Friday, September 08, 2006


So I went and took advantage of Derek's free album download. (It's an amazing idea.)
I listend to Mockingbird.
I'm sorry.
I just don't get it.
I'm confused as a musician, a songwriter, and a Christ follower.

I'm all about songs asking questions and making us think deeper, but shouldn't they lead us to some sort of truth? For me, Derek's stuff just doesn't do it.

What exactly are Derek Webb's songs are supposed to do to us....


Robert said...

Easy Todd, you're upsetting several of your faithful by posting a blog like that. Here's the way I see it, At some point your creative yet anti-religion-ultra-sensitive-political-grassroots-dylan like music has got to go beyond sounding subliminal and must take a stance. I like some of Webb's stuff, but for the most part I don't have a clue what he's talking about. He may explain it all in a concert setting but why would you have to "Explain" everyone of your songs? Shouldn't the majority of music be self-explanitory? If you want to write songs in parable form then provide a setting to explain them to those who really want to know what the heck you are saying... that's what Jesus did.

Justin said...

1,000,000 points to Robert!

Jinx said...

I like his music/guitar writing...that folky feel. And you have to give him credit for being bold in his approach, from the little you CAN understand. But I agree with the "having to explain every one of your songs" deal. Shouldn't be necessary, especially in "Christian" music. The message/meaning should be the forefront and obvious.

-5,237 points to Romack (that's a minus/negative, not just a hyphen)

Bluebird said...

Whoa... come on... Jesus didn't explain his parables. He just let them sit there and confuse people. That was the whole point. There is such a thing as setting the stage for truth... or creating the question. That's what they call art. It is designed to create tension. Art that is mainly information oriented is not art... it is propoganda. We Christians are guilty of removing the tension from our art to such a degree that no one is asking any questions. And that is also why "christian art" is an oxymoron... because we over explain.

I quote Chris Rice "But nine's not a color... and even if it was you can't smell a color. That's my point exactly"

I would rather have a completely confusing song than a song that explains the metaphor at the end.

So what if Derek is asking questions and not giving brilliant exposition of truth. It seems like many of the Psalms followed that pattern. It's okay to "not get it" when it comes to Webb... in fact, it may be the point.


Todd Wright said...

I'll have to agree with the fact that Jesus' parables confused people. But I think the "points" of his parables confused people.

Let's face it - a parable about dudes with a vineyard would make sense to people who lived in an agricultural society. I don't think Jesus' parables confused people. I think the points confused them - in other words, Jesus sets up this story, everybody's understanding and then someone in the story does something so contrary to the norm, i.e., forgiving someone who doesn't deserve it, paying the late workers as much as the few...I think the conclusions confused people, not the setup.

I understand there is a role of the prophet and that often his job is to say "something's wrong." Maybe that's what Derek's role is...maybe it's a music/songwriting thing...I just have trouble with the idea of approaching a record and an artist thinking...

"all right, I'm about to get confused."

It might be that I haven't invested enough into the study of his music-that I haven't let his questions lead me to anything substantial - could be my fault. I appreciate everybody's input, though! Let's keep talking!

Blake Stewart said...

Derek Webb makes you re-think or question what you hold as truth and for that I commend him. Sometimes I might not understand what he's talking about but that's what I love. It allows me to question the things he is saying and it allows me to grow in knowlegdge..

Jason Fullen said...

Okay Todd, it’s on now! Let’s go, you and me. Name the time and place, and preferably at a Starbucks in Maryland. And bring Robert. And I’ll bring Lance. This one sounds fun to hash out. Please?

Since that it is not an option I will throw in my two cents.

I will first start with this thought. I don’t have to decide whether I like Webb’s music. I just do. It just appeals to me. That makes me biased to begin with. Then there is his lyric. I consider his writing to be completely insightful, thought provoking and causal. However, I don’t get confused listening to his stuff. I admit I didn’t understand everything the first time I heard it, but after listening though it several times in the car, there is a message that I can identify with in most of songs.

There are certain things that reverberate so loud in me. Especially in Mockingbird. I completely identify with being a mockingbird sometimes. I just tell people what I heard someone tell me. I think I agree with it, so I tell others.

Of course for me I am always searching for an original thought, and yet always settle for the echo of other authors, musicians, and preachers etc.

And of course I have those days where I wonder what kind of life I am living. I mean, days where I doubt that I live up to what I am selling as “truth.” Sounds to me like he gets caught in the same downward spiral of self-doubt that many of us do. The whole time I have listened to Mockingbird, I have just kept thinking, “I could have wrote this song.” Glad I didn’t though, you wouldn’t have liked it! (Ha! Just kidding!)

Don’t lambast me on this one – it’s only two cents!

Robert said...
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Robert said...
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Jason Fullen said...

For Rob: My perspective may come from the biased of listening to Webb for a couple of years, but I actually think you know more about him and are possibly more familiar with his work than me. I didn't even know he was with Cademon's until I started listening to his solo stuff. I have only listened to him about two years now and I have only been to one concert. And honestly, his concert was the first time I heard his Mockingbird songs. All that to say I don't think I am any more "connected" to his work than the average Webb listener. Therefore, I don't understand your interpretation of his view of the church nor the "anti-war political jargon" note and the idea that his songs are coded only to his loyalists.

Mockingbird song "my enemies are men just like me" are words I think about often. I think about them from the perspective of knowing that everyone that I hate or say is evil are men just like me if not for Jesus. Left to our own we all become more of what we are each born, fallen. Now I agree with you that the song has an anti-war overtone, but the song causes me to think that Jesus might have had the same overtone in his teachings if I were to reconsider them. From turn the other cheek to Jesus reinstating the ear that Peter so quickly departed.

Finally, what about the seperation from the church? The song "I hate everything" seems to me to be a poetic love song to his wife that has nothing to do with Christ/church/faithfullness but only an absolute honest approach to communicating to his wife that he had a bad day and hates everything but her. Is there a deeper meaning to it?

Now, please before I go, pun deliberate; a disclaimer. I will say that I don't get every line of every song. I'm not sure I get 0's + 1's at all, however, I have an opinion. The overall point I want to make is that I don't think I agree with Webb on everything, nor do I understand all his lyrics, but I do think his songs make me think. And that's more than most Christian songs of today do for me.

Bluebird said...


Jesus didn't explain his parables to anyone except his disciples... That would be like Webb telling only the band what his songs are about... not his groupies.

BTW... I only have one webb cd... mockingbird... and I never listen to it.


Jinx said...

I don't even like music...

Jimmy Williams said...

I am just the tech guy!

Paul James said...

Thanks for TOTALLY stealing my picture.

Todd Wright said...

that's for Mike stealing my doritos with it.

by the way - that's all you have to contribute to a Derek Webb discussion?

Paul James said...

Derek Webb is the kind of music people have discussions/disagreements/fights over. I listen to country music when I don't want to think, I listen to Derek when I REALLY want to think and I listen to Matt because he's all that, +1 Bag of Chips (cool ranch doritos)