Picked by many a critic and fan as THE #1 album in Christian music history, at the very least Jesus Freak is in the conversation as such. What a leap forward in maturity and a big risk for a label and fan base that I’m sure would have lapped up a Free at Last part two follow up. They took a chance and it laid off…big time. Leaving behind (mostly) the rap elements was a smart, calculated, and ultimately effective move for the band. It had to be a scary proposition for Toby to take such a huge step back to allow his band mates to shine brighter, and in retrospect I admire his sacrifice. Really this album is a testament to brotherhood as Toby and company read the moment in music history and dared to make a change toward angsty rock. JF was a stab at truer collaboration that would most fully culminate in their swan song Supernatural, three years later.

But it started here. I’m sure they had no full idea at the time that Jesus Freak the album would become such a pivotal, genre shaping, life changing impacter, though I’m sure that was one of the goals going into it. After cueing it up on Spotify last night and rocking out with my kids last night I can confidently say the album holds up, sounding great and bringing to mind a flood of fond memories. In addition, this was the album that inspired a young John DiBiase to start my all-time favorite website of Jesusfreakhideout.com in 1996. It has been an endless source of reading and discovering new Christian music since, and in 2017 one of my life dreams was met as I joined the volunteer staff as a music reviewer. Yay!

Like many, my introduction to the album came from hearing the single of the title track in the summer of 1995 before the albums release in Nov 1995. Like fewer people, I first heard the song at the youth ministry camp centrifuge…and if memory serves I saw the video in a Christian music video watching and discussion track. (My overall favorite camp track by far)

Below, I will detail a few notes about each song and at the end of this post rank (because it’s what I do!) the songs in order of my favorite. I’ll also link the album so you can listen to it for your ease. I’d also love to hear from you on your stories of first hearing the album, end memories attached to it so please share in the comments and share with a friend you think would like to join the discussion. Let’s get Dctalk trending on Twitter and Facebook!

1. “So Help Me God”

Do you remember first hearing the searing guitars of “So Help Me God” and having your mind blown? “Wait…this is Dctalk? I thought they were a hip-hop group?!” It’s not the best song on the album, but it’s a great representation of what the overall album aesthetic was to be and a terrific opener.

2. “Colored People”

We need more songs like this now in 2020, hence my plea to the band to get back together to rejoin the racial reconciliation conversation. However, I think that ship has sailed both literally (Dctalk cruise) and figuratively. This is easily one of their top 10 songs. 1,1,1,1,2,2,2,2…

3. “Jesus Freak”

The most iconic song of the album to be sure, but I would argue not it’s overall best. Is their Nirvana and grunge influence here? Or course, but I don’t recall anyone else in the grunge scenes also utilizing rap verses so…anyway, this is both a 90s youth Ministry must and a top song of the genre. I dare you to be still on the bridge when the guitars are wailing…freaking out and flailing around is a must.

4. “What if I Stumble?”

A mainline song on a mainline album that asks real questions and expresses doubt? Yes, and it’s earnest angst is palpable. Kevin shines brightest here with his trembly vibrato adding a nice emotional touch to a fantastic song. It also features a quote from the late Brennan Manning that will forever be etched in my head and is a great reminder for those of us following The Way…

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable” – Manning

5. “Day By Day”

I remember not knowing that this song was a cover tune until after seeing the praying scene in Meet the Parents in 2000. I naively thought Ben Stiller was quoting Dc talk, how silly of me. Anyway, love the lower groan/growl of Kevin I’m the breakdowns giving it an almost ominous vibe.

6. “Mrs. Morgan”

They just had to have an interlude…😀

7. “Between You And Me”

Another great tune on an album chock full of them, this one is about relational reconciliation, and the hard work of forgiveness. We could certainly use this reminder in this crazy year we call 2020. The fact that this was a mainstream hit is a bit of a surprise, but I guess it shouldn’t be with it’s more universal sentiment than the in your face messages of “Jesus Freak,” “In The Light,” and “What if I Stumble?” Michael’s smooth voice takes center stage here and still sounds superb.

8. “Like It, Love It, Need It”

There’s a bit of cheesiness here lyrically, but that can be forgiven as you drown in the aggressive guitars attacking your earlobes. I dig the gruff and developing Toby verse as it launched into the soaring chorus. Seeing this one performed live, along with “So Help Me God” and “Jesus Freak” is awesome. It also features another freak out moment best seen live toward the end of the song.

9. “Jesus Freak (Reprise)”

A silly reprise take sung operatically and deliberately off-key by Michael, though I thought I read somewhere it was actually Todd Collins?! Anyway, couldn’t confirm it with my web search so on we go…

10. “In the Light” (Charlie Peacock cover)

A Dctalk essential, and another in a long line of covers that they amped up to greater heights. In this case it was already a top-notch song by Charlie Peacock but Dctalk took it to more ear canals. The lyrics are among the strongest on the album, “I am the king of excuses, I’ve got one for every selfish thing I do.”

11. “What Have We Become?”

Heavy-handed or just the right amount of holy conviction, you decide…

“A preacher shuns his brother
Cause his bride’s a different color
And this is not acceptable
His papa taught him so
It was love that he’d been preaching
But this was overreaching
The boundaries stretchin’ further
Than his heart would choose to go

Like an angel with no wings
Like a kingdom with no king

What have we become?
A self indulgent people
What have we become?
Tell me where are the righteous ones?
What have we become?
In a world degenerating
What have we become?

Speak your mind, look out for yourself
The answer to it all is a life of wealth
Grab all you can cause you live just once
You got the right to do whatever you want
Don’t worry about others or where you came from
It ain’t what you were, it’s what you have become

Mom and Dad are fightin’
As Rosie lies there crying
For once again she’s overheard
Regrets of their mistake
With Christmas bells a-ringing
Little Rosie’d leave them grieving The gift she’d give her family
Would be the pills she’d take

An inconvenient child
She wasn’t worth their while

What about love?
What about God?
What about holiness?
What about mercy, compassion and selflessness?You know it’s true
He is there for me and you
Doesn’t matter what you doWhat have we become?
Have we come undone?
What have we become?
Have we come undone?
What have we become?

With selfish…
Selfish people
When you gonna learn?
Everyone of us
Gathered ’round in trust
What have we become?

12. “Minds Eye”

What a great unofficial way to end the album. My favorite part is probably the keys/organ/Rhodes you can hear gliding around offering flourishes to blend with the guitar part in the background. Although I still prefer Kevin as a vocalist overall, I have to hand it to Tait again here with his smooth delivery which I think fits the vibe of the song best.

13. “Alas, My Love” (Hidden Track)

I am no poetry critic and can’t offer much insight here although I think it’s cool.

Listen along here!



Song Ranking:

10. “Day By Day”

9. “Like It, Love It, Need It”

8. “Between You And Me”

7. “Minds Eye”

6. “So Help Me God”

5. “Colored People”

4. “What Have We Become?”

3. “Jesus Freak”

2. “In The Light”

1. “What if I Stumble”