DC Talk

DC Talk

In some ways it’s really hard to believe that this album is 10 years old. Undoubtedly a groundbreaking album in the history of Christian music, it joined only a handful of predecessors (namely Michael W. Smith’s “Go West Young Man,” a trio of Amy Grant albums, arguably Jars of Clay’s debut and the Stryper catalog) in finding some mainstream success.

Additionally, “Jesus Freak” proved that dc Talk was more than a trendy rap group, firmly establishing them as a viable creative force. While this album served as the pinnacle of their career it also served as the beginning of their demise.

I will probably get lynched for saying this but I was honestly taken back more than a little by how poorly this album holds up over time.

“Jesus Freak” was a lot more than a mere album, which is good because this is an album that sounds very dated and even cheesy at times. That’s not to say that there aren’t songs that still hold up well ("Colored People," “Like It, Love it, Need It,” and the brilliant cover of Charlie Peacock’s “In the Light”) or that the album doesn’t hold a sentimental place in many of our hearts, it’s just that if this were released today it would be ignored. As with many other albums, part of this albums success was perfect timing.

As I wasn’t as enthused about this album as I had planned on being I was sort of dreading writing this review. And then I popped in the second disc. I had planned a quick run through of it as remix albums rarely appeal to me in any way but they have to give you something to make you purchase an album you already own again, right? What I found was probably the best remixes of anything I have ever heard. These aren’t so much remixes as they are reinventions and the songs definitely benefit from them. “So help Me God,” “Jesus Freak” (twice), “What If I Stumble?”, “Between You and Me,” “Like It, Love It, Need It,” “What Have We Become?,” and “Mind’s Eye” all get a boost turning the majority of them into songs that stand in the here and now a lot better than their original versions.

The true treat here though is the live songs. Anyone who remembers seeing dc Talk during this part of career will be excited to hear the bands impressive repertoire of cover songs including The Beatles “Help,” U2’s “40,” R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and Larry Norman’s “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” The extra disc also includes a live version of “Colored People” and an instrumental version of “In the Light.”

Overall I was disappointed with my return to the original album, blown away by the remixes, and reminded by the live material just how good these guys were in their prime. Their live show was where they truly excelled as Toby Mac, Kevin Max and Michael Tait were entertainers through and through. This anniversary edition is a mixed bag but worth the trip, especially if you start with the new material.

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