As one of the premier CCM bands of the 1990’s, Audio Adrenaline has gained a loyal following over the years. Though their popularity skyrocketed after “Big House” debuted on Don’t Censor Me, Audio A had a rough start with their first and self-titled album from ForeFront Records in 1992. At first, they had an almost hip-hop vibe, like fellow band dcTalk, but eventually they evolved into a rock band, starting with Bloom. This was followed by Some Kind of Zombie in 1997, Underdog in 1999, Lift in 2001, Worldwide in 2003, and Until My Heart Caves In in 2005. They disbanded in 2006 due to lead singer Mark Stuart’s damaged vocal cords.
Don’t Censor Me (1993): 11 tracks, 42 minutes
After their debut self-titled album, Audio Adrenaline began to develop the signature sound that they brought to the Christian music scene in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Don’t Censor Me was the beginning of that transformation that ultimately took shape on 1996’s Bloom. Though many of the songs don’t really stand out, “Big House” and “Jesus & the California Kid” mix it up a bit with different styles. “We’re a Band” sticks to the sound displayed on Audio Adrenaline.
The heavy expression of the gospel takes a bad turn on “A.K.A. Public School” when Stuart says to us, “You don’t have to travel South . . . just run your mouth,” when we should really be thinking about how we’re approaching others with the gospel. The beginning of “Don’t Censor Me” displays some questionable behavior, but Audio A doesn’t endorse any of it.
Just like on “The Most Excellent Way” from Audio Adrenaline, “Let Love” encapsulates 1 Corinthians 13 into a song. “Rest Easy” soothes, “Rest easy / In My embrace.” “My Scum Sweetheart” is the world and “you broke my heart.” There are a lot of other good lyrics that Audio Adrenaline interject into this record, so that works toward its benefit.
Although this album can be repetitive (you definitely know that “they’re a band” by the end), the lyrics are clean and pretty solid. The music could have been more developed on some of them, but “Big House” and “Jesus & the California Kid” are refreshing twists.