Jesus Freak (album)

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Jesus Freak
Studio album by DC Talk
Released November 21, 1995
Recorded 1995
Genre Christian hip hop, CCM, alternative rock[1]
Length 57:53[2]
Label ForeFront/Virgin
Producer Mark Heimermann, Toby McKeehan, John Mark Painter
DC Talk chronology
Free at Last
(1992)
Jesus Freak
(1995)
Welcome to the Freak Show
(1997)

Jesus Freak is the fourth studio album by Christian rock and hip hop band DC Talk, released on November 21, 1995 on ForeFront Records.[3] The style was a marked departure from the group's previous releases, incorporating a heaver rock sound and elements of grunge that was popular at the time. The album was released to both critical and commercial acclaim reaching number 16 on the Billboard 200 and with six of the album's seven singles reaching number-one across various Christian radio formats. It won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album.

Background[edit]

After three albums of hip-hop oriented sound, including DC Talk's Grammy-award winning third album, Free at Last, which was based primarily on hip-hop and pop oriented song writing, the trio decided to innovate and reinvent their style.

After three years, DC Talk returned with songs featuring a more alternative rock sound. Thus, the album's lead single, "Jesus Freak", was considered unexpected by fans and critics alike.[4][5]

Michael Tait said, "I was totally into rock and roll at the time [...] I really wanted to make a rock record."[5] The band decided to focus on more rock-oriented music, with touches of rap and pop interwoven into the mix. Tait later explained, "We wanted to write songs that would hopefully touch a generation."[6]

Recording and production[edit]

Compared to DC Talk's other albums, Jesus Freak was, stylistically, an experiment. The album was a fusion of various musical genres, including pop,[1][7] rock,[1] and grunge,[8] all combined with hip hop.[1][7]

The title track, "Jesus Freak," is also of historical importance. It is believed to be the first link between grunge and rapcore in CCM.[9] The song was even played on some secular stations.[9]

In addition, the album contains several cover songs, including "Day by Day," from the musical Godspell, and a heavily overhauled version of "In the Light" originally by Charlie Peacock.[2] Several spoken-word samples are also heard; "Mind's Eye" features the words of Billy Graham and "What If I Stumble" contains a quote from Brennan Manning.[2]

Lyrical themes[edit]

As with the genres, the themes of Jesus Freak are varied,[1] ranging from the spiritual - such as accepting Jesus, hypocrisy,[2] atheism - to the social - such as seeking forgiveness from a friend,[2] racism,[2] facing intolerance,[3] and acceptance.[2]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "So Help Me God"   Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, Kevin Smith, Mark Heimermann, Dann Huff 4:39
2. "Colored People"   McKeehan, George Cocchini 4:26
3. "Jesus Freak"   McKeehan, Heimermann 4:50
4. "What If I Stumble?"   McKeehan, Daniel Joseph 5:06
5. "Day By Day"   Stephen Schwartz, McKeehan, Smith 4:30
6. "Mrs. Morgan"     0:57
7. "Between You and Me"   McKeehan, Heimermann 4:59
8. "Like It, Love It, Need It"   McKeehan, Smith, Heimermann, David Soldi, Jason Barrett 5:23
9. "Jesus Freak (Reprise)"     1:17
10. "In the Light" (Charlie Peacock cover) Charlie Peacock, McKeehan 5:06
11. "What Have We Become?"   McKeehan, Smith, Heimermann 6:09
12. "Mind's Eye"   McKeehan, Tait, Heimermann 5:17
13. "Alas, My Love" (Hidden Track) Smith 5:18
Total length:
57:53

Release[edit]

Jesus Freak was released on November 21, 1995. It debuted at number 16 on the Billboard 200, selling over 85,800 copies in its first week of release.[10] This number was the highest debut for a Christian album at the time.[11]

After the album, released through ForeFront Records, proved to be extremely successful, the band signed an exclusive distribution deal with Virgin Records.[3] The label made it a priority to promote the album to mainstream music fans.[3] Due to this promotional increase, "Between You and Me" became a hit for the band, managing to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2006, EMI released a commemorative 10 anniversary version of the album, Jesus Freak: 10th Anniversary Special Edition. This special released contained a bonus disc of brand-new remixes, rarities, live tracks, and demos.[8] It was remastered in 2013.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Jesus Freak Hideout 5/5 stars[2]
Cross Rhythms 10/10 stars[12]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars[13]
Entertainment Weekly (B+)[14]

Critical response to Jesus Freak was generally positive.

After the initial success of its release, Jesus Freak was RIAA-certified as Gold by its first month, for shipments exceeding 500,000 units.[8][15]

Many of the album's singles were met with positive reception. for instance, "Jesus Freak" was the first non-AC song to win the Dove Award for Song of the Year.[9]

The album has gone on to sell over two million copies in the United States,[8] achieving double platinum certification by the RIAA.[15]

The album also spawned several hit singles. Six of the album's singles became number-one hits across various Christian radio formats.[8] "Between You and Me" was even a cross-over hit on secular radio, peaking at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100.[16]

On June 20, 2006, Gotee Records released a ten-year anniversary tribute, Freaked!, featuring artists from record labels Gotee and Mono vs Stereo covering songs from the original album.[17] "In the Light" and "Jesus Freak" are both featured in Alive and Transported. In addition, the songs are still regularly sung in tobyMac, Kevin Max, and Newsboys concerts.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1995) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 16[10]
U.S. Top Christian Albums 1
Year Single Chart Peak
position
1995 "Jesus Freak" CCM Christian CHR 23
CCM Christian Rock 1
U.S. Bubbling Under Hot 100 10
"Mind's Eye" CCM Christian CHR 1
Just Between You and Me" CCM Christian CHR 1
CCM Christian Adult Contemporary 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 29[16]
U.S. Billboard Top 40 15
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 24
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks 11
1996 "Like It, Love It, Need It" CCM Christian Rock 1
"In the Light" CCM Christian CHR 1
CCM Christian Adult Contemporary 3
"What If I Stumble?" CCM Christian CHR 1
CCM Christian Adult Contemporary 3
1997 "So Help Me God" CCM Christian Rock 3
"Colored People" CCM Christian CHR 1
CCM Christian Adult Contemporary 3
"Day by Day" CCM Christian Rock 3
"What Have We Become?" CCM Christian CHR 1
CCM Christian Adult Contemporary 32

Personnel[edit]

Music Videos[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Jesus Freak review". Allmusic. Retrieved October 28, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h John DiBiase (February 6, 2003). "DC Talk, "Jesus Freak" Review". Retrieved October 28, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d Price, Deborah (November 23, 1996). "Virgin to Take DC Talk Mainstream". Billboard. p. 105. Retrieved July 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ Taff, pg. 6
  5. ^ a b Taff, pg. 8
  6. ^ Taff, pg. 9
  7. ^ a b John DiBiase (November 1, 2006). "DC Talk, "Jesus Freak Single" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Farias, Andree. "Jesus Freak: 10th Anniversary Special Edition". Christianity Today. Retrieved January 15, 2007. 
  9. ^ a b c McNeil, pg. 99
  10. ^ a b "Artist Chart History – DC Talk". Billboard. Retrieved October 28, 2008. 
  11. ^ "DC Talk's "Jesus Freak" makes history with biggest selling Christian music release in first week". Business Wire. November 29, 1995. Retrieved October 28, 2008. 
  12. ^ Bellamy, Jonathan. "DC Talk Aims to Turn Heads with Clip". Retrieved July 23, 2010. 
  13. ^ "DC Talk - Jesus Freak Review". March 15, 2006. Retrieved July 23, 2010. 
  14. ^ Jamison, Laura (December 22, 1995). "Jesus Freak Music Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "RIAA - Gold & Platinum". RIAA Web Site. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b "Between You and Me - DC Talk". Billboard.com. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ John DiBiase (July 20, 2010). "Freaked! A Gotee Tribute to DC Talk's "Jesus Freak"". Jesus Freak Hideout.