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Friday, December 30, 2005

Derek Webb - Mockingbird

If there is one thing I appreciate more than anything else about Derek Webb it's his unwavering love for the Church. Christ's body has become the central theme in most of his songwriting. At times it could seem that Derek is heavy handed, but it's all a part of his personal call to wake up and be the Bride we were meant to be and not the whore that we sometimes become. His first 2 solo albums could be seen as both a beautiful homage to the body while at the same time challenging her to make a few course corrections.

Along comes Derek's new CD Mockingbird. I had read a couple of interviews and prerelease reviews so I knew a little of what was coming. On this record he gives quite a bit of time to poverty and social justice, politics and even war. Some Christians will be very upset over some of things Derek writes in these songs, but I hope that others will be challenged. I doubt that many of these songs make it to Christian radio and that's too bad. I hope I'm wrong. I just don't see many CCM stations wanting to play these lyrically deep and controversial songs in the place of the 'Jesus is my boyfriend' type songs that are all the rage or the 5th incarnation of a particular worship song.

I will quickly tell you what this album sounds like (to me) and then highlight a few of the songs. This album is very easy to listen to and while the instrumentation is not groundbreaking or experimental, it is tight and well put together. I read that he went back and looked at the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour while putting this effort together. It shows. This album is very Beatlesesque if for no other reason the production is very similar to the Beatles later recordings. It makes for a great sound and an enjoyable listen.

In A New Law, Derek writes:

don’t teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for

don’t teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law

This resonates with me because I am so weary of politics and politicians. As Christians we are pretty much told who to vote for and for many they go ahead and do it without being fully informed. I know I used to. And only the last couple of years have felt like I've been taught to live like a free man.

A King and a Kingdom. I love this song. And here we see the chorus:

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom

Most people will read this and say "well, duh?" But how many folks really live their lives this way? Wanna test it? Make a comment to a hyper-patriotic Christian about how the flag shouldn't be in sanctuary or on a church building.

Later in the song:

there are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him
That last line will make people raise an eyebrow if they don't pay attention the line just before. Republican party does not equal salvation.

Rich Young Ruler is another strong offering:

poverty is so hard to see
when it’s only on your tv and twenty miles across town
where we’re all living so good
that we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood
where he’s hungry and not feeling so good

come on and follow me
but sell your house, sell your suv
sell your stocks, sell your security
and give it to the poor
what is this, hey what’s the deal
i don’t sleep around and i don’t steal
i want the things you just can’t give me

So I guess he is saying that just being good isn't enough for us Christians. All you have to do is follow the rules? I like that he is challenging us to go past that.

From My Enemies are Men Like Me:

peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

This kind of thing will stir some folks up.

This post is getting long, so I may do a part two. I just wanted to give you guys a good introduction to this album. Hope you get it and enjoy it.

or comment in community


Blogger Jeffrey said...

i agree. much of what derek writes resonates deeply in my spirit as well. if any have not been exposed to his music, it is well worth a listen.

1/09/2006 09:29:00 AM


Blogger c said...

i saw him perform a New Law at a ONE concert and he said this was a Dylan song. i'm glad he put this on the album. thanks for the plug for great musicians like Derek.

1/19/2006 08:36:00 AM


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