The State By Derek Webb

Stockholm Syndrome

2009 | Pop

Spotify | Amazon

"Right and wrong were written on my heart and not just in the laws that condemned me But now with Caesar satisfied I can even do the things that should offend me"


  • The song was produced with former bandmate Joshua Moore from Caedmon's Call who went on to become a hip-hop writer & producer.
  • The album Stockholm Syndrome was controversial in the Christian music community for it's use of profanity.
  • Along with it's lyrical controversy the album was rewarded as Webb's first album to crack the Billboard Top 200 albums chart.


Luke Tatum

Is it just me, or does the pulsing synth after the chorus sound like a siren? There's a very ethereal nature to this song, and it's puncuated by this smart use of instrumentation. What does it mean to marry your conscience to the state? For me, it means to replace your own morality with the political will. "This is bad, beacuse our rulers say it is is bad. This is good, beacuse our rulers say it is good." Think of the many dark recesses of the human psyche that this can lead to.

Sherry Voluntary

The dreamy music of this song mirrors the clouded mindset of the indoctrination process that these lyrics seem to represent. I think the last verse is particularly poignant. “Right and wrong were written on my heart, And not just in the laws that condemn me, Now with caesar satisfied i can even do the things, That should offend me” This expresses the false belief that legality is the same as morality, and that a person can alleviate themselves of their moral agency as long as ‘the authority” says it’s ok. When you take on this dastardly mindset and “marry your conscience to the state,” you leave your humanity behind and replace it with an obedience to authority that has proven time and time again to be a corrupting factor that can lead you to the most egregious of inhuman of behaviours, that without the blessing of The State, would offend your sensibilities.

Nicky P

So, this song has a lot of personal meaning to me which is funny because I've known of it's existence for under a year at the time of this writing. My wife brought it to my attention for an episode of the podcast last year. She knew Webb from his work with Caedmon's Call and her Baptist upbringing. My upbringing was...quite different. The song was interesting coming from Liz for the added reason that she at the time portrayed herself as a political agnostic, so having something so blatantly anarchistic in her history was a lil mind-blowing. It was also incredible that there was this little gem hiding in her past that I was oblivious to. Personal attachments aside this song is so meaningful to my own anarchist heart. It's like a trip-hop version of The Rentals & for a synth-nut like myself that can only put you in a good place. But it's this sonic palate of the song that i find most important. The lyrics clearly lay a lot of damage at the feet of the state and what it represents to humanity, but I think it's true charm is how haunting it is. The sparse atmosphere of the instrumentation pits a lone voice against what feels like a giant oppressive nothing. It's impenetrably heavy and almost suffocating but in the breath fighting it is almost like swinging at smoke. This giant fiction of the state, which is nothing more than people around us, seems like a monolithic weight on our chest that we cannot shake because it's a figment of our imagination. The harder we fight at times the less it seems we can accomplish. I think that the song ultimately carries a note of hope in its arrangement. Hope is often all we have so i'll keep this song by my side like a sword as we wade into the apocalypse.

Created By
Nicky P

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