Stockholm Syndrome (Derek Webb album)

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Stockholm Syndrome
Derek Webb Stockholm Syndrome.jpg
Studio album by Derek Webb
Released September 1, 2009 (physical)
September 7, 2009 (digital)
Recorded Sumner Studio/Fort Sumner Studio, Nashville, TN
The Moore House, Houston, TX
Pozo Hondo Studios, Round Top, TX
Genre Synthpop, Electronica, Christian music
Length 51:40
Label INO
Producer Derek Webb, Joshua Moore
Derek Webb chronology
The Ampersand EP
Stockholm Syndrome
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Christianity Today 4/5 stars[1]
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Cross Rhythms 9/10 stars[3]
Patrol Magazine 9/10 stars[4]
Jesus Freak Hideout 2/5 stars[5]
Indie Vision Music 7/10 stars[6]
Idobi Radio 4/5 stars[7]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[8]
AbsolutePunk 4/5 stars[9]
RELEVANT 3/5 stars[10]
The Washington Post 3/5 stars[11]
Stereo Subversion 3/5 stars[12]

Stockholm Syndrome is the fifth solo studio album release from singer-songwriter Derek Webb. The mostly Electronic album was a radical departure in style from the guitar-driven folk and rock for which he had become known. Themes on the album surround asking difficult questions of Christians on sexuality, race, and social justice. It was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, becoming Webb's first solo album to break into the Billboard Top 200 albums chart.

The album generated controversy for its use of profanity (particularly the use of the word "shit," in the context of a harsh spiritual object lesson in the song "What Matters More") and references to alcohol and sexuality,[13] to the degree that it was originally refused by his record label.[14] After an elaborate online scavenger hunt Webb staged for his fans to "unlock" the song for free distribution, his label conceded to releasing a "clean version" and an "explicit version" of the album,[15] the latter of which was only available directly from Webb at his shows, or by ordering online.



Webb explains that after The Ringing Bell tour was over, the concept of Stockholm Syndrome kept coming up in conversations and reading. He found it fascinating as a concept: people falling in love with or being infatuated with the forces that oppress them and ultimately want to kill and destroy them. Using it as a grid through which he approached his song writing as an exercise, it ended up becoming a theme for a new album.[16] Webb therefore explored the twisted idea of loving what oppresses us and applied to broader Christian culture, race and sexuality issues, consumerism, and technology.


Webb left his acoustic, folk/rock roots behind for a sound he described as “intentionally inorganic.” As he said, “I’ve always loved folk music because of its ability to tell the story of the times we’re living live in, in a timeless way. But for me, the best folk music on the scene right now is hip-hop. So with Stockholm Syndrome I wanted to incorporate the more urban and evocative elements of hip-hop."[17] To do that, Webb reunited with former Caedmon’s Call bandmate Josh Moore, who since then became an experienced hip-hop writer/producer, to produce the album.

Alternate Reality Game and "What Matters More" release[edit]

In a creative plan to get around the legal issues of releasing "What Matters More" without his label's approval, Webb composed a series of coded emails directing listeners to a secret website where they could piece together the missing track by playing an elaborate alternate reality game. The ARG became so popular that INO Records was forced to embrace Webb’s decision to leak the track and distribute it for free online. One of these emails included a code, indicated by random underscores in the text, which was part of a more elaborate set of clues that would lead to the artifacts, including downloads of audio and video clips. Flash drives hidden at coffee shops around the country pointed fans to websites where they could unlock a set of musical "stubs" derived from album tracks. The fans were then responsible for reordering and connecting the audio samples together, to construct the entire song piece by digital piece. Once the song's stubs were all collected, the release announcement for the album was unlocked.

These codes also unlocked the bonus clips and tracks for everyone following the project. The album's launch party continued the theme of secret events by informing (via a Twitter post) alert fans in the audience to ask the bartender for a specific drink. This prompted the bartender to provide them with instructions to wait after the show for a special event. White vans pulled into the venue a few minutes after everyone was instructed to go to a nearby coffee shop for a free listening party. Those who stayed behind were loaded into the vans and taken to Webb's home for a personal concert.[18]

In the liner notes of the album, Webb also used the same underscore code to hide the message "LOVE YOU SM"—presumably referring to his wife, Sandra McCracken.

Track listing[edit]

Note: the track listing for the "clean version" does not contain track 6, "What Matters More."

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Opening Credits" Derek Webb, Joshua Moore 1:32
2. "Black Eye" Webb, Moore 2:54
3. "Cobra Con" Webb, Moore 2:59
4. "Freddie, Please" Webb, Moore 3:52
5. "The Spirit vs. the Kick Drum" Webb, Moore 3:08
6. "What Matters More" Webb, Moore 3:03
7. "The State" Webb, Moore 4:30
8. "The Proverbial Gun" Webb, Moore 3:43
9. "I Love/Hate You" Webb, Moore 5:02
10. "Becoming a Slave" Webb, Moore 5:22
11. "Jena & Jimmy" Webb, Moore 3:25
12. "Heaven" Webb, Moore 4:27
13. "What You Give Up to Get It" Webb, Moore 3:15
14. "American Flag Umbrella" Webb, Moore 4:35
Total length: 51:40



The song "The Spirit vs. the Kick Drum" contains samples of Bert, a character on Sesame Street.[19]


Chart (2009) Peak position
US Billboard 200[20] 66
US Christian Albums (Billboard)[21] 2


  1. ^ Greer, Andrew (July 21, 2009). "Derek Webb: Stockholm Syndrome". Christianity Today. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ Anderson, Rick (July 2009). "Stockholm Syndrome - Derek Webb". Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ Longville, Anthony (February 14, 2010). "Review: Stockholm Syndrome - Derek Webb". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Sessions, David (September 1, 2009). "Derek Webb, 'Stockholm Syndrome' - Patrol - A review of religion and the modern world". Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ Schexnayder, Nathaniel (July 15, 2009). "Derek Webb, "Stockholm Syndrome" Review". Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ Pettersson, Eric (September 1, 2009). "Derek Webb - Stockholm Syndrome". Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ Benjamin, Logan (January 15, 2010). "Album review: Christian singer-songwriter Derek Webb generates controversy, but is it real?". Idobi Radio Network. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ Cober-Lake, Justin (October 1, 2009). "Derek Webb: Stockholm Syndrome". Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ Robson, Gregory (September 1, 2009). "Derek Webb - Stockholm Syndrome". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ Hamm, Ryan (September 1, 2009). "Derek Webb, Stockholm Syndrome". Relevant Media. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ Joyce, Mike (September 25, 2009). "CD Review: Derek Webb's 'Stockholm Syndrome'". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ Hurst, Josh (August 14, 2009). "Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome". Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  13. ^ Derek Webb, "Stockholm Syndrome" Review
  14. ^ INO Records finds new Derek Webb album, "Stockholm Syndrome," too scandalous for release. - The Scanner - Patrol Magazine
  15. ^ Derek Webb's Stockholm Syndrome | prayeramedic
  16. ^ Zahl, David (September 18, 2009). "Blind Bound By Love – An Interview with Derek Webb". Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  17. ^ Davis, Kevin (August 26, 2009). [” "Stockholm Syndrome by Derek Webb"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  18. ^ "The Bloggable Music Network". The Bloggable Music Network. 1999-02-03. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  19. ^ "Classic Sesame Street - Ernie and Bert play the drums". YouTube. 2007-07-25. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  20. ^ "Derek Webb – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Derek Webb.
  21. ^ "Derek Webb – Chart history" Billboard Christian Albums for Derek Webb.