Worldwide, heavy music has the most loyal fans over any other genre: pop, jazz, country, you name it. This study, undertaken by the good folks over at Spotify, is promising in light of pop music's dominance in the mainstream and Christian music markets. In order to keep up with Joneses, many rock bands are either switching genres or are integrating electronic beats into their once pure rock sound. Skillet has followed suit with its most recent release, Unleashed.
Pop synthesizers are not what most would call the essential Skillet sound. The aggressive, pure, unadulterated rock side of the band's music is what has often satisfied Skillet's loyal fans ("Panheads"). Want examples? Here are five of Skillet's ever-so-popular, melt-your-face-off hits.
1. "Feel Invincible"
The lead single from Skillet's Unleashed shows how the band's infectious rock has evolved from album to album. Ever notice how the lyrics compliment the song's heart-pounding sound? "You make me feel invincible / Earthquake, powerful / Just like a tidal wave / You make me brave." "Feel Invincible" is pure, because it is unaffected by any sonic noise.
2. "Awake and Alive"
This song from Skillet's 2009 album Awake has a similar theme to "Feel Invincible." It's a spiritual warfare anthem: "I'm at war with the world and they / Try to pull me into the dark / I struggle to find my faith / As I'm slippin' from your arms." In a world where Christians fall prey to oppression and ridicule, Skillet uses their aggressive rock to scream, "No, you're not taking me alive." This anthem emphasizes that fact: "I'll stand my ground and never back down / I know what I believe inside / I'm awake and I'm alive." I dare you to program this song as your 6:00 a.m. wake-up call on your alarm clock!
3. "Not Gonna Die"
Skillet personifies hard rock. John Cooper's screaming, raspy vocals coupled with the band's adrenaline-filled gritty guitars are characteristics that make up Skillet's signature sound. The band used these features to churn out "Not Gonna Die," an ear bleeder from the 2013 album Rise. This hit single is another beautiful anthem about fighting back against oppression: "This is how it feels when you take your life back / This is how it feels when you finally fight back." Hard rock, at its core, fuels inner rebellion. Skillet's lyrics gently turns that that inner rebellion into perseverance: "When life pushes me, I push harder / What doesn't kill me makes me stronger," instead of fueling a "to hell with the world" attitude.
4. "Whispers in the Dark"
This phenomenally successful lead single from Skillet's 2006 album Comatose ushered in a new era for the band. The 2006 Grammy-nominated album received mainstream attention and, since then, Skillet has been riding a wave of success. Despite its aggressive nature, "Whispers in the Dark" is actually a gentle call from God to his children: "Despite the lies that you're making / Your love is mine for the taking / My love is just waiting / To turn your tears to roses." The guitar solos at the midpoint and at the end of the song are so powerful that you'll be compelled to pull out your air guitar and strum along.
Before Comatose, there was Collide, possibly their heaviest album to date. When I think of Collide, I think of the song "Savior," an adrenaline-filled head exploder that turned me into a Panhead. The song is a great mix of screaming vocals and heavy guitars. "I know what you got / What you need / Gonna be your Savior / Everything's gonna crash and break."
What are your favorite heavy Skillet songs?
Phill Feltham is a Canadian journalist with over eight years of experience writing and editing content for print and digital media. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, travel, and the power grid. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus. Highlights of Phill's work can be found on his portfolio site PhillFeltham.com and his official blog, The Weekly Wanderer. Phill lives out his faith with his wife, Jodi, in the Greater Toronto Area.
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