webb fans should be prepared, your Christian folk-hero has gone electronica. There are several stand-out tracks: the catchy Cobra Con, the folksy feel of Heaven, the straight ahead beat in Becoming a Slave. A personal favorite on the cd is The Spirit Vs The Kick Drum. This song seems to be built around a great beat and a quote I remember hearing from Rich Mullins (an important influence for Webb) about people confusing emotion in worship music and the Spirit of God. Bonus One: See if you hear any of this on the track... Bonus Two: Also, the controversial What Matters Most, left off by the record label, is available as a free download from Webb's website.

If you've been a fan of the messages of Derek Webb's music you should certainly enjoy Stockholm Syndrome. They won't all make your next party mix, but there are fun beats and sound effects that compliment the tracks. He doesn't shy away from difficult issues and his lyrics will get you thinking. It may feel a bit like a punch in the gut you'll thank him for later. It's the kind of music that makes you want to point your finger and say, "That's what I'm talking about!" Then you realize you're pointing that finger at yourself.

Stockholm Syndrome by Derek Webb is available on INO Records.

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