1995 was a big year for the christian music industry. DC Talk released the masterpiece Jesus Freak and Jars of Clay made their impressive debut. But one sleeper hit album came out that would change my taste of music forever: Johnny Q. Public's Extra-Ordinary. Johnny Q. Public isn't exactly the most popular band out there, but they're definitely one of the best.
The powerhouse album kicks off with "Preacher's Kid," inspired by a child the band once met who was ignored by his preacher father. It sets the album off on a heavy note and it is definitely an album highlight. Following is the lighter, but still heavy, radio single "Body Be," and the catchy "Black Ice." The song's message uses black ice as a metaphor to illustrate that just because people can't see the Lord, it doesn't mean He isn't there, "Black ice, pretend it's not there / Black ice, yeah / 'Cause you don't believe it's there / Don't mean it's not there, it's there."
The album slows things down a notch with "Know," a song that lyrically addresses how few seem to really cares for the Lord anymore, singing, "You see the truth, it's there, but do we really want it anymore?" Following is the hilarious "Women Of Zion," a goofy song inspired by Isaiah 3:12-20. "Reader's Digest" is another funny song with a message similar to "Know," how objects can make us stray from the Lord. But the album kicks back into gear with the harder tracks "Secret Trees" and "Violet." The band returns to their more humorous side for the sarcastic "Big Top," which precedes the similar "Talk Show" on JQP's sophomore album. Next is another highlight, the short and quirky "Why," which is sung entirely through the phone.
"Scream" is probably the best track on the record and talks about how we should scream out our faith instead of hiding it from the world. Filled with driving guitars and clever lyrics (which can be said for most of this album), this song is a definite highlight. The song is rather lengthy with a long guitar solo that gives the song a reason to stay on for its near six-minute length. The album ends with the even longer, but light and worshipful Bob Dylan cover, "Serve Somebody," which utters the statement "It may be the Devil, or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody."
Overall, this album is incredibly close to perfect. It may sound dated now, but that isn't a bad thing. If you ever find this album anywhere, pick it up. You won't regret it.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 7/23/05, written by David Larkin for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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