Release Date: May 10th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Skillet. No not the name that we call a pan that we cook with. Yes, the band, and a big-selling one at that. John Cooper, his wife Korey, guitarist Seth Morrison and drummer Jen Ledger make up what I reckon is one of Christian music’s most relatable band, and a band that, like Switchfoot, has successfully crossed over into mainstream, without compromising their message of hope, encouragement, and at times, confrontation that can be a catalyst to turn into carefully calculated action. Borne all the years ago in the mid 1990s, the band has come a long way from Memphis, Tennessee, and with countless albums later, we see a band emerge from the aftermath of what I reckon is one of the band’s most cohesive projects to date (Unleashed) with their new song ‘Legendary’ off their new album Victorious, slated to release on the first Friday in August 2019. While the band has never shied away from being inclusive and creating a live set and songs that appeal to listeners who may not be accustomed to hearing Christian music, they have never once stopped sharing their faith and what it means to them.
Released as a lyric/music video a few days ago; Skillet’s new song is hard hitting as they come, and as first single’s go (‘Sick of It’, ‘Feel Invincible’ and ‘Hero’ all spring to mind from previous albums), ‘Legendary’, though a few cliché and repetitious lyrics, still gives us the punch that a Skillet radio single should give us. Though I reckon not as groundbreaking lyrically and thematically as other songs of Skillet’s past, what is momentuous about this song is that it is personal to the band. As John explains in his interview with Billboard, ‘…’Legendary’ is kind of fun because it sounds like Skillet, but it’s actually a little different for Skillet as well. That opening guitar riff isn’t like anything we’ve ever done on guitar. It’s a little bit bluesy, a little bit rock. I thought it was cool. The general message of ‘Legendary’ is to make your life count. You’re going to have a lot of hard things in your life. Sometimes it will get you down, but you need to make your life count. You are only here for so long on earth, so every day, fight to be legendary. For me, what this song is about is it’s to all the people who said that Skillet would never make it- they said we were too Christian. We were too pretty. We had too many girls in the band, too many keyboards. It’s too musical. It’s too this or too that and 23 years later and 10 albums later, we’re very unlikely people to still be doing music. They [the executives] go, ‘You’ve got to stop talking about your faith. It’s going to kill you at radio,’ and we say ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’ To me that’s what this song is about. I kind of drew on that. There’s a line in the chorus that says, ‘Still the one who is standing now,’ and that’s how I feel about Skillet. You all said it couldn’t happen and we’re all still standing. That’s what ‘Legendary’ means…’ It is with this quote in mind that I can appreciate the place in which the song is born out of. And though musically and lyrically at times, it can seem a little like a ‘safe’ Skillet song, the heart and passion are still there. Sure the song may not be like some of the chart-topping songs from Rise or Comatose, but maybe, this song wasn’t meant to be. ‘Legendary’ is a high energy motivator- expect this song to be in concert song set lists for a loooonnngg time yet!
‘Legendary’, the first single to their new album, is one such song that can and hopefully will silence critics and doubters about where their allegiences lie- in Christian music, or in mainstream. While many can say that you can either do one or the other, Skillet’s history shows us otherwise. John and Korey, Seth and Jen have crafted a career of non wavering, sticking by their beliefs, and creating album after album full of hits that can relate to a variety of people across the spectrum of race, religion, creed, colour, ideologies and even sexual expression and gender identity. Skillet’s music, like Switchfoot’s, is indeed universal, and if this new song is any indication of how this new album will turn out, then expect this album to gain a lot of praise and critical acclaim in the upcoming months ahead! Well done Skillet for such a hard-hitting song that can hopefully motivate us all in our own daily walks of life. Looking forward to when Victorious drops in August 2019. Till then, I’ll just have this song on repeat, and maybe, I’ll listen to other previous Skillet albums I haven’t fully listened to, yet?
RIYL: Switchfoot, U2, Lifehouse, RED, Thousand Foot Krutch