Release Date: October 16th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Who Am I? (feat. Elle King)
Without a doubt one of the most popular and respected bands in both Christian and mainstream media markets at the moment (probably according to both listeners and critics; and alongside bands and artists such as Switchfoot, Owl City, Lifehouse, Relient K, for KING & COUNTRY, and Skillet!); Needtobreathe are a band whom I have increasingly been actively following and listening to over the past few years, and have been respecting more and more. Branching out and recording plenty of songs specifically directed to the mainstream media, the South Carolina quartet are comprised of brothers Bear and Bo, and good friends Seth and Josh; with the four having wowed us again and again with their honest lyrics, catchy music and southern rock goodness, also providing us with plenty of inspiring and thought provoking messages to ponder over as well.
With their most successful and critically acclaimed full length studio album HARD LOVE more than four years old (you can read my review here!); the 12 track collection of pop rock goodness showed us once again what a force Bear, Bo, Seth and Josh are right now, and how they’re definitely a band to be reckoned with both now and into the future. Providing us songs that compel us to dwell upon and ponder the deep issues of life, in their last couple of albums alone (Rivers In The Wasteland and HARD LOVE), there were plenty of songs that personally impacted and spoke to me, such as “Wasteland”, “Multiplied”, “Brother”, “Testify”, “Hard Love”, “The Heart”, “Happiness” and “Difference Maker”.. Fast forward to now, and here we are, blessed with another Needtobreathe release. Since that time in 2016, Bear’s brother Bo has left the band, and we’ve also been fortunate to hear new projects from the group, inclusive of Hard Cuts: Songs from the Hard Love Sessions, Forever On Your Side (Niles City Sound Sessions), and Acoustic Live Vol. 1; but now with a label change (from Atlantic to Centricity) and their Centricity Music debut Out Of Body, we are now presented with one of the most impacting Needtobreathe albums yet, and my absolute favourite album of 2020 thus far!
It’s been amazing watching ‘Who Am I’ take on a life of its own. Our fans have a way of making that happen. We’re dropping a new version this week… and are honored to have @elleking lend her powerful vocals to the track. Out Wednesday, 9AM ET!
We’ve reviewed the album here– but I’d like to revisit one of my favourite songs from the album. The band re-recorded “Who Am I” recently, this time as a radio friendly pop version, with the guest vocals of singer/songwriter Elle King- and as I’ve been inspired and impacted greatly from this version as well as the original version- let me all remind you about what this song is about. With the song co-written with country superstar Thomas Rhett; we are met with a fervent humbleness and gratitude yet still questioning of the boundless and endless love of God. As we’re in constant awe of God loving us unconditionally, Bear eloquently asks ‘…the way I push You through it what You had to see, I’m a train wreck, I’m a mess, You see the best and the worst in me, still I can’t imagine that I’ve learned Your trust, I don’t understand where Your love comes from…’, and we are all met with the realisation that God does indeed love us all that much- enough to die for us and rise up again three days later to give us the gift of eternal life. It’s a concept that is mindboggling, but true. And as Elle’s vocals work extremely well with the band- I’m once again blown away at the professionalism yet also sheer brilliance and near-flawlessness of the band. I’m really impressed and proud- and no doubt other listeners and critics will be praising these guys yet again!
Bear, Seth and Josh have done it again, creating a musical and lyrical masterpiece in the strongest album lyrically, musically and vocally of 2020 thus far. “Who Am I” is an unequivocal standout on this project, as the group examine and dive deep into issues that are relevant across society, while ensuring that their faith in God and testimony of how Jesus is who He says He is, shines through the music and lyrics! With “Hang On”, “Survival”, “Who Am I”, “Banks”, “Bottom Of A Heartbreak” and “Seasons” all being my favourites; I already can’t wait to listen to whatever NEEDTOBREATHE decide to do next! And kudos to the guys for already giving us a stellar new version of “Who Am I?”! Well done Bear, Seth and Josh; I will definitely recommend your music to many of my friends and acquaintances! How about a Christmas album next?
RIYL: Colton Dixon, Daughtry, Switchfoot, Lifehouse, The Fray, One Republic, Skillet