1. “All That You Wanted” by Hangnail
A little punk-rock worship music. Hangnail was a Christian pop-punk album, influenced by older bands like Altar Boys, they wrote songs on Christian living and the redemptive beauty of the gospel. This song is featured on the band’s second album, Facing Changes. It is an extended reflection on Philippians 3:7-11. Band frontman Mike Middleton sings out:
All that I have
At all costs
Anything that I should gain
I count as loss
To know you
Is all that I’ve wanted
This is a great song with strong lyrical content and a fun sound.
2. “You Can’t Take It With You” by Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
Another hit from the band’s Good Light record. I confess not to know exactly how the song fits together. The song appears to be about truly living life to the fullest in love for others. Lyrically it confronts the listener with a list of failures: failing to know a man, failing to know the truth, failing to offer freedom, breaking hearts and not repenting. There are some great lines throughout, but it’s not entirely clear to me how the chorus fits with the rest of the song. Holcomb sings, simply: You can’t take it with you, when you’re gone. Perhaps it’s a reference to pursue personal gain over compassionate care, realizing the one is empty at the end of life. Perhaps it about conserving the love you have to offer instead of spending it all in this life. Either way, it’s a great and clearly though-provoking song.
3. “There Is” by Box Car Racer
BCR was the side project of Blink 182 members Travis Barker and Tom Delong. In many ways it was just a slightly darker sounding version of Blink. The band only produced one album before calling it quits, though Delong’s next project Angels & Airwaves carried the sound and lyrical content forward. This song is special to me because it was mine and Krista’s song when we were first dating in college. I had a slide show of pictures of us put together when I was in college to this song, burned it to a DVD and sent it to her. I played it often and thought of her as we were seven hours apart our freshman year. The song was perfect for this stage of our relationship as it speaks of two lovers separated by space and reflecting on one simple fact: there is someone out there who feels just like me.
4. “Worlds Apart” by Jars of Clay
Though this song appears on the band’s debut album and is quite unique, it is, in my opinion, one of their best songs. It took several months to record because of its length (5:18), particularly its long lyrical content. The song is truly honest, and artful worship. It is vocally driven, impassioned, and accompanied by a strong acoustic. I have loved this song from the time I first heard it and still when I listen to it I am moved. It is a song that holds up well. Dan Haseltine sings words that we all often feel and words that we are fearful to pray: take my world apart.
5. “Jesus is Better” by Austin Stone Worship
This is a beautiful song with lyrics that I need to constantly sing. They touch on the significance of Jesus in both suffering and victory. So, Aaron Ivey sings out:
In all my suffering, Jesus is Better. Make my heart believe. In every victory, Jesus is better. Make my heart believe.
I love both the faith and the doubt combined in the chorus. It is true that Jesus is better than everything, and yet we often struggle to believe it in the moment. So, the song is a plea to God: I believe, help my unbelief. A fantastic song from a band that I stumbled onto this week. Apparently Austin Stone Worship was originally formed by Christ Tomlin, though he is no longer with them. They are a worship collective formed out of Austin, Texas and have six albums – four of which have been charted in Billboard magazine.