Derek Webb

I See Things Upside Down

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Most contemporary Christian pop musicians take one of two approaches: they either veil their religious messages in artful ambiguity (think of all those second-person, "I need you" lyrics that sound like they might be addressed to Christ or might just as well be addressed to the singer's girlfriend, etc.) or they limit themselves to sweet but simplistic avowals of traditional faith and devotion. Part of what makes listening to Derek Webb fun is the fact that he makes no effort to hide the religious content of his lyrics, and yet he doesn't pretend that living the Christian life is just a simple matter of "choosing Christ" and then trying to be good. On I See Things Upside Down he offers 12 songs specifically addressing the question of value -- what do followers of Christ value, what should they value, and how should their values differ from those of the world at large? If you'd rather not invest a lot of energy in such questions, you can always just float blissfully along on the mopey pop brilliance of the music itself, which rarely rises above a dreamy slow throb and features lots of acoustic guitars, piano, and organ, not to mention Webb's rich, throaty voice. The melodies are generally simple and bittersweetly lovely. Highlights include "I Repent" and "I Want a Broken Heart"; the album's one misstep is the musically plodding and overly didactic "T-Shirts (What We Should Be Known For)."

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