For those of you who haven’t heard, Derek Webb (formerly of Caedmon’s Call) offered his latest album, Mockingbird, as a free download – see link on right sidebar of this blog. One of the reasons this was done was to begin a dialogue about the issues he raises on the album. I have been hearing people talk about the album, but nothing very substantive. So in an effor to honor Webb’s purpose and to start a dialogue about this alubm, I have decided to go song by song and give a commentary. This will be mostly an evaluation of the lyrics and issues presented – I will leave the technical music side to those more qualified than I. I may mention briefly about some of the structure of the songs musically, but that will not be the main purpose in these posts.

For starters, I have thoroughly enjoyed the album as a whole. While there are some things that I am not so sure about, I have found myself thinking on the issues and reconsidering previously held assumptions. I have listened through the album several times and it has been easy to pick up the lyrics and the tunes are easliy memorable. Unlike a friend of mine who accused Webb of attempting to be a cheap clone of Keith Green, I believe Webb is trying to speak into long-held beliefs. This is a good corrective to an otherwise lazy evangelical culture. Lazy being accepting the majority and status quo as orthodox without doing the hard work of Bible study and debate.

(Several friends have questioned Webb’s used of vulgarity, drinking beer (for the mere image of it), and being edgey for the sake of edgey – not to mention his comments about present-day Christian heroes in a Christianity Today interview. This is an excellent observation. Our generation – raised by the grunge scene and Tupac Shakur – has a tendency to try and push buttons to seem like they are wiser and more discerning than the run-of-the-mill believer. We must be wary of pushing buttons to get a rise out of people – this veers towards a lack of Christian charity.)

Back to the album. My favorite songs have been A New Law, A King & A Kingdom, In God We Trust, Mockingbird -in that order. I have just finished Harold Best’s Unceasing Worship. I have been encouraged to move forward with this evaluation and dialogue. This is due to Best’s affirmation that there are so many different expressions of musical offerings, we should be careful to uphold one way of singing. I understand some of the uneasiness with Webb’s political pushing, but I think it is very healthy for all of us to consider and reconsider our positions. Rather than buying wholesale into one political idealogy we need to challenge ouselves to rightly divide the words (and thoughts) of men.

In all of this, I would love to have as much feedback as long as it is thoughtful. No bashing, please.