Gann’s Top 10 – July 10 2010

I responded in a huge way to Christ For the Nations’ My Soul Longs, as it skyrockets 8-1 this week, knocking Contemporary Christian band The [M]useum to #3 with My Help Comes From the Lord, ending the band’s three-week reign at #1. Nichole Nordeman’s “Beautiful For Me,” holds at #2. Two new debuts on the chart this week: The Afters’ Light Up the Sky at #9 and Andrew Peterson’s The Reckoning at #10.

[table id=13 /]

You can read my reviews of the following songs:

  • Christ For the Nations’ “My Soul Longs”
  • Nichole Nordeman’s “Beautiful For Me”
  • The Museum’s “My Help Comes From the Lord”
  • Beckah Shae’s “Life”
  • Jeremy Camp’s “Jesus Saves”
  • Chris August’s “Starry Night”
  • Jonny Diaz’s “Waiting Room”
  • Kerrie Roberts’s “No Matter What”
  • The Afters’ “Light Up the Sky”
  • Andrew Peterson’s “The Reckoning”
  • Top Christian Songs (Billboard) – July 17 2010

    Chris Tomlin spends a second week atop Billboard’s Top Christian Songs chart this week with One God, the first radio single off Passion: Awakening, Tomlin’s popular concert tour for students. The top 5 remains unchanged, but one song enters the Top 10: Lead Me by Sanctus Real. Kutless’ What Faith Can do tumbles out of the Top 10. Just one debut on the Christian Songs chart this week: Needtobreathe’s Let Us Love enters at #45. Jeremy Camp’s Jesus Saves is the Greatest Gainer – even if the actual award was given to Sanctus Real’s Lead Me (15-10) – with a huge 40-29 jump. Go Jeremy!

    1. (1) Our God Chris Tomlin

    2. (2) Get Back Up tobyMac

    3. (3) All of Creation MercyMe

    4. (4) Before the Morning Josh Wilson

    5. (5) Healing Begins Tenth Avenue North

    6. (9) Hold Us Together Matt Maher

    7. (6) If We’ve Ever Needed You Casting Crowns

    8. (10) Born Again Newsboys

    9. (8) Beautiful Beautiful Francesca Battistelli

    10. (15) Lead Me Sanctuz Real

    Brandon Heath interview with Ganns

    In August 2006, I was able to conduct an online interview with then-rising Contemporary Christian singer Brandon Heath. Brandon had just released his first single, Our God Reigns, which performed well on the Christian charts, and I sent him an email asking for an interview for LIVEtheLIFE Magazine, my now-defunct magazine for Filipino-Christian teens. He was one of the humblest persons with whom I’ve ever had the pleasure of corresponding, and, of course, we all know that his career has skyrocketed since then, starting with the #1 follow-up to Our God Reigns, the introspective I’m Not Who I Was, and reaching its apex a year ago, when Give Me Your Eyes became his second #1 hit and one of the most popular songs of the year. Give Me Your Eyes also ended up winning two Dove Awards in 2009.

    “Our God Reigns” is a spectacular single. It’s anthemic, triumphant… a classic in the making. How did you come up with that song?
    Brandon Heath: Well, I was about to board a plane from Seattle to Nashville. There was a television in the terminal with a recording of US President Bush talking about going back to war in the Middle East. There was a lot of unrest at that time in the world, and even in my own heart. I decided that at that point, I wouldn’t out my faith in my country, or my president, or the pilot of my plane alone, but in my God who is sovereign over all the earth and all the universe. I sand what is now the chorus of the song in my head all the way home and when I landed in Nashville, I wrote it down so that I wouldn’t forget. I sang it for my church in Nashville and we’ve been singing it ever since.

    Your musical roots dig in deep to a wide variety of influences. While your sound is unique in its own way, what kind of sound can we expect on your major label debut album, Don’t Get Comfortable?
    Brandon Heath: Well, what I brought to the table with this record was a style influenced by artists like Sting, Imogen Heap, Ryan Adams, Josh Rouse, and Coldplay. I put that together with my producer who has worked with artists like Nick Lache, The Backstreet Boys, and Mercy Me. He brought the Pop Sensibility, I brought the singer-songwriter feel and we blended it together. That’s what you’ll get on this record.

    What’s your favorite song on the album and why?
    Brandon Heath: I’m Not Who I Was. It’s a personal song. So personal that I almost didn’t even record it. It’s a song about forgiveness and I think it’s the one that I am most excited for people to hear.

    You’ve claimed song writing is a lifestyle. What’s your songwriting process like?
    Brandon Heath: It’s different all the time. I wake up in the morning, when I’m home, and usually have a writing session planned out with someone else. We usually get together around 10am and write until we’ve got something great. We don’t always finish the songs, but some times, it’s magic and the songs just writes itself. That’s always the best feeling. I don’t write much on my own anymore, but my producer says my best songs are the ones that I write myself.

    Obviously, your faith shines through in your music. How do you manage the tricky feat of making songs that are both radio-friendly yet deliver the message you want to tell your listeners?
    Brandon Heath: I’m a sucker for a good pop song. I love a good hook, and BIG chorus and a great beat. I am a writer first, so if the lyric isn’t there, then the song is no good. The message has to be clear. That’s a goal of mine. As long as all those things are in place, then it’s ready for the studio and possibly the radio.

    You’ve gone on missions to India and Ecuador. What were those trips like? Did it have any impact on the songs on the album?
    Brandon Heath: Very much so! Those trips were really what promoted me to write a song called “I Will Lay You Down.” The Lord says, “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” There is a certain element of unrest in the unknown and I found that in places like India. Being among the poor and the needy had a huge impact on me. There was one night when I laid in my bed, my stomach in knots, from being nervous of my surroundings. I’ve heard it referred to as culture shock. It was at that point that I heard God telling me, “Brandon, I brought you this far. There is nothing I can do with you unless you trust me.” That was a pivotal moment for me. I was learning to trust and rest in the Lord in uncomfortable places. Even today, when I’m standing in from of huge audiences, I think of that moment and that message.

    You’ve jammed with Bebo Norman, wrote for Joy Williams, and Dan Muckala (Backstreet Boys, The Afters) produced your album. Big names! What’s it like to be on the verge of developing a legitimate name in the industry?
    Brandon Heath: It’s scary and exciting! I’m aware that God has a plan for me. I’m not necessarily aware of the details, but I know He’s got some big plans for me and that is what I am most excited about.

    If you’ve visited India and Ecuador, do you see yourself visiting the Philippines? We’ve heard a Filipino-American played an important role in your spiritual walk. Tell us about that,
    Brandon Heath: I would LOVE to come to the Philippines! I found Christ through an organization called Young Life. It’s an outreach to teenagers to tell them about Christ. My leader, Phil Picardo, was integral in putting me in front of Jesus and telling me the truth about who He was and that He loved me. Just so happens that Phil, is a Filipino-American. He would be so embarrassed that I was talking about him right now. He’s a humble guy!

    Tell us about Young Life.
    Brandon Heath: Well, Young Life is actually a world-wide outreach organization. They are committed to reaching every kid, every where, for eternity. I am actually at a Young Life camp right now in Northern Arizona near the Grand Canyon. Kids come to camps like this one, and hear about Jesus. That’s all we preach here, Jesus. Leaders come with their kids here from all over the country and sometimes the world. Probably the greatest part of Young Life is the local clubs that meet once a week in cities across the globe. It works, I’m a living breathing testament to that.

    What’s your favorite Bible verse and why?
    Brandon Heath: I don’t have one favorite Bible verse. There’s too much great stuff in the bible for me to pick one, but one of my new favorites is 1Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His wonderful light.”

    We’re so blessed to have had this time with you, Brandon. Any last words for your (future) fans in the Philippines?
    Brandon Heath: All I have to say is, “I can’t believe you listen to me in the Philippines.” Thanks so much! Bless you!

    Needtobreathe, “Let Us Love”

    Needtobreathe’s Let Us Love is the Contemporary Christian pop-rock band’s latest single, the third track released to radio from the group’s spectacular CD, The Outsiders (#20 peak Billboard 200, #2 peak Billboard Christian Albums). It wasn’t easy to follow up carrier single Lay ‘Em Down, which peaked at #8 on Billboard’s Christian Songs chart, but Something Beautiful peaked at a more-than-respectable #7 sometime towards the end of 2009. Airplay-only track The Hurricane has received enough airplay to chart on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.

    Let Us Love is decidedly different from what I’m used to getting from Needtobreathe. The chilled-out pace of Washed by the Water, or even Lay ‘Em Down, which certainly has that patented rock-gospel sound, is nowhere to be found on Let Us Love. Instead, we get a faster-paced track, almost like a rock jam, which highlights vocalist Bear Rinehart’s glorious baritone to full magnificent effect as he sings about our calling to love one another. His distinctive voice is one of the reasons why I love Needtobreathe – both Washed by the Water and Lay ‘Em Down were Top 3 hits on my chart. Let Us Love is currently one of the five most-added tracks on Christian AC this week, and I’m sure it will chart in the weeks ahead. I predict a Top 15 finish for Let Us Love – if only because I’m doubtful Christian AC and CHR radio programmers will be as open to this kind of sound from Needtobreathe as we the fans are. Well, I hope I’m proven wrong, because Let Us Love deserves to be a hit!

    [poll id=”16″]

    LET US LOVE Lyrics
    Needtobreathe

    We were born to embrace, not accept it
    We were given nothing more, and so we kept it
    As the colors of our boots keep fading
    We live a life that we hate without saying

    Who would listen to the cries of a poor man
    We’ve never done nothing
    How could we be something
    Every heart has an hour of existence
    Every breath brings a chance for redemption
    If somehow we could wake up

    Let us love
    Like we were children
    Make us feel
    Like we’re still living
    In a world I know that’s burning to the ground
    Give us time
    To beat the system
    Make us find
    What we’ve been missing
    In a world I know that’s burning to the ground

    In the crowd of the dead and disappointed
    We’re ashamed, giving up on what we wanted
    Take a chance on a long shot this time
    Aren’t we all just at least worth another try

    I’m a king in a land of abuses
    Undermined by the promise of excuses
    Who’s to win if we know that it’s not fair
    Who’s to fight when it seems that no one cares
    If somehow we could wake up

    Let us love
    Like we were children
    Make us feel
    Like we’re still living
    In a world I know that’s burning to the ground
    Give us time
    To beat the system
    Make us find
    What we’ve been missing
    In a world I know that’s burning to the ground

    It’s hard to stay here, but where do we go
    I know we can’t feel it anymore
    It’s true that time is wearing us down
    We fall further and further away
    Waiting for always to change

    Let us love
    Like we were children
    Make us feel
    Like we’re still living
    In a world I know that’s burning to the ground

    Leave your hurting on the road behind you
    Let the wind go with you ‘til the morning comes
    Yeah your sorrow, it can’t save you
    It won’t answer for what you’ve done

    Michael W. Smith, “Save Me From Myself”

    I’ve been a fan of Michael W. Smith since 1990, when I first heard his life-changing Place in This World. Literally 20 years later, Smitty’s still recording groundbreaking songs. His new single, Save Me From Myself, is no exception, save for perhaps one vital difference: it’s apparently his first carrier single that he did not write or co-write. The original Save Me From Myself was penned by Danish (I love the Danes!) electronic-rock band Carpark North, and it’s purty cool. There’s not much on Christian radio quite like Save Me From Myself, and this bodes well for Smitty, whose new sound will hopefully be accessible to notoriously closed-minded Christian radio programmers. (Casting Crowns? Chris Tomlin? tobyMAC? Sanctus Real? Hi, can we please have another chart-topper without a C in their names?)

    Save Me From Myself is lifted off Smitty’s new CD, Wonder, out in stores this fall. It’s different from anything he’s released before, and probably my favorite carrier single from him since Love Me Good. This bodes well for Michael W. Smith. Save Me From Myself is the fourth most-added track on Christian AC this week.


    This is Michael W. Smith’s version of Save Me From Myself


    This is Carpark North’s original version of Save Me From Myself

    [poll id=”15″]

    SAVE ME FROM MYSELF Lyrics
    Michael W. Smith

    Lost
    My heart is hard as stone
    On my own
    Alone, I carry it home

    Gone
    I used to waste the days
    So distraught
    I thought
    I’m changing my ways
    Now you’re changing my ways

    You save me
    Save me from myself
    There is no one else
    I’d lean on
    Save me
    You save me from myself
    There is no one else to set me free

    Start
    The start of something new
    Is what I find
    When I’m
    Just looking at you

    Lift
    You lift me off the ground
    Keep holding my hand
    I won’t land
    Won’t even look down

    Don’t look down

    You save me
    Save me from myself
    There is no one else
    I’d lean on
    Save me
    You save me from myself
    There is no one else to set me free

    Stellar Kart, “Something Holy”

    Contemporary Christian pop-punk band Stellar Kart may be known for its hard driving guitars and power punk anthemic choruses, but when it comes to turning a ballad, few other punk bands can match its naked honesty and unforgettable melodies. (Relient K comes to mind.) While Me and Jesus was by far its biggest hit, the midtempo Something Holy has what it takes to get back into radio’s good graces. Lifted off the new CD Everything Is Different Now (INO Records), Something Holy’s accessible sound and sing-along chorus certainly has good things going for it. The song, which encourages the listener to trust that s/he is important, valuable, and “part of something holy,” takes the whole “we have a purpose” adage and spins it into something accessible that even tweens should be able to understand and appreciate. SK’s Adam Agee even shares a devotional here based on the song.

    After a bit of a hiccup – Everything is Different Now was originally released exclusively online and via concerts in November 2009, with a nationwide release four months later, sans Something Holy, something that miffed some fans – it looks like SK is back with a vengeance, and GannsDeen.com’s fearless prediction is that Something Holy will chart somewhere in the Top 10 for Christian CHR and somewhere north of the Top 30 on the main Christian chart.

    [poll id=”13″]

    SOMETHING HOLY Lyrics
    Stellar Kart

    You say that the well’s run dry.
    And there’s no more tears to cry.
    You’re searching for something real.
    To make you feel.

    You Know that you’re incomplete.
    A song with a broken beat.
    There’s a whole in all our hearts.
    And there’s a reason why!

    [Chorus]
    We were born to be,
    A part of something holy.
    All of us are restless until we find.
    We were born to be,
    A part of something holy.
    Bigger than, bigger than
    You and I.
    Bigger than all our lives.

    The hunger you feel inside,
    That keeps you unsatisfied.
    It pulls at you constantly.
    Like gravity.
    This world never was enough.
    We’re made for a deeper love.
    There’s a whole in all our hearts.
    It’s part of our desire.

    [Chorus]
    We were born to be,
    A part of something holy.
    All of us are restless until we find.
    We were born to be,
    A part of something holy.
    Bigger than, bigger than
    You and I.
    Bigger than all our lives.

    All our lives we long for something more.
    The life that we were all created for.

    We were born to be,
    A part of something holy.
    All of us are restless until we find.
    We were born to be,
    A part of something holy.
    Bigger than, bigger than
    Bigger than you and I.
    Bigger than, bigger than all our lives!

    Bigger than, bigger than

    Andrew Peterson, “The Reckoning”

    Andrew Peterson’s The Reckoning is the kind of song that stands out for a variety of reasons, among which is its actual sound. You don’t get to hear this folky, guitar-driven type of sound much on Christian radio, which makes it remarkably unique in a sea of power ballads, midtempo toe-tappers, and upbeat dance floor rhythms (the latter comes in short supply, too). Its guitar riff reminds me of Indigo Girls, back in their Rites of Passage or Swamp Ophelia days, when lyrics were profound, melodies were catchy, and Amy Ray wasn’t as angry as she is today. I have a certain fondness for this type of music, so The Reckoning resonates with me today because of the many memories I associate with that kind of sound. Its unconventional tempo, and Michael W. Smith-esque vocal are further ingredients that bode well for this recipe.

    Having said it, The Reckoning is a rather clever piece of Contemporary Christian music. Written by Peterson and fellow singer-songwriter Andrew Osenga (formerly of The Normals, and now with Caedmon’s Call), The Reckoning is a well-written piece about the wonders of creation, and how those can’t quite compare to what happens once the Second Coming takes place. Peterson comes into the scene with almost a decade and a half of recording experience, indie and major, and it shows: his seasoned vocal underscores the passion with which he sings The Reckoning, and with the quality of the song itself, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Reckoning became his first major hit in years. The Reckoning is gaining strength at Soft AC/Inspo, where it hovers a few notches below the Top 20. Give it a few more weeks, and maybe Andrew Peterson will add yet another hit(ch) to his storied belt of a career.

    THE RECKONING Lyrics
    Andrew Peterson

    I can see the storm descending on the hill tonight
    Tall trees are bending to Your will tonight
    Let the mighty bow down at the thundering sound of Your voice
    I can hear the howling wind and feel the rain tonight
    Every drop a prophet in Your name tonight
    Oh, and the song that they sing
    It is washing me clean but

    How long, how long
    How long until this curtain is lifted
    How long
    How long is this the song that we sing?
    How long until the reckoning?

    And I know You hear the cries of every soul tonight
    You see the teardrops as they roll tonight
    Down the faces of the saints who grow weary and faint in Your fields
    And the wicked roam the cities and the streets tonight
    But when the God of love and thunder speaks tonight
    Oh, I believe You will come
    Your justice be done, but

    How long, how long
    How long until this curtain is lifted
    How long
    How long is this the song that we sing?
    How long until the reckoning?

    Oh the reckoning

    You are holiness and grace
    You are fury and rest
    You are anger and love
    You curse and You bless
    You are mighty and weak
    You are silence and song
    You are plain as the day
    But you have hidden Your face
    For how long, how long
    And I am standing in the stillness of the reckoning
    The storm is past and rest is beckoning
    Mighty God how I fear You
    And I long to be near You, o Lord

    How long, how long
    How long until this burden is lifted
    How long
    How long is this the song that we sing?
    How long until the reckoning?
    And I know
    I know
    And I know that I don’t know what I’m asking
    How long
    I long to look You full in the face
    I’m ready for the reckoning

    Ganns’ Top 10 – July 3 2010

    Contemporary Christian band The [M]useum retains its hold at #1 for a third week with My Help Comes From the Lord, fending off Jeremy Camp’s “Jesus Saves”, which holds at #3 for a second, and even more strongly, Nichole Nordeman’s “Beautiful For Me,” which blasts onto the chart at #2. The other new debut in the chart is a pretty respectable #8 debut for Christ for the Nations with My Soul Longs.

    [table id=12 /]

    You can read my reviews of the following songs:

  • The Museum’s “My Help Comes From the Lord”
  • Nichole Nordeman’s “Beautiful For Me”
  • Jeremy Camp’s “Jesus Saves”
  • Beckah Shae’s “Life”
  • Chris August’s “Starry Night”
  • Jonny Diaz’s “Waiting Room”
  • mikeschair’s “Keep Changing the World”
  • Christ For the Nations’ “My Soul Longs”
  • Josh Wilson’s “Before The Morning”
  • Kerrie Roberts’s “No Matter What”