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Caedmon's Call
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CAEDMON'S CALL (1997)
Caedmon's Call - Click to view! "Just another bunch of wannabes. They'll never make it big," I complained as I picked up the Caedmon's Call debut from the shelf. I'm still not sure what prompted me to go ahead and buy the CD, but I'm thankful to this day for it. After putting it into my CD player for the first time, Caedmon's Call and their acoustic-rock based music took me on a surreal journey to the heart of a relationship with Christ and an intimate fellowship with a band I had once criticized.

Unlike most bands, who aren't as tangible through their music, you feel like you're well enough acquainted with the members of CC after getting to the depth of their album. Cliff Young (guitar), Danielle Glenn, and Derek Webb (guitar) all share vocals on the debut, while Todd Bragg handles drums, Aric Nitzberg takes bass, and Garrett Buell does that unique percussion thing. Seventh member Aaron Tate works behind the scenes as the one of the band's songwriters and occasionally contributes his vocal talent.

CC's self-titled debut opens with "Lead of Love," based on 2 Samuel 7:18-19, a song from King David's point of view about the roads already taken and how God leads through the toughest of times. "Close of Autumn" follows up with a beautiful vocal performance by Danielle Glenn and such musical splendor that paints a vivid picture of a fresh autumn's day in your mind. "Not the Land" substantiates CC's ability to rock while still presenting the same Christ-driven message about a misplaced faith and a complete turnaround to God's forgiveness and mercy. Next up is "This World," a statement of how the world we live in provides us with "all we want but nothing that we need". Through this song, Caedmon's Call urges listeners to store up their treasures in Heaven. Track #5, "Bus Driver" is a fun, catchy tune that will lodge itself in your brain if listened to more than once. It provides a metaphorical view of the body of Christ: "we're all just bus drivers / and it's time to go home." The next cut, "Standing Up for Nothing," satirically displays the view of an unbeliever and asks what we're standing up for if we're not standing for Jesus. "Hope to Carry On," track #7, is without a doubt the anthem of the entire CD. It was also the first single released by the band, reaching #1 on the charts in a relatively short amount of time. Penned by Rich Mullins at the break of the decade, "Hope to Carry On" provides just that: hope for everyone through Christ's death on the cross and His never-failing love for each individual. This song brilliantly portrays the band's identity. "Stupid Kid," on the other hand, deals with self-esteem and love for one's self as God created them. "I Just Don't Want Coffee" is a song about guilt and how truth, even though potentially damaging at times, is the best thing to clear the conscience. The next track, "Not Enough," is an upbeat, guitar-driven melody that explains how everything we offer to God will never be enough to repay Him unless we offer ourselves. Track #11, "Center Aisle," is a guitar and vocal solo by Derek Webb, written after the sister of his friend committed suicide. The song delivers quite a depressing mood and hinges on the fact that life isn't fair. Webb ends with the message: "In that place I leave / all my days / of taking life for granted." "Coming Home", the final tune on CC's debut, is a joyous reminder about our reward after this life is over, and is definitely a picker-upper after the utterly despairing "Center Aisle." It's based on Luke 15:11-32, the Parable of the Lost Son, and serves as a fitting end to the album.

Overall, the band does a terrific job in bringing their listeners closer to a relationship with Christ as well as with themselves. They've set their own standards for being a Christian band, and because of this they're able to reach people more directly. Lyrically inspiring, poignantly touching, and a deep statement of faith, Caedmon's Call is a masterpiece just waiting to be admired.
- Rick Foux
December 1999
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