Just over eleven years ago, a pop/rock album released nationally that would change the face of Christian music forever.
dc Talk's Jesus Freak was a musical landmark and it seems only appropriate that the record
would be getting the rerelease / "Special Edition" treatment. The first disc of Jesus Freak 10th Anniversary Special Edition
is "remastered" but remains to be pretty much the same Jesus Freak we all knew and loved as it was first heard in 1995.
In addition to the original album, however, is an added second disc that includes brand new remixes, live tracks,
and one, single never-before-released demo from 1995. It's a treat-filled revisitation, but the question remains whether or not
it would be worth rebuying the record if you already own it from over a decade ago.
While it's exciting to have all these goodies on one bonus disc, a closer look (and listen) reveals that a lot less than what we
might have hoped for is included on this much delayed special edition. For example, each live song was previously available somewhere
else: the cover of the Beatles' "Help," "Colored People," and REM's "Itís the End of the World as We Know It" all first appeared on
the band's 1997 Welcome To The Freak Show live release. "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" was included on a Larry Norman tribute
record, as well as the Jesus Freak single that hit streets before the full album released. The same can also be said for
the fun "1995 Gotee Bros. Freaked Out Remix" which appeared on that single and is included here too. Finally, their cover of U2's "40" was on their 2001
Solo compilation EP, leaving the only truly unique bonuses to be included here being six new remixes and a bizarre demo version of
"Mind's Eye." The latter is definitely a inclusion, but considering that the demo is a strange mix that only features Michael
Tait's vocals accompanied by producer Mark Heimermann (with Toby McKeehan and Kevin Max obviously missing), it's more novelty than
something for fans to hold dear. The remixes are nothing different that what you would find on one of TobyMac's remix projects,
with each song reimagined in either a jazzy, rock, or industrial format. They're great if you don't get bored of remixes after a couple listens,
but they're also not exactly worth buying the whole project all over again for.
When we were given the re-release of dc Talk's Free At Last for its 10 year anniversary in 2002, the project
included two new remixes in more of an alternate-take fashion and retrospective comments from the band members after the album
concluded. It was more of a way to pay respects to a classic record and to honor the band's achievement and longtime fans, while
Jesus Freak 10th Anniversary Special Edition just feels sadly more like an afterthought. An additional DVD of music videos
from the band, maybe some footage from in the studio when the record was tracked, and perhaps some interviews with the band or industry
reps and bands the record affected would have made this project truly worthwhile. With the impact Jesus Freak made, one would
think there'd be plenty of ideas and material to properly pay tribute to the album.
Those who missed out on the legacy that was dc Talk would find the Jesus Freak 10th Anniversary Special Edition to be
a great introduction to a historic record. Jesus Freak is about as good as a pop/rock record could get in the 90's and it
still sounds great today. The true fan will enjoy revisiting this album, but diehards will likely have most of these rarities already,
leaving the question to be whether a forgettable demo and six new remixes are worth dipping into your pockets for this rerelease.
Jesus Freak 10th Anniversary Special Edition is fine for what it is, but it's difficult to accept when you know it could have
been (and should have been) so much better.
- Review date: 12/23/06, written by John DiBiase