I bought my first Derek Webb album, She Must and Shall Go Free, as a senior in High School in 2003. The introspective honesty of songs like Wedding Dress and Crooked Deep Down was new to me, both from Christians and from music. From there Derek Webb’s music continued to challenge me, as well as countless others, helping young disillusioned Christians by letting them know they were not alone. At first he challenged evangelicalism with She Must and Shall Go Free and I See Things Upside Dowl, then the religious right with Mockingbird, The Ringing Bell and Stockholm Syndrome. No other musician, with the possible exception of Bob Dylan, has had such an impact on my politics, theology, ethics, and philosophy as Derek Webb. His latest release, Ctrl, is, it seems, a return to challenging his listeners religiously.
mewithoutYou is one of my favorite bands. Aaron Weiss’ spoken word vocals and their willingness to explore some dark themes give them a unique post-hardcore sound that I just can’t get enough of. Their last album, It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright, alienated a lot of fans with its lighter sound and children’s stories about foxes and beetles. Ten Stories, which is released today, returns to the sound of past albums while holding on to the animal motif. Ten Stories tells the story of a circus train crash made up of several stories told by circus animals.