NEEDTOBREATHE [The Reckoning] | Posted September 19, 2011 Staff Reviewer
NEEDTOBREATHE had me at “Signature of Divine (Yahweh),” which was my favorite song of 2007. The music scene that year featured some impressive new albums by my favorite faith-based mainstream bands, Lifehouse and Collective Soul. I owned Daylight so I immediately purchased The Heat and NEEDTOBREATHE instantly became my favorite band. Rarely can a rock band give me goose bumps or tingle my spine when I listen to their songs, but this band has an uncanny ability to get deeper and more emotionally penetrating with each release. For sure, The Outsiders was the top album of 2009 and really put the band on the map with stand-out hit songs “Lay ‘Em Down” and “Something Beautiful,” landing them a major tour opening for Taylor Swift.
The Reckoning has been my most anticipated album of 2011, and I’m pleased to say it exceeds my expectations as I couldn’t imagine they could outdo themselves. This incredible band has once again released their newest best album. They rock harder than ever in the stellar opening track, “Oohs and Aahs,” a fitting tribute to their energetic and awe-inspiring live shows. The song ends with a jam session which highlights their outstanding musicianship. I had been listening to “Slumber” and “Drive All Night” as singles that preceded the album release, and they are fitting examples of the excellence of this band. Something I noticed after heavy rotation of those songs and also the show-stopping “Devil’s Been Talkin’” is how brothers Bear and Bo Rinehart have continued the “outsider” theme with the clever use of the term “victim” in all three songs. It personifies the brothers’ challenge of standing up for what’s right in a dark world, which is the cohesive theme of The Reckoning with fourteen amazing songs.
“White Fences,” “Maybe They’re Onto Us” and “Keep Your Eyes Open” are also stand-out rockers and all focus on the concept of staying true to principals of self-discipline and humility despite the band’s sudden thrust into the limelight. These are some of the most grounded regular guys in a ridiculously gifted rock band. It seems to come from their family upbringing from Possum Creek, South Carolina as sons of an Assembly of God pastor who formed this stellar band with boyhood friends bassist Seth Bolt and drummer Joe Stillwell. They’ve never lost sight of their calling to focus on truth in their songs, which is especially found in some of their most heart-wrenching ballads to date, “A Place Only You Can Go,” “Able,” “Tyrant Kings” and gorgeous closing song “Learn To Love.” Some of my favorite lyrics on the album are in “Devil’s Been Talkin’” which is a banjo-led surefire concert favorite featuring Bear passionately belting out “The Truth will set you free.” The lyrics I can’t stop singing are in my all-time favorite song, “Drive All Night” which is the ultimate story of “outsiders.” The song has such a hooky melody and just like “Something Beautiful,” is another guaranteed hit song. The song builds to the incredible lyrics “Beg the Book to turn the page, ‘cause I get stuck where the villains get away. Somewhere in this wretched tale, there must be a line where the victim gets his way, just one time. Oh I’ll get mine.” When Bear sings that line, my heart beats faster and I get swept up in the emotional stirring of my soul, just like in “Signature Of Divine (Yahweh)” which melts me every time I hear “Take me, and pull me through. Cause I can't move without You. I won't leave you alone, You say, It will be okay.” Thank you Bear, Bo, Seth and Joe for continually serving those “gourmet” musical moments and for sure, “it will be okay.”
I am literally blown away. This is a ridiculously fantastic album on all levels. You can be sure this is a 5 star masterpiece that will propel NEEDTOBREATHE to major headliner status just like GRAMMY Award winning bands Train, Kings of Leon and Muse. All I can say is "ooh and aah" as I listen to each incredible song. The meteoric rise of this band from Daylight to The Reckoning is unprecedented and extremely well-deserved. If you've been waiting to jump on the NEEDTOBREATHE bandwagon, it's time to "wake on up from your slumber, baby open up your eyes." This is the best album I've ever heard. Bo Rinehart is a hit song-writing genius. Just like everyone else including Taylor Swift, "More Time," "Lay 'Em Down" and "Something Beautiful" captivated me. Every song is on this album is a guaranteed hit, especially "Oohs and Aahs," "White Fences," "Slumber," "Maybe They're Onto Us," "Keep Your Eyes Open," "Devil’s Been Talkin’" and my Song of the Year-"Drive All Night." This deserves the GRAMMY award for Album of the Year. It is time to make history. Just like The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, The Reckoning by NEEDTOBREATHE is the Album of the Year by THE Group of the Year.