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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

Jesus Freak (1995)

Updated: Jan 6


Jesus Freak is the fourth studio album by the Christian vocal trio DC Talk, released on November 21, 1995 on ForeFront Records for the Christian bookstores and Virgin Records for the mainstream retail market.


After three albums of hip-hop oriented sound, including DC Talk's Grammy Award-winning third album, Free at Last, which was based primarily on hip-hop and pop-oriented songwriting, the trio decided to innovate and reinvent their style. After three years, DC Talk returned with songs featuring a more alternative rock sound. Thus, the album's lead single, the title song, was considered unexpected by fans and critics alike. The trio stylized their name as dc Talk for this album. The style was a marked departure from the group's previous releases, incorporating a heavier rock sound and elements of grunge that was popular at the time.


Jesus Freak was preceded by the title song as the first single that was released three months before the album's release to Christian rock and Christian CHR radio and as a CD single to both Christian and mainstream retail markets. It was later released as a music video that was directed by Simon Maxwell who is best known for directing Nine Inch Nail's music video for "Hurt." It garnered heavy rotation on the Christian music channel Z Music and later added on MTV. The song went to number one on The CCM Update Christian Rock chart. Six of the album's seven singles reached number one across various Christian radio formats with four songs charting on the Christian Rock chart. Their further single and music video "Between You and Me" was their first and only song to crossover into the mainstream market climbing to number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and also placed in the Top 30 on the Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary and Top 40 Mainstream charts.


Jesus Freak also features two cover songs: "In the Light" by Charlie Peacock, originally recorded by Peacock on his 1991 album Love Life, even providing guest vocals near the end of the song, and "Day by Day" from the Broadway musical Godspell. There is also a spoken word track by Kevin Max called "Alas, My Love" as a hidden track that starts at the 2:21 mark to close the album. As with the genres, the themes of Jesus Freak are varied, ranging from the spiritual–such as accepting Jesus, hypocrisy, atheism-to the social, such as seeking forgiveness from a friend, racism, facing intolerance and acceptance.


The album not only topped the Top Christian Albums chart, it made its first appearance on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart climbing to number 16.

Jesus Freak ranks at number 14 by CCM Magazine's 2001 book The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. Two of their songs are in their 2006 book The 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music: "Jesus Freak" (#2) and "What If I Stumble?" (#31). In 1997, DC Talk won their second Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album for Jesus Freak at the 39th Grammy Awards. At the 27th GMA Dove Awards, the title song won the top prize for Song of the Year, a first for a Christian rock song that normally awards songs that are either inspirational or gospel. The trio also won Artist of the Year and would collect additional Dove Award wins from 1996 to 1998. Jesus Freak was certified double platinum in October 2000 selling over two million copies.


Track listing


1. So Help Me God (Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, Kevin Max, Mark Heimermann, Dan Huff) -4:40

2. Colored People (Toby McKeehan, George Cocchini) -4:26

3. Jesus Freak (Toby McKeehan, Mark Heimermann) -4:50

4. What If I Stumble? (Toby McKeehan, Daniel Joseph) -5:06

5. Day by Day (Stephen Schwartz; additional lyrics by Toby McKeehan and Kevin Max) -4:30

6. Mrs. Morgan (interlude) -0:57

7. Between You and Me (Toby McKeehan, Mark Heimermann) -4:59

8. Like It, Love It, Need It (Toby McKeehan, Kevin Max, Mark Heimermann, David Soldi, Jason Barrett) -5:23

9. Jesus Freak (reprise) -1:17

10. In the Light (Charlie Peacock) -5:06

11. What Have We Become? (Toby McKeehan, Kevin Max, Mark Heimermann)

-6:09

12. Mind's Eye (Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, Mark Heimermann) -5:17

13. Alas, My Love (poem) (hidden track) (Kevin Max) -5:18


In 2006, a 10th Anniversary Special Edition of Jesus Freak was released on 2 CDs. The second disc contains brand-new remixes, rarities, live tracks including covers by REM, Larry Norman and U2 , and demos. A single-disc remaster was released in 2013. For the 20th anniversary of the album in November 2015, SMLXLVinyl.com released a double lp 180-gram vinyl of the album. It was its first pressing on the format.


Track listing on the bonus disc


1. So Help Me God (Savadocious Junk Yard Mix 1974) -4:13

2. Jesus Freak (Savage Perspective Mix) -4:42

3. What If I Stumble? (DoubleDutch Remix) -4:19

4. Between You and Me (fab Remix) -4:58

5. Like It, Love It, Need It (dDubb Remix) -4:18

6. What Have We Become? (dDubb Remix) -4:14

7. Mind's Eye (1995 A Swing and a Miss Mix featuring Mark Heimermann/ Unreleased Demo Version) -5:06

8. Jesus Freak (1995 Gotee Bros. Freaked Out Remix) -4:40

9. Help (live) (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) -0:59

10. Colored People (live) -4:45

11. It's the End of the World (As We Know It) (live) (Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe) -2:12

12. I Wish We'd All Been Ready (live) (Larry Norman) -3:37

13. 40 (live) (U2) -2:37

14. In the Light (instrumental) -5:21


Personnel


Toby McKeehan -raps, lead and backing vocals

Michael Tait -lead and backing vocals

Kevin Max -lead and backing vocals, spoken word (track 13)


Production credits


Toby McKeehan -producer (all tracks)

Mark Heimermann -producer (tracks 1, 2, 3, 5 -13)

John Mark Painter -producer (track 4)


Platinum certified 2x in 2000.


Accolades

Grammy Award -Best Rock Gospel Album (Jesus Freak)

Dove Award -1996 Artist of the Year

1996 Song of the Year ("Jesus Freak" awarded to Toby McKeehan and Mark Heimermann)

1996 Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Jesus Freak")

1997 Rock Album of the Year (Jesus Freak)

1997 Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year ("Between You and Me")

1997 Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Like It, Love It, Need It")

1997 Short Form Music Video of the Year ("Jesus Freak")

1998 Short Form Music Video of the Year ("Colored People")


Radio singles

1995 "Jesus Freak" -#23 Christian CHR, #10 Bubbling Under Hot 100

1995 -1996 "Mind's Eye" -#1 Christian CHR

1996 "Between You and Me" -#29 Billboard Hot 100, #24 Billboard AC, #1 Christian CHR, #1 Christian AC

1996 "In the Light" -#1 Christian CHR, #3 Christian AC

1996 -1997 "What If I Stumble?" -#1 Christian CHR, #3 Christian AC

1997 "Colored People" -#1 Christian CHR, #3 Christian AC

1997 "What Have We Become" -#1 Christian CHR, #32 Christian AC



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