It’s a close call but due to starting with them earlier in my musical journey than any other band, Dctalk takes the honor of being the most influential on my formative years during the 90s. With four albums releasing in the decade and three of the four maintaining classic status to this day, they have a strong albeit short(ish) catalogue. After combing back through their body of work I was surprised to see the high amount of cover songs (11) that they mixed in to their albums. In fact, if you don’t count the covers, skits, and spoken word pieces, their original output was a mere fifty-seven songs.
Further still some of those originals don’t hold up well and remain on the cringe-y side. I’m mostly talking about albums one and two…However, all that said, Dctalk packed a powerful and undeniable impact on the Christian music world and subsequently my life. Each of their last three albums could pass for greatest hits compilations. Ultimately, there are just…So. Many. Great. Songs.
After attempting to rank every skit, song, or spoken word ever recorded by the band I decided to trim it down to a much more difficult list of a Top 25. There had to be some hard cuts that pained me to make, but such is the job list-maker. It is of course self-inflicted angst, but I find it fun to toil over and finally put a stamp on. So—here’s my reworked, and with some commentary on just the Top 10 Top 25 Songs of Dctalk. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you were/are a fan of the supergroup that ruled my favorite decade of Christian music so join the conversation in the comments and share your top 10 or 25!
25. “Atmosphere (Remix Feat. Dctalk)” – Tobymac Album Welcome To Diverse City (2004)
24. “Its Killing Me” – Supernatural (1998)
23. “Colored People” – Jesus Freak (1995)
22. “Lean On Me” – Free at Last (1992)
21. “Red Letters” – Supernatural (1998)
20. “Since I Met You” – Supernatural (1998)
19. “Free At Last” – Free at Last (1992)
18. “Day By Day” – Jesus Freak (1995)
17. “Mind’s Eye” – Jesus Freak (1995)
16. “Socially Acceptable” – Free at Last (1992)
15. “Jesus Is Just Alright” – Free at Last (1992)
14. “So Help Me God” – Jesus Freak (1995)
13. “Time Is…” – Free at Last (1992)
12. “Just Between You And Me” – Jesus Freak (1995)
11. “Say The Words” – Free at Last (1992)
10. “Consume Me” – Supernatural (1998)
What a killer hook. Kevin shines supernova being hot on the vocals of this great love ballad. Should have been huge on mainstream radio.
9. “Dive” – Supernatural (1998)
I’m almost certain it’s Michael wailing the high notes in the background, and it’s awesome. I like the use of Kevin’s lower register in this one as well.
8. “In The Light” – Jesus Freak (1995)
They didn’t write it, that would have been Charlie Peacock, but they took it to greater places. Great song, dctalk’s version is THE version.
7. “What Have We Become?” – Jesus Freak (1995)
Placed at number seven because it’s literally a perfect song and seven is the number of perfection. Much like the Newsboys “Lost the Plot” this one stands up to the time test super well and is as apropos as ever to our modern times.
6. “Luv Is A Verb” – Free at Last (1992)
Can I still sing this word for word? Why yes I can. Somewhat a nostalgic pick, I still love this one enough to play it regularly. My six year old requests the “Down with the Dctalk song” often to my great delight. Great mixture of rock and rap.
5. “My Will” – Exodus: Various Artists (1998)
A non-album song in the top 5?! When it’s this good, then yes. Released on worship compilation Exodus that Michael W. Smith compiled, this might be the best song on that album, though Sixpence None The Richer, Jars of Clay, and Crystal Lewis may raise an eyebrow at the assertion. Either way, it’s a cool look at a worship direction Dctalk could have gone post 2001 if they’d stayed together.
4. “Jesus Freak” – Jesus Freak (1995)
As only a fan of pop music (MWS, Amy Grant, SCC) to this point this song was an unexpected, albeit awesome jolt to my system. I Couldn’t get enough! It’s one of only a few songs (“Shine” by Newsboys “Big House” by Audio A and “Flood” by Jars of Clay being the others) I ever remember taping off the radio so I could listen again, and again. Some would cal it their best—to which I understand though disagree. Certainly their most iconic though.
3. “The Hardway” – Free at Last (1992)
Kevin’s vocals shine on groovy mid-tempo tune. Sounds a bit dated, but a terrific song nonetheless. Music video is terrific as well.
2. “My Friend (So Long)” – Supernatural (1998)
I almost chose this as my number one, and it was close. Love this song! They say it was purely hypothetical but I always thought it was about Kevin. Turns out now nearly 20 years later I think it’s about Toby.
1. “What If I Stumble” – Jesus Freak (1995)
This is hands down the best song of their entire discography and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise! Okay, maybe not fisticuffs but perhaps a good verbal sparring. There’s a palpable concern dripping from these lyrics. It’s earnest, honest, and perfect.
There you have it! What do you think? How would you rank their top 10 songs? Top 25? I’d love to hear from you! Like the post if you liked it, leave a comment where you agree/disagree, or share it with a fellow dc Talk fan if you wanted foster conversation about the 90s best super group!
As always…Happy listening!
Other Posts you might enjoy: What If Dctalk Never Went Solo? A Hypothetical 6th Album, Dctalk’s “Free at Last” Is 25!, Tobymac: Momentum Turns 20, Ranking Dctalk: Discography Edition
Great list but i wish you could have ranked Godsend higher Supernatural is my favorite dc talk album and most of the songs on that album are in the top 10
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Yeah, I like supernatural but it’s easy to tell there were cracks in the formation of Dctalk with everyone m, especially kevin wanting to do their own thing. I feel like it left supernatural as an all over the place album with some good songs and some filler. Godsend is a good track but it just never fully connected with me and has t aged well in mu opinion.
And here, finally, is my dc talk list! Putting this together has made me realise that there’s still a 17-year-old in me who hasn’t fully processed the fact that his favourite band broke up – always holding on to a hope that the intermission will finally come to an end!
#20 So Long My Friend (Supernatural)
#19 Mind’s Eye (Jesus Freak)
#18 Say the Words (Free at Last)
#17 So Help Me God (Jesus Freak)
#16 What Have We Become (Jesus Freak)
#15 My Deliverer (Prince of Egypt) – such a good cover of a great song. If they can’t agree on anything new, dc talk could always do covers of underappreciated gems from CCM history.
#14 Atmosphere (Welcome to Diverse City) – what if they had contributed vocals on each other’s early solo albums? Based on this, it would have turned pretty good songs into great ones.
#13 Supernatural (Supernatural) – they almost managed to outdo Jesus Freak with this one. Almost.
#12 My Will (Exodus)
#11 Luv Is a Verb (Free at Last) – Christmas ’93, and my cool aunt gifts me a cassette by these Christian rappers. I’ve been deep deep down with the dc talk ever since. Love the more pronounced rock guitars on the Freakshow version.
#10 Between You and Me (Jesus Freak)
#9 Colored People (Jesus Freak) – growing up in 90s Germany (where some of the biggest US imports were hip hop, the NBA and Will Smith) I didn’t realise the kind of statement they were making with this. It just seemed to declare a self-evident truth, and sounded great.
#8 Time Is (Free at Last) – the hardest rock song of my pre-teens!
#7 In the Light (Jesus Freak) – this one caught on in a pretty big way in my part of Germany.
#6 The Hardway (Free at Last) – I love the new ending on the Freakshow live version.
#5 Into Jesus (Supernatural) – the song that really impacted me when I first heard Supernatural, it was the theme song of my later teens.
#4 What If I Stumble (Jesus Freak) – love this more and more as time passes, as my walk has often been more of a crawl.
#3 Dive (Supernatural) – I like to imagine this as an indication of what dc talk could have sounded like if they had managed to agree on a shared artistic vision that didn’t sound like anyone else. I would put this forward as the “best” dc talk song.
#2 Jesus Freak (Jesus Freak) – it’s no exaggeration to say that this song (and the album) changed my life. It helped to shape my identity as a Christian teenager. Can’t deny that it smells quite a bit like teen spirit, but it was exactly what I needed and I’ll always be thankful for it.
#1 Consume Me (Supernatural) – when their three voices come together to worship God like this, it’s just heavenly.
Well, there’s still hope that there’s more to come, right? And maybe we can all meet up for a dc talk cruise once we’ve all retired!
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Great list! “Time is…” is such a great song
DC Talk arrived (well Jesus freak anyway) just after I left school and was the sound of the next half a decade. Some of there tunes are just simply some of the best songs of the era. My top 5 would be (and this is hard) 10. Nu thang (don’t judge me lol) 9.What have we become? 8.Dive 7 What if I stumble? .6. My deliverer (SO UNDERRATED) 5.Colored people 4.Consume me 3.Between you and me 2. Jesus Freak 1. In the Light. Just awesome music.
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Great list! Your number 23 pick is my number one dc talk song, but otherwise my ranking would be pretty similar to yours (I’ve never listened to their first two albums, but I doubt it would change my top 30 or 40 very much)
Have been into dc talk since someone gifted me Free at Last as a 10-year old (Christmas 93), and then Jesus Freak really revolutionised my personal music journey. I just read your other blog about an imaginary sixth dc talk album. I often thought “what could have been” on those early solo albums – like I have to choose between eating cake, ice cream, or topping, when they taste best together!
It would be strange, but a part of me still hopes they’ll come together for another album – I didn’t think the intermission would still be ongoing in my late thirties 🙂
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Yep, Dctalk, Jars of Clay, the Newsboys, PFR, The Kry, Audio Adrenaline and wonderful many more are absolutely essentials that shaped me as a young believer growing up. Still love them all greatly. Thanks for reading and commenting! I love connecting with people and taking them on joyrides down memory lane. Blessings!
Nice job! Great list.
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Thanks for reading!