My Sunday Song – “Don’t Wait for Daylight” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #169, we are going to talk about the very first Needtobreathe song I ever heard.  The opening track to the album ‘Daylight’ called “Don’t Wait for Daylight”.  The song that started it all for me.  The one that said…these guys are special…they have a sound I like…their songs are interesting…I can get it in to this…and I did.  13 years later they are now one of my all-time favorite bands.

This song is really interesting as a band that was supposed to be a “Christian” band (which they are not) tackled a very delicate subject.  Well, actually two delicate subjects…Suicide and Affairs.  The song is about a woman who was having an affair with man and while she was going to his house to end it, she wound up stealing his coat so she could have a piece of him to remember and never said a word.  Inside the coat pocket was a note. Not just any note.  A suicide note that he wrote for his wife.  Now here is where it gets interesting.  Does she tell someone and save him?  If she does, it will then be known she has cheated on her husband. Quite a predicament.  The song is telling her not to wait.  She has to let people know.  She has to come clean and save this man’s life even if it mean destroying her world.  Wow!

Musically, it is a great rocker, upbeat tempo and a standout opening track to an album. The guitar work is fantastic with a nice opening riff and pulsating beat accompanying Bo’s guitar.  The song has punch and has an intensity that matches the lyrics.  There is a sense of urgency in the music the same as the urgency in the need for the woman to let someone know about the note as she struggles with her decision. Bear’s vocals show range and has a maturity that most singers don’t have on their first album.  It has a little raspiness to it that gives it the grit that makes for a great rock singer.

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My Sunday Song – “Keep Your Eyes Open” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #168, we are going to discuss one of the band’s more popular songs called “Keep Your Eyes Open” from the 2011 album ‘The Reckoning’. The song was released as a single and even as a 5 song E.P. with two versions of this song, one being acoustic, and 3 bonus tracks, two of which end up on the vinyl release of the album.  And one of those bonus tracks we discussed as the first one in this Needtobreathe series.

The song can be interpreted in many ways.  I look at it as a song of encouragement that no matter how bad things get, keep soldiering on and pushing toward the light.  Keep those eyes open for whatever positive might come along.

It also seems to be about depression and that God is there for you if you keep those eyes open and accept him in, but I don’t think it is that easy.  Depression is a powerful force and although I think God can help maybe keep you on this side of heaven, he is not the be-all, cure-all solution as I know someone very close to me that suffers from depression and it is tough road to travel even with God fully in their life.  Okay, I might burn in hell for saying that, but sorry that is how I feel.  Unless you have been through depression or know someone who has, you don’t know the daily struggle they face.  I prefer the song as a shining example of hope and encouragement that can help you push through those dark days.

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My Sunday Song – “Don’t Bring That Trouble” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #167, we are playing “Don’t Bring That Trouble” by the band Needtobreathe.  The song is off their 2016 album ‘Hard Love’ which saw the band’s sound change a little adding a little more dance/pop elements without losing that signature Needtobreathe feel.

“Don’t Bring That Trouble” is the most rocking track on the record.  It has a great guitar riff opening and sound. The drum beats come banging in and though not real drums, the electronic beats pick up the pace of the song and drive in to a more rocking track than the rest of the album.  There is even a southern rock/country vibe thrown in with it as well.  Overall, it is pure fun and enjoyment and sometimes you need to let loose and let it fly and this does that.

Lyrically, there is not much substance like a lot of their songs I have featured.  The song is basically talking about how he is broken and he is trying to fix his life and problems and if you are coming along for the ride, don’t bring any trouble as he doesn’t want to deal with that anymore.  For me, it doesn’t matter as I want to crank it up and dance a little.  Sometimes, lack of substance is fine with me!!!

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My Sunday Song – “Stones Under Rushing Water” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #166, we are discussing “Stones Under Rushing Water” by Needtobreathe.  The song is off their 2009 album “The Outsiders” and it shows the softer side of the band. The album was really the bands big break and ended up getting them noticed by Taylor Swift and the band opened for her on tour for a large number of shows.  I had found the band from the beginning so there growing success was no surprise to me.

The song is a really simple song lyrically.  It talks about how fast life passes us by and it will be gone before you know it.  He is telling you to slow things down, take it all in and cherish every moment.  It also seems to be about a relationship that has drifted apart and the spark has left them.  They need to stop long enough to remember what they had and find that spark again.  Either interpretation is right as you can make up your own mind on what it means to you.

Musically, the song is an acoustic track and one of the first duets the band has done.  Sara Watkins from the band Nickel Creek accompanies Bear Rinehart on vocals.  Her voice is so delicate and beautiful and compliments his vocals quite nicely.  She brings that extra layer of sadness and heartbreak to the song.  There is no guitar solo, but Bear does a harmonica solo that adds a whole new layer of melancholy to the song.  All in all, it is quite a beautifully sad song.

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My Sunday Song – “Maybe They’re on to Us” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #165, we are talking about the song “Maybe They’re On To Us” by Needtobreathe.  The song is off their wildly successful album “The Reckoning” which came out in 2011.  The song was not a single, but still a favorite of mine.  The album did really well and went to #6 on the Billboard charts thanks in part to this song and all the great songs on this album.

The song is about paranoia.  For the band, that paranoia is a wondering if the fans know too much about the them and will figure out who they really are and not like them.  Maybe the will stop listening and it will all just go away.  They were starting to get successful and they had a fear of it disappearing in a flash.  That is an honest fear.

I think people feel that way in everyday life as well.  You walk around in life wondering if people will realize you are just faking it trying to get by day-to-day.  Maybe they will discover you really don’t have your stuff together after-all…but honestly who really does?  I don’t think anyone.  We are all faking it a little each and every day.

Musically, I really love Bear’s vocals.  His delivery of the lyrics, his pacing and everything he sings is so purposely and perfectly placed.  There is a smooth, driving groove that takes you through the song.  Then throw in the backing vocals on the bridge/chorus that help give it that church-like/choir feel.

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My Sunday Song – “Difference Maker” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song # 164, we are talking about “Difference Maker” by Needtobreathe.  The song was the debut single off their album ‘Rivers in the Wasteland’ from 2014.  The song reached #16 on the Christian charts and might be one of the most powerful song they have ever written lyrically.

The song is best described by Bear Rinehart himself.  I found this on the Newreleasetoday.com website. It is an article written by Kevin Davis when he interviewed Bear about the song.  Bear states the following…

This song is my story of trying to understand my role in God’s plan. We were on tour with a secular artist, Taylor Swift, playing to 20,000 and even 50,000 people per night. We felt like we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. Despite our efforts, I didn’t feel like we were having the impact we are called to have.

I think God was asking us at this time, “What are you doing this for? Are you doing it for Me?” And, I think that’s where this song was birthed. That confusion is almost a good thing. The bridge says “I am on the fence about nearly everything I’ve seen.” I meant that in how the whole band was going through a “we surrender to God” kind of way.

We don’t need to be concerned about what happens after we’ve given up this gift we have to God. That was really powerful for us. We had ambition and let that take too much of a priority in things that led us down a road that wasn’t good. I think that in trying to re-prioritize, God wants us to sacrifice those things, those idols in our lives. Some idols for us were wondering what the outcome was going to be, that we had the upper hand or maybe we were the best band out there, or we thought we were the most clever at it.

I feel like the beginning of the song is us asking ourselves are we really difference makers. How valuable are we, really? Towards the end of the song it comes around that God makes us a part of what He does, which is so crazy. It starts with us realizing that we don’t get to make the rules. We don’t control it, and we don’t get to say what the timing is. It’s not because of our talents. He doesn’t need that. He needs our willing hearts.

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My Sunday Song – “The Outsiders” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #163, we are going to dive in to the title track from their 2009 album, ‘The Outsiders’.  The opening track to an album that went on to win a Dove Award for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year.  At this point in their career, this was the best effort.

The song is about how the band feels with their place in the music industry.  Being from a small town in South Carolina with a very small music scene, the band never quite felt like they were fully accepted in to the music industry.  They feel like they are outsiders in a business they have been in for about 10 years at this point.  With that feeling of being an outsider also allows for a freedom.  A freedom to do whatever they want creatively and musically.  That freedom has led to some amazing songs (this one included).

The song opens with Bo picking on a banjo, then Bear comes in singing then some hand clapping and some good foot stomping beats.  The country style opening lends its way to a rock song with some southern flair which is something they do best.  They keep that Americana, folk feel in their sound and turn the song into an anthem for a whole generation of people that feel they are outsiders in whatever group they are in.  It is a rally to embrace it and accept it and take advantage of it at the same time.  Ironically, their fan club is actually called “The Insiders”.

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My Sunday Song – “Washed by the Water” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #162, we are going to discuss “Washed by the Water” by Needtobreathe.  The song is off their 2007 album ‘The Heat’ and in 2009 it won the GMA Dove Award for Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year.

The story of the song is about an incident that happened to their dad at their church.  Their father was the preacher and apparently some gossip went around and things were said about him and his wife that in the end turned out to all be false. Their father held his ground and kept his integrity in tack during the whole process.  Bear and Bo were so impressed by their dad that it inspired this song.  It goes to show you that your kids are always watching you and they see how you act and that can be really impactful.

The song has this whole church, gospel vibe to it with the organ and keyboards.  At the same time, there is southern rock feel to the song.  I love that church vibe as it really emphasizes the story.  And let’s talk about the lyrics.  There aren’t a lot, but what is there is powerful.  The title alone of “Washed by the Water” is fantastic, but it is the following lines are the most impactful to me…

Even when Earth crumbles under my feet
Even when ones I love turn around and crucify me
I won’t never ever let you down
I won’t fall
I won’t fall
I won’t fall as long as you’re around me

Their dad showed them the importance of faith and standing up for what you believe no matter what the devil throws at you and it sounds like he threw a lot at them.  We are defined by our choices and our actions, pretty impressive in my book.

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My Sunday Song – “Cops” by Needtobreathe

 

For My Sunday Song #161, we are now taking over with the next 10 songs coming from one of my favorite bands Needtobreathe. A rock band with a Southern Rock sound, folk, Americana, gospel all with a Christian background and some of the best songs I have ever heard.  I usually try to stick with the non-singles, but as I want more people to know this band, I won’t always stick with that philosophy…although this song is just that.  The song this week is called “Cops” and it is a B-Side for the song “Keep Your Eyes Open”. The song is also a bonus track on the LP version of the album ‘The Reckoning’ from 2011.  Yes, the LP has the bonus tracks!!

The song is one of the bands heaviest songs and completely rocks out.  The reason for that is the subject matter of the song. Needtobreathe has always been labeled a Christian band, but they are not.  They are a rock band that has a Christian upbringing and that subject matter bleeds in to the music from time to time.  But that is not their focus.  They don’t deny they are Christians, they just want to play music and have a good time…nothing wrong with that.

The song is about the Christian people that are trying to tie the band down as a Christian band.  The constant opinions about how they are disappointing God when they don’t sing about him and they should be out there spreading the word.  Sorry, they are a Rock band first and they are not apologizing for that.  The band likens this pressure to being chased by “Cops”…so there you have it.  I find it funny how Christians are supposed to be holier than thou, but yet they are the first to cast the stone and point the finger when they should be looking in to that mirror themselves.  Another problem I have with religion although I am a Christian, their hypocrisy is sickening at times.  Soapbox, getting down now.

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My Sunday Song – “Die Hard the Hunter” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #160 and the final in the Def Leppard series, I bring you “Die Hard the Hunter” from the multi-platinum album ‘Pyromania’.  The song was never released as a single; however, was played live back in the day.

The song opens with the sound of a helicopter and machine gun fire and is representative of war, the Vietnam War to be exact.  The song is about a war veteran who comes back from war, but can’t seem to let it go.  The battles the soldier faces being home as he can’t seem to stop fighting the battles and now they are in his mind.  The evils of war are following him everywhere and he is struggling to let go of the bad and find the good.  A common problem with soldiers then and even today.

What I love about the song is the seriousness of the music.  The heavy metal chords that are used give an impending feel of doom and gloom.  There is a darkness to the music, an eeriness, a sadness that captures the feelings the soldier is going through.  You can actually feel the heaviness of it all through the music.  It is quite fantastic how they captured that feeling musically.

Steve Clark’s solo on this is fantastic.  He has a really cool riff and along with Pete Willis’ rhythm guitar, the two made a great pair and helped deliver the sound that captured the essence of the song.  It was simple sounding, yet brilliant.  Not too flashy, but not understated either.  Joe delivers the vocals in a way to also help convey the emotions of the song.  Always has been one of my favorites on ‘Pyromania’.

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