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NRT's Paul Phillips reviews some of the most poignant messages in the southern rockers' music

Posted: May 13, 2021 | By: PaulPhillips_NRT
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For the last decade, NEEDTOBREATHE has been delighting Christian music fans with their folk-rock-style music. Lead singer Bear Rinehart's trademark vocals create an emotional music atmosphere that allows fans to connect to NEEDTOBREATHE's music intimately. 

Having recently dropped their latest single, "Into the Mystery," I thought it would be a good time to share a handful of the NEEDTOBREATHE's can't-miss songs. And it's not just incredible vocals or elite musicianship, these songs are treasure troves of encouragement and biblical truth. If you've been a fan for a while or you're just getting into this amazing group, these songs should be in heavy rotation. Enjoy.

“Into the Mystery”
This is the lead single of NEEDTOBREATHE’s upcoming eighth studio album, with the same name. The band quarantined together in a Tennessee house for three weeks and recorded the record. Impressive, since NEEDTOBREATHE just dropped their album, Out of Body, last year. After the tour for Out of Body was canceled, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the band quietly retreated to the aforementioned house to write new music. And, “Into the Mystery” is the polished result. The band’s new album will drop later this year.

Ephesians 5:14 (NIV): "This is why it is said: 'Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'"

“Who Am I” (feat. Elle King)
NEEDTOBREATHE has a noticeable formula when it comes to releasing multiple versions of a song: one album version and another with a featured—yet popular—artist. NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Brother” features pop artist Gavin DeGraw and “Hard Love” features pop songstress Lauren Daigle. “Who Am I” features pop artist Elle King. About the song, Bear Rinehart says in a press release, “ 'Who Am I’ is a song about the fight to accept, embrace, and trust that the greatest love requires nothing in return.” Hint to you: the Elle King version is better.

Psalm 139:14 (NIV): "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

“Survival” (feat. Drew and Ellie Holcomb)
I find NEEDTOBREATHE’s music to be half and half: half mainstream, half Christian band. I’m used to hearing NEEDTOBREATHE collaborating with mainstream artists. Them collaborating with Christian artists, like the very talented duo Drew and Ellie Holcomb seems different to me but very welcome. “Survival” is a good old-fashioned rock and roll tune. It was recorded on Zoom (a first for the band). The guitars are crazy and vocals just soar. After a song like this, I wouldn’t mind the Holcombs and NEEDTOBREATHE getting together again for another rocker. Make sure to bring the guitars.

Matthew 24:13 (ESV): "But the one who endures to the end will be saved."

“Forever On Your Side”
NEEDTOBREATHE recorded this hit with American folk duo JOHNNYSWIM. In a press release, the band was thinking of their long-time fans when writing the song. “There are certain songs over the years we’ve been able to envision playing live on tour before we even officially record the first note. This song is kind of full circle for us and brings back a lot of the sounds people might have heard from us early on. So, in many ways, this song is for the fans who have been on our side since the beginning.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV): "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."


"Cages," a single from NEEDTOBREATHE's 
Hard Cuts: Songs from the Hard to Love Sessions, is a moving power ballad about tackling life on your own, without the love of God: "I went looking for attention/In all the wrong places/I was needing a redemption/And all I got was just cages." The song resonates with me. Whenever I think I know better than God, I fail miserably. He's always quick to remind me that I need Him to succeed.

Galatians 5:1 (NIV): "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."



NEEDTOBREATHE's hit single, "Testify," from the 2016 album Hard Love is an invitation to worship God openly and passionately. I take this worship song as a call to action to share your testimony with the world. 

2 Timothy 1:8 (NIV): "
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God."

"A Place Only You Can Go"

"A Place Only You Can Go," from the 2011 album The Reckoning, is a very touching piece about brokenness. The well-written lyrics are very intimate. I can imagine Jesus hugging one of his hurt children tightly singing, "Oh, I know this song won't do/Enough to prove my love to you/In my heart you'll always know/There is a place only love can go."

Psalm 6:2 (NLT): "Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony."


"Keep Your Eyes Open"

Also from The Reckoning, NEEDTOBREATHE's smash hit, "Keep Your Eyes Open," shares a message of encouragement: "Just past the circumstance/The first light, a second chance/No child could ever dance the way you do, oh/Tear down the prison walls/Don't start the curtain call/Your chains will never fall until you do."

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV): "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."



NEEDTOBREATHE has seen much success come from "Multiplied," the standout from their 2014 album, Rivers in the Wasteland. In fact, it earned the band a Grammy nomination. When I hear "Multiplied," I think of ballads like Bryan Adam's
"(Everything I Do) I Do It for You," Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," as well as other legendary love songs. 

But unlike those songs, "Multiplied" is a love song to God, not to that special someone. Come to think of it, all love songs are worship songs: "God of mercy/Sweet love of mine/I have surrendered to your design / may this offering stretch across the sky/And these hallelujahs be multiplied."

Psalm 95:1 (NASB): "O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation."


"Brother" (feat. Gavin DeGraw)

NEEDTOBREATHE released a couple of versions of "Brother," a song also featured on Rivers in the Wasteland. One with Gavin DeGraw, one without. I love it when Christian artists go beyond industry borders to collaborate with mainstream musicians. I'd like to see more of it.

Granted, NEEDTOBREATHE has already seen much mainstream success. (Most recently, pro wrestling giant WWE used "Be Here Long," a song from Hard Love, in a tribute video to the late Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.) In itself, "Brother," was a very successful song on Christian radio. It broke Billboard's Top 100 and peaked at 98.

Psalm 27:5 (NIV): "For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock."


Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 15 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.

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