Shake Me to Wake Me, like most of Steve Camp's mid-eighties material, is packed with gravelly vocals, catchy melodies, screeching electric guitars and hyper keyboards. Pretty typical of '80s radio fare. Lyrically, however, this album has little in common with its pop contemporaries. Camp's verses vehemently attack what he obviously believes to make up a significant segment of his own audience -- comfortable, self-righteous Christians.
That kind of confrontational 'tude has less in common with Kenny Loggins and his ilk than with punk rockers and the grunge gurus who became popular half a decade later. Camp lashes out at complacent Christians with all the passion and stridence of...well, Keith Green, whose "Asleep in the Light" he covers here with typical over-orchestration. Like Green (his musical hero), Camp's hard-nosed convictions sometimes come in conflict with his label's mission to boost sales. In the liner notes, he declares "the church has proven through history that she cannot handle two things, popularity and prosperity. Today she is plagued by both! ...You'll never say 'Jesus is all I need' until Jesus is all you have ... Remember, God has not called you to be successful, but faithful." Meanwhile, Sparrow Records was fervently hoping Camp's trendy pop would be both successful and popular, if only for the purpose of reaching people with the anti-populist message. For better or for worse, his record sales probably did little to advance the plague of popularity.