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DC Talk - Jesus Freak

Release:Jesus Freak
(what is this?) / 33 users have this
Media:[Audio CD]
Info:1. So Help Me God
2. Colored People
3. Jesus Freak
4. What If I Stumble?
5. Day By Day
6. Mrs. Morgan
7. Between You And Me
8. Like It, Love It, Need It
9. Jesus Freak (Reprise)
10. In The Light
11. What Have We Become?
12. Mind's Eye
13. Bonus Track
Rating:Our users rated this release: 9 out of 10
(Number of votes: 4)   Sign up or login to submit your vote

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Original author/source
Review:DC Talk noemt deze stijl Rap, Rock 'n Soul. Pakkende songs in een gevarieerder mix van rap en rock. Met teksten die radicaler zijn dan ooit!
source: GMI Music Magazine, Januari 1996, added: Feb 23, 2005
Review:Label: ForeFront
Producer: Toby McKeehan/Mark Heimermann/John Painter[Image]
Tracks: 13
Time: 57:55
Style: Rap/Rock

De nieuwe CD 'Jesus Freak' van de amerikaanse driemans-formatie DC Talk is er een om van te watertanden. De muziek is gevarieerder dan ooit te voren, de songs zijn 'catchy'. De mummers lenen er zich dan ook bij uitstek voor om de hitlijsten te bestormen. Het aardige van DC Talk is dat naarmate hun populariteit groeiende is, de radikaliteit in de songteksten toeneemt. 'Jesus Freak' mag in jou CD-speler niet ontbreken, Jezus freak of niet.
source: GMI Music Partners folder, added: Feb 23, 2005
Review:Hoe populairder DC Talk wordt, hoe radicaler hun teksten en hoe gevarieerder hun muziek. Met deze catchy songs in Rap, Rock 'n Soul bestormen ze de hitlijsten
source: GMI Music Magazine, Maart 1996, added: Feb 23, 2005
Review:Available as a music CD or as a CD ROM with video footage this is one of the best albums to be released this year. DC talk already have a reputation as a band who know what they want to say and how they are going to say it. "Jesus Freak is a lot about our lives on the road, our relationships with each other and people. It's about trying to pursue our faith in an arena which is full of contradictions: you're told every day that 'you're great, you look cool, you sing great' but you're being told in God's word to humble yourself, to put your brother before yourself. It's hard...... " - D C Talk.
source: CCM Record Reviews archive, added: Feb 23, 2005
Review:Roger: I think the first thing that should be said about Jesus Freak is a point of clarification of the statements that started when the Jesus Freak AVCD Single released this summer--DC Talk has not gone grunge. This project is best described as....well, pop music.

Beth: While I agree that it is pop music in sense that the album is jam-packed with musical and lyrical hooks, I think that definition is a little too simple. There are too many influences at work here to label it with "pop." Hard rock, alternative, hip-hop/rap and R&B mesh to create something truly original. You might hear traces of this or that artist, but you would be hard-pressed to point to any particular song and say "That's sounds just like [insert artist here]."

Roger: Absolutely. I wasn't meaning to imply that, just to shake the statements about DC Talk going grunge (which, if you think about it, grunge is a pretty big part of pop music now anyway...). But, I think combining all the flavors you mention, the overall meal turns out to be pop. I know you have spent some time dissecting it, so why don't you rattle off some of the influences you hear.

Beth: I heard some Seal, especially in "Colored People," "Just Between You and Me," and "What Have We Become." A little Red Hot Chili Peppers in some of the vocal overlays, most discernable in "What Have We Become" and "So Help Me God." The driving guitar and rhythm work in the harder songs reminded me a little of Living Colour, while the overall passion conveyed is certainly U2-ish in vibe, even if the sound isn't. And yes, a little bit of grunge.

Roger: I would agree with those perceptions. I can't think of others off-hand to add, but I want to say that the main reason I refer to this as pop music is because of the vocal harmony-overload that persists throughout the project--and I mean that in a good way. The project is packed with lush layers of catchy vocal hooks.

Beth: DC Talk's biggest strength has always been the vocals, and this is certainly no exception. Both Kevin Smith and Michael Tait turn in some great performances. They've matured as individual artists--Smith sounds less like Bono here, stylistically, but still retains the passion. Tait's voice is smoother than ever, and the liner notes credit him with arranging most of the background vocals that give this album its richness. Toby McKeehan does something here that really hasn't happened on a project before--he actually sings. As a pure vocalist he's not in the same league as Smith and Tait but he is credible, and adds an edgy texture to those cuts where he does more than rap.

Roger: While the initial sonic impact grabbed me big-time, the lyrics are what have riveted me to the project--I listened almost non-stop for the first two weeks I had it. Since we heard the "Jesus Freak" single, we knew that the message wasn't going to be watered-down by any stretch of the imagination. However, I was almost surprised by the maturity in the writing.

The topic selection was admirable as well. The boldness of "Jesus Freak" is contrasted with songs begging for assistance to stay focused on God, such as "So Help Me God," and songs showing human weakness, such as "What If I Stumble." They are each well-written and not some "cookie cutter" or "Christian-ese" formula. Sometimes, the meaning can even go right over your head if you aren't focusing on the lyrics.

I think my favorite song is "Colored People," which is mucho-catchy to begin with, but the song is dead on. It's simple to write a song that addresses the racial problems of history. I mean, compare "Walls" (go way back to Nu Thang for that) to "Colored People." Instead of just an angst-riddled bunch of screams to tear down the differences between us, here we have a song that turns the focus to the only way to get out of these problems--Divine Grace. And the catchy--yet totally unexpected--lyrical phrasings are something I would expect from Steve Taylor (high praise I assure you):

Pardon me, your epidermis is showing
I couldn't help but note your shade of melanin
I tip my hat to the colorful arrangement
Cause I see (the) beauty in the tones of our skin

We're colored people and we live in a tainted place...
We've got a history full of mistakes
And we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace

Beth: I have to agree with you on that. It's been great to see their writing go from the more overt "cheerleading" that was prevalent on their first two discs to the personal revelations that started on Free At Last with "The Hard Way." And now, while they did stay topical with songs like "Colored People" and "What Have We Become," the majority of the writing on this project reflects a personal point of view, as opposed to making pronouncements. That is the kind of writing that definitely makes them more accessible; not just as Christian artists, but as artists in general.

I think that one of the best examples of this lyrical turn (besides "What If I Stumble") is shown in "Between You And Me."

If confession is the road to healing
Forgiveness is the promised land
I'm reaching out in my conviction
I'm longing to make amends

So, I'm sorry for the words I've spoken
For I've betrayed a friend
We have a love that's worth preserving
And a bond I will defend

Roger: And, while it isn't a song they wrote, I think the inclusion of Charlie Peacock's "In The Light" is very appropriate. I found that to be a highlight-- a great acoustic remake of the song. I wasn't thrilled with McKeehan's panted verses, yet they did draw the focus onto the lyrics effectively--as did the energetic choruses.

Beth: These guys really seem to like doing covers. I definitely don't see anything wrong with it, especially if they give a new spin on the song. Both "Lean On Me" and "Jesus Is Just All Right" on Free At Last were good remakes. I think that "In The Light," while somewhat different, still keeps the same flavor as Peacock's original. "Day By Day," however, sounds nothing like the most well-known song from the '70's musical Godspell.

The track starts out on a slow rhythmic beat with Smith doing some vocal noodling over top. McKeehan half sings/half raps the verse before the pace picks up and they plow into the well-known chorus. McKeehan and Smith wrote the verses, which amplify the original song's meaning well, providing a graphic picture of the need to grasp for God's guidance while navigating this earthly life.

The subtleties of darkness never cease to amaze
As a physical world creates a spiritual haze
Blinded by distractions
Lost in matterless affairs
Reaching through the darkness
Trusting you will meet me there...

Roger: Before we quit, I just have to comment on the packaging. I was very impressed with the concept. It looks and feels like something out of the 1930's. Oh, and we can't forget the "snippets." Of course, they have them. You get to hear the next-door neighbor to the Gotee Brothers' studio comment on the day they recorded drum tracks, and a hilarious spoof of the "Jesus Freak" song--you just have to hear it to understand. As with the snippets in previous releases, however, they do get a little tiring the 50th time you hear them.

Beth: The shorter bits are more effective in the long run--they don't break up the flow of the album as much. I think Brennan Manning's intro to "What If I Stumble" is particularly effective. Combined with the message in the song, it gets across the point that while we will make mistakes and God's love will never waver because of them, we still have a responsibility to pursue Godly living. Either point, taken separately, would be unbalanced; but meshed together as they are, they provide the whole picture of the struggle. It's both a warning and an encouragement.

I also liked the addition of Smith's poetry reading on the "unlabeled track." It shows that these guys aren't afraid to do something that is pretty avant-garde, at least by the usual Christian standards. Actually, most pop music standards.

Roger: True. I think that this project, while it combines influences from across the board, flows together very well. Where I used to program a few songs off DC Talk albums so I wouldn't have to hear them, Jesus Freak has no "filler material." It is a jam-packed project. I just hope it isn't as long until we get to hear another DC Talk release...

Beth: I agree, though if they make as big a leap forward on the next project as they did on this one, I'd probably be willing to wait another three years. Quality before quantity, you know....
source: Roger Appelinski & Beth Blinn on Internet, added: Feb 23, 2005
source: -1', added: May 20, 2015
source: -1', added: Jul 03, 2015

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