“Stockholm Syndrome” is the title — and thesis — for the latest CD by Derek Webb, a Christian recording artist with a style all his own.
Stockholm Syndrome is psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages where hostages will show signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed. This fits into Webb’s view of how popular culture is often absorbed by Christians, leading to few significant distinctions between believers and non-believers.
I discovered Derek several months ago. I was led to him by a rumor that he used profanity on a song and his label, INO Records, refused to release the song.
I stated at the time, “If the story is a publicity hoax, I think it shows poor judgment on the part of Derek and his label INO Records. If this is a legitimate dispute, I applaud INO for holding their ground.”
I had the privilege of interviewing Derek on the release date for “Stockholm Syndrome” last week. I still don’t agree with his use of a profanity in “What Matters More,” however, I am thoroughly convinced Derek did not do it for the publicity.
In large part the death of Moral Majority founder and Liberty University president Jerry Falwell inspired the song.
“Right after Jerry Falwell died, I was driving home listening to NPR, and Terry Gross was re-airing the last interview she’d done with him,” Webb said, “and I was hearing some glaring inconsistencies in Falwell’s language. He was talking about how – at the core of his belief system – was the Golden Rule, that you should treat people the way you want to be treated.
“But then, within moments of having said this, he went on a rampage, attacking homosexuals in an absolutely outrageous, cavalier, arrogant way. Once again, I thought, ‘Here’s a man who calls himself a Christian talking about his faith on NPR for all the world to hear and then demonstrating it really poorly.’ So, I pulled the car over on the side of the road and wrote all of that down.”
Derek is not your average Christian musician. His music has not received much airplay in the past. “Stockholm Syndrome” is very different in texture and tenor from most popular Christian music, and neither will it garner much time on the radio.
“I am not concerned about airplay,” Webb said. “I don’t make music for everybody. I am a niche artist for a specific tribe of people who get it.”
His current CD is so different from previous projects, I asked him how he thought his current following would react to this dramatic change. He stated he would not be a trustworthy artist if he conformed. That’s what his current fans expect and that’s why they follow him.
I agree that his music is absolutely within a niche; listeners will either love it or hate it.
He reminds me of the album-oriented bands of the ’80s that never got much airplay yet built a huge following.
I think his music, especially “Stockholm Syndrome,” is geared toward a younger generation. However, I’m hooked.
I think Derek is an exceptional songwriter and producer. Songs such as “Black Eye” display extreme originality. Derek and former Caedmon’s Call band mate Josh Moore collaborated on this CD. The blend of between hip-hop and melodic pop is brilliant. The sound of this CD is distinct and highly imaginative and the lyrics are bold and poignant.
Derek has no fear of expression. His music is intelligent and best of all, it’s not contrived.
The 35-year-old Christian songwriter has a long career in front of him. He became a Christian back in high school.
He is original, talented and most of all, bold for Christ. He is more concerned about speaking to those who will listen than playing the radio game and climbing the charts.
His entire album is available for listeners on his Website.
If you have a taste for eclectic music which is off the beaten path or looking for alternative music for your teenager, this CD is A+… I’m a fan!