Underdog (Audio Adrenaline album)

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Underdog
Studio album by Audio Adrenaline
Released September 14, 1999
Recorded 1999
Dark Horse Studio, Nashville, TN
The House of Insomnia
Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN
Genre Christian rock
Length 42:56
Label ForeFront
Producer Audio Adrenaline, Charlie Peacock, and Todd Collins
Audio Adrenaline chronology
Some Kind of Zombie
(1997)
Underdog
(1999)
Hit Parade
(2001)

Underdog is the fifth full-length album released by Audio Adrenaline. The album's lyrics are a slight departure from Some Kind of Zombie, as they focus more on missions and the word of God being spread, as shown in "Hands and Feet" and "Jesus Movement"; a theme that would reappear in Worldwide. Other songs, such as "Get Down" and "Good Life", reflect on God's influence in a Christian life.

The album also contains a more upbeat rerecording of "DC-10" (which had originally appeared on the band's debut album), a cover of "Let My Love Open the Door" by Pete Townshend, and a recording of "It Is Well With My Soul", the only recording of a traditional worship song on any of the band's albums.

Concept and development[edit]

According to guitarist/songwriter Bob Herdman, the idea for the album was to "have more fun — not take this music so seriously — and just make songs that people like". The title of the album comes from the belief that Christians are usually seen as "underdogs" or "weak . . . but we're not. We're just the opposite. God's empowered us because we've become less for Him," says Herdman.

The album includes two unoriginal songs and a new version of a song previously recorded by the band. The song "Let My Love Open the Door" was written and recorded by Pete Townshend in 1980. The album also features the band's version of the popular hymn "It Is Well with My Soul", which features the guest vocals of Jennifer Knapp. The band also decided to record a new version of one of their first songs, "DC-10". The song, which was featured on the band's debut album, was a live staple of the band and is considered one of their most popular songs. According to Herdman, they "wanted to do something that kinda touched back with our roots, our very beginning. We were gonna do it like the Beastie Boys — more modern stuff … we were just goofin' around and the swing thing came around. Swing's such a big thing and we thought we would just make a joke of it. And do our song swing."[citation needed]

One of the songs, "The Houseplant Song", features guitarist/keyboardist Bob Herdman on the lead vocals. The lyrics were inspired by a story Herdman read on the Internet about the effects of music on plants. It features a number of pop culture references, including a line that says "the second one you play that Petra or that Megadeth", and the closing line which says "we listen to Audio Adrenaline, cranked to eleven", in reference to a line from the film This Is Spinal Tap.[1]

Recording[edit]

The album was recorded on several studios in Nashville, Tennessee: Tejas Studios, Dark Horse Studio, The Battery, 16 Ave Sound, and The House of Insomnia. Most of the recording was handled by Aaron Swihart at Tejas. However, recording at Dark Horse was handled by Shane D. Wilson and Richie Biggs, while recording at The House of Insomnia was handled by F. Reid Shippen and Todd Collins. Strings were also recorded by Swihart at Sound Stage Studio, in Nashville, and mixed at Castle Recordings.

Most of the mastering was done by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound Studio, while digital edition was done by Paul Angelli. Mixing was done at East Iris Studio, Castle Recording Studios, and Masterphonics in Nashville. Shippen, Collins, and David Leonard where in charge of mixing.[2]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Mark Stuart, Bob Herdman, Will McGinniss and Tyler Burkum, except where noted.. 

Album release
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Mighty Good Leader [a][b]"   Mark Stuart, Bob Herdman, Will McGinniss, Tyler Burkum, Ben Cissell 3:15
2. "Underdog[a]"     3:30
3. "Get Down[a][b]"   Stuart, Herdman, McGinniss, Burkum, Cissell 3:16
4. "Good Life"   Stuart, Herdman, McGinniss, Charlie Peacock 3:53
5. "Let My Love Open the Door"   Pete Townshend 2:35
6. "Hands and Feet[a][b]"   Stuart, Herdman, McGinniss, Burkum, Peacock 4:08
7. "Jesus Movement"     3:18
8. "DC-10[a]"   Stuart, Herdman, McGinniss, Barry Blair 2:26
9. "It Is Well with My Soul" (featuring Jennifer Knapp) Horatio Spafford, Philip Bliss 5:12
10. "This Day"     3:25
11. "It's Over"     3:57
12. "The Houseplant Song"   Stuart, Herdman, McGinniss 4:04
Total length:
42:56
a appears on Hit Parade
b appears on Adios: The Greatest Hits

Personnel[edit]

Band members[edit]

  • Mark Stuart - lead vocals, harp on "Jesus Movement"
  • Bob Herdman - keyboards, guitars, acoustic guitar, backing vocals, and lead vocals on "The Houseplant Song"
  • Will McGinniss - bass, backing vocals
  • Tyler Burkum - lead guitars, backing vocals
  • Ben Cissell - drums

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Jennifer Knapp - guest vocals on "It Is Well with My Soul"
  • Mike Owsley - organ, piano, vocals
  • Tony Miracle - programming synths
  • Charlie Peacock - vocals
  • Dan Spencer (of The O.C. Supertones) - trombone on "Jesus Movement"
  • Darren Mettler (of The O.C. Supertones) - trumpet on "Jesus Movement"
  • Mark Nicholas - accordion
  • Claudia Tapia - Spanish vocals on "Jesus Movement"
  • Todd Collins - additional bass and instruments, vocals
  • F. Reid Shippen - additional instruments
  • Dave Davidson - strings arrangement on "It Is Well with My Soul"
  • Nashville String Machine - strings on "It Is Well with My Soul"

Production and recording[edit]

  • Charlie Peacock - producer
  • Todd Collins (for the Gotee Brothers) - producer, mixer, recording, programming
  • Eddie DeGarmo - executive producer
  • Dan R. Brock - executive producer
  • Aaron Swihart - recording, string recording
  • Shane D. Wilson - recording
  • Richie Biggs - recording
  • Ted Jensen - mastering
  • Paul Angelli - digital editing
  • Gil Gowing - digital editing
  • David Leonard - mixer
  • F. Reid Shippen - mixer, programming
  • Charlie Brocco - assistant mixer
  • Dan Shike - assistant
  • Brad Burke - assistant
  • Mark Nicholas - A&R
  • Mandy Galyean - A&R administration
  • Molly Nicholas - project administration
  • Susannah Parrish - creative coordinator
  • Kerri McKeehan Stuart - photography
  • David Maxwell - photography

Music videos[edit]

Music videos were made for the songs "Get Down" and "Hands and Feet".[3][4] The video for "Hands and Feet" was recorded in the Darién Jungle in Panama with some local native tribes.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
allmusic 3/5 stars[5]
HM Magazine (favorable)[6]
Jesus Freak Hideout 4.5/5 stars[7]

Critical[edit]

Underdog was generally well received by critics. Steve Huey, of AllMusic, gave the album 3 stars out of 5, writing that overall, the album would please especially fans of the band. However, he writes that "the funk riffs still sometimes feel grafted onto the songs, which are melodic AOR at heart, and there are a few musically awkward moments here and there".[8] John DiBiase, of Jesus Freak Hideout, gave the album 4.5 stars out of 5, and claimed it was the best album from the band since Don't Censor Me. He also wrote that Underdog surpasses "each album in talent, song craftmanship, tightness, bold message, and overall greatness."[9]

Both "Get Down" and "Hands and Feet" were later featured in WOW 2000 and WOW Hits 2001 respectively, which features chart-topping and/or critically acclaimed Christian songs. Also, "Mighty Good Leader" was sampled by rapper Aceyalone for his song "Superstar", which was featured heavily in the 2004 video game ESPN NFL 2K5.

Chart performance[edit]

Underdog peaked at #76 on Billboard 200.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Get Down with the Underdog on Jesus Freak Hideout (8/20/99)
  2. ^ Underdog slip cover; Audio Adrenaline (1999)
  3. ^ "Get Down" music video on YouTube
  4. ^ "Hands and Feet" music video on YouTube
  5. ^ allmusic review
  6. ^ Pogge, David M. (January–February 2000). "Album Reviews: AUDIO ADRENALINE, underdog". HM Magazine (81). ISSN 1066-6923. 
  7. ^ Jesus Freak Hideout review
  8. ^ Underdog on AllMusic; Huey, Steve
  9. ^ Underdog on Jesus Freak Hideout; DiBiase, John (8/16/99)
  10. ^ Underdog on Billboard

External links[edit]