After 20 years in the music industry, it’s time for Derek Webb to step back and reflect on his career with his most personal album to date.
I should note that I started to really get into Webb’s solo music through his albums Stockholm Syndrome and Ctrl. I grew to love and respect him as an artist that isn’t afraid to speak what he believes even when it’s often contrary to what’s popular in the Christian market. Because of this, I was a bit taken back by his new album I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry & I Love You. As a whole, the album steps away from the experimental nature of Stockholm Syndrome and Ctrl and sounds more like a mix of The Ringing Bell and a Jars of Clay album. This means that the album is less original, less electronic and perhaps most notably, less controversial than many of his others. On the first listen, this was disappointing.
Perhaps the main fault is that the album sounds a lot more like a typical singer-songwriter’s album. None of the songs are fillers, but only a few of the tracks are truly memorable. One such track is “The Vow,” which you walk away from with a smile on your lips and an organ melody in your head.
It wasn’t until my third or fourth listen that I began to fully appreciate the album for what it is. Lyrically, the album is more like reading a speaker’s diary instead of listening to them speak to a crowd; instead of focusing on church and politics, Webb spends more time focusing on marriage and personal reflection. The result is less challenging, but far more personal. Listening to the album feels like walking through the last 20 years of one of the industry’s most talented artists. It’s not a bad way to celebrate two decades of work.