For me, this is where it all began. The spring and summer of 1996 was when I was first exposed to christian rock music thanks to Z Music Television. Although I had heard christian music for years due to my parent’s love for adult contemporary and praise and worship music, christian rock was a whole different story. I had finally found christian music that I could enjoy musically and not just lyrically. Z Music was cutting edge in my 12 year old mind. Videos by DC Talk, The Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, and Jars of Clay were the epitome of cool to me. So for my 13th birthday that September I asked for the album that was in my opinion the coolest looking and sounding of all, DC Talk’s 1995 Forefront Records release Jesus Freak. For month’s I played the cassette tape that I received non-stop, to the point of the tape becoming warped and distorted. This album was musically THE biggest influence on my adolescent years, as it helped to shape my taste in music, as well as speak to my spirit lyrically; testifying of my Lord Jesus Christ. Musically, Jesus Freak was all-over the map stylistically. The album was influenced by everything from grungy hard rock, to the hip-hop the group was previously known for, to modern pop, to 70’s styled classic rock. Somehow the guys and their backing band (Zilch) pulled everything off perfectly. Every song seemed to speak to me in some way, although the album had many amazing tracks such as the grungy, pre-rap/rock of the title track, the pop infused uber-melodic “Colored People”, the aggressive, biting “What Have We Become”, and the cool, breezy “Between You and Me”, none of these even make my list of favorites. My three favorite song’s that the group ever created were on Jesus Freak. The acoustic, plaintive “What If I Stumble”, the melodically gorgeous “In the Light”, and the energetic, anthemic “Mind’s Eye”, which is my personal favorite DC Talk track, all manage to stand out in a group of standout tracks. To borrow from one of today’s most overused phrases, Jesus Freak was in every area epic.