Controversial Christian artist Derek Webb is releasing his could-be controversial new album, Stockholm Syndrome, on Tuesday after a more-than-three-month delay.
Whether or not the album is controversial depends on which version you get – “clean” or “explicit.”
In May – the month the album was originally expected to hit stores – Webb told fans that he was “in a situation that has gotten a little out of control” and later that “our trouble with the label over content is very real, and not as simple as one word.”
"This is turning into a bigger deal than we expected," the former Caedmon’s Call member added in a vague e-mail to fans before his site, derekwebb.com, was purged of all content minus two e-mail.
Though it was unclear whether the “trouble” was fabricated or embellished as a publicity stunt, it was clear that one of the songs on the new album, “What Matters More,” didn’t sit well with Webb’s label, INO Records.
In addition to containing the words “d*mn” and “sh*t,” “What Matters More” criticizes Christians for spending an excessive amount of time condemning homosexuality when there are “about 50,000 people who are dyin’ today.”
“If I can tell what’s in your heart by what comes out of your mouth, then it sure looks to me like being straight is all it’s about,” Webb says in the song, which the artist said he considered one the most important on the record.
Despite Webb having reportedly found and crossed “the line beyond which my label cannot support me,” Webb and INO Records at some point in time agreed to release two versions of the album – the “clean” version, which would hit stores Sept. 1, and the “explicit” version, which would be available only directly from Webb through his website.
Some, meanwhile, suspect that the controversy was purposely blown out of proportion to generate more interest in the project – a tactic that proved successful as 5,000 people regularly followed details of Webb’s release of Stockholm Syndrome daily as he leaked information via websites, Twitter feeds, independent blogs, Google searches and more, according to INO Records.
In that time Google recorded over 7,100 google searches and 1,200 independent blogs reporting on all or some aspect of Webb and Stockholm Syndrome, the label reported on July 9, after nearly two months of silence.
In finally announcing the Sept. 1 release date, INO Records praised the new album for delivering “everything listeners have come to expect from Derek Webb: killer pop hooks and lyrics as thought provoking as they are emotionally revealing.”
“Together, Webb and [former Caedmon’s Call bandmate Josh] Moore have succeeded in creating a dense, richly absorbing sonic vernacular that pays homage to an entire century of music,” the label stated without mention of the controversial song.
In its entirety, Stockholm Syndrome contains 14 tracks, with “What Matters More” being the sixth track. All that is missing from the "clean" version is "What Matters More."
In a review of Stockholm Syndrome, the album, Andrew Greer of Christianity Today magazine called Webb’s latest project his “most creative record to date.”
“Stockholm Syndrome,” the phrase coined by Swedish psychiatrist and criminologist Nils Berejot, describes a psychological phenomenon where hostages show signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker.