Back in 2006, my brother told me I had to listen to this album called ‘Daylights’ by the band Needtobreathe. I had never heard of them and I trust my brothers opinion since he did bring me in to the Kiss world when I was like 6. He said they were a Christian Rock band and they were amazing. Well, he was sort of right. They were awesome, but they aren’t just a Christian rock band. They are a rock band who happens to be Christian and a lot of their views are in their music, but they aren’t bible thumping. They are telling honest stories that will hopefully impact you in some way.
And impact me they have. Their music is what I go to when I need inspiration, I need to feel better or I just need some good roots rock music sometimes with a Southern Rock flair. For me, it is all good and there is no “Worst Album”. After 6 studio albums, 2 live albums and numerous E.P.’s, they are still one of my all-time favorite bands out there and I hope they continue for years to come. The band is as follows:
- Bear Rinehart
- Bo Rinehart
- Seth Bolt
- Josh Lovelace
I am keeping this list to just the 6 studio albums and let this be your gateway in to the band. Remember, these are in order of my least favorite to my very favorite and that might not be your order, but that is fine. It is only my opinion. So be kind. And here we go…Needtobreathe!!
WORST – THE HEAT (2007):
I know…there is no way this is “The Worst” and you are right. It really isn’t. It is only my least favorite. Since I am extremely biased with this band, they truly do not have a bad album in the bunch. I only picked this as my least favorite due to it feeling a little uneven at times and too many filler songs. This is their sophomore release and they were still finding themselves and their sound which they found on their next album, no doubt.
What are the essential songs on this one you might ask. Easy, you have “Signature of Divine (Yahweh)”, “Streets of Gold”, “Looks Like Love” and “Washed by the Water”. I would probably throw in “The Heat” and “We Could Run Away as well as “Nothing Left to Lose”. The ones to avoid for me are “Second Chances” and “Moving On”
#6 – RIVERS IN THE WASTELAND (2014):
I know what you are thinking, this might be their best album as the songwriting is nothing short of sensational. The band was in a really bad place with this album and were close to breaking up. That heaviness shows as the songs and overall feel of the album is very dark. And it is really hard to get through it. Usually with Needtobreathe albums I feel so much better after listening, but with this one, I can feel the weight they were feeling during recording.
With that being said, the songwriting is some of their best. The songs you have to hear are “Difference Maker”, “The Heart”, “Brother”, “Multiplied” and “Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now”. The songs to avoid are only two which are “Oh, Carolina” and “More Heart, “Less Attack”.
#5 – DAYLIGHT (2006):
This is the bands debut album and the one the band likes the least. For them, the record company was having too much influence on the direction of the album and the songs. They didn’t like that too much and who would. But what you got was a solid rock album with some amazing songs and great insight in to what the band could do and hints of what was to come. It is my intro in to the band so it means a lot to me.
What do you need to hear on this one? I would jump in “Don’t Wait for Daylight”, “Shine On”, “Quit”, “Don’t Leave Just Yet”, “Haley”, “Knew It All” and “More Than”, but really they are all pretty good. If I had to pick ones to avoid, I don’t think I could do that. Then why is this No 4 if there isn’t anything I would delete? Well, because the top 3 albums songs are just that much better.
#4 – THE OUTSIDERS (2009):
This was the album that I feel the band found out who they were and found their sound. The songwriting was really maturing and the band was becoming a force to be reckoned with. The song “The Outsiders” is about them feeling like outsiders in the music business and I believe it is that acceptance of that fact that they grew a confidence in who they were and a comfort in their sound that they were able to write one of their best albums up to this point. The band started to get noticed and things started to change for them.
Let us talk the best songs on the album. You have “The Outsiders” obviously then
“Valley of Tomorrow”, “Through Smoke”, “These Hard Times”, “Stones Under Rushing Water”, “Girl Named Tennessee” and “Something Beautiful”. These are all powerful and beautiful songs. Are there any to avoid, yes, I think so. I didn’t like “Garden” and “What You’ve Done to Me” and that might be all.
#3 – OUT OF BODY (2020):
They don’t deliver the same old, same old…they keep striving to do better than the last and keep pushing themselves to explore deeper in to their hearts and minds to bring us not an album, but an experience and that is reflective of what is going on in the world and that feels like it is lifting us up instead of tearing us down. It is the perfect album at the perfect time as 2020 has been a rough year. The first album without Bo Rinehart and although he is missed, the band outdid themselves with the songs and the performances.
The album has one of my all time favorite Needtobreathe songs called “Who Am I” as it has connected with me personally. There is also “Child Again”, “Survivor”, “Alive” and the title track. But don’t forget songs as beautiful as “Bottom of a Heartbreak” and “Seasons” as well as fun songs like “Hang On”. A couple songs I am not thrilled with, but wouldn’t delete them though. Overall, almost perfect.
#2 – HARD LOVE (2016):
This their most current release which is now 3 years old at this writing (time for a new album). This one came out after the darkness of ‘Rivers in the Wasteland’ and they took they sound in to a much happier place as I think they made it to the other side of that dark place and were in a much a happier place. As a result, we get a more upbeat album with a new sound for the band that was almost pop and dance. They explored a more pop sound with electronic beats without fully abandoning that Americana folk sound they have. I didn’t like it at first, but man did I grow to love this album (obviously as it is #2).
Songs like “Hard Love”, ‘Great Night (feat. Shovels & Rope)”, “Don’t Bring That Trouble With Me”, “Money & Fame” and “Happiness” were some the best on it. They get you moving and having a good time. The ballad “Clear” might be the best they have ever written as it is a beautiful love song to a spouse and it makes me think of my lovely wife when I hear it. And there is “Testify” which will take you to church with arms raised high. Any bad ones? Nope!
#1 – THE RECKONING (2011):
And here we have the #1!! The album is such a great variety of songs and they explore so many different sounds and styles it is all so perfect. An album is supposed to have songs and this has it in spades. The songs are fun, they are deep, they are personal and they connect to the listener. Everything you want in an album. You get “oohs” and “aahs” with the whole just like that fantastic opening track says. From beginning to end, I am on the edge of my seat jamming away to it all. This the one album that gets a Perfect 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars!!!
What songs are the best? Outside the opening track you also have “Drive All Night”, “White Fences”, “The Reckoning”, “Able”, “Maybe They’re On To Us”, “Keep Your Eyes Open” and “Devil’s Been Talkin”. If you have the vinyl, the best song is “Cops”. Is there any song I don’t like on this one? Nope! Nothing I would skip on this one. If you want to start somewhere with the band, you can’t go wrong with this one!! (or really any of them)
And there you have it, the Needtobreathe studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!