Brandon Heath has been one of the most prominent names in Contemporary Christian Music for well over a decade now. Contrary to the often epic and grand arrangements in many Christian hits, Heath's career has been characterized by a more subtle approach. While able to produce an iconic chorus with the best of them, Heath's vocals have always grounded his music in a more "chill" section of the genre. His melodies and music feel practical and humble without ever veering into boring or uninspired. This has always given his music intimate accessibility that sets him apart from many of his peers.
Freshly signed to the ever-growing all-star roster of Centricity Music, Heath is beginning working ona new album, and has more music coming in 2021. To mark the occasion of the first new music in a number of years, we're taking a look back at some of Heath's biggest hits. So far.
"Human Nature" (New For 2021)
Brandon Heath is ready to drop a new project with a new label. "Human Nature" sees Heath exploring a few new sounds. A slightly bluesy piano intro and a bombastic horn hook give the song an instant different feel than the Heath standard. Even the verses feel a step up from Heath's signature calm delivery, while not totally feeling out of place in Heath's style. All of this building to a signature hit-ready chorus. A spoken word bridge also feels entirely Brandon Heath while also coming as a welcome surprise.
The song sings of inviting Christ into our human brokenness so He can heal us. A fairly familiar theme for Heath, but like usual, the delivery makes it feel relevant. It looks to be a surefire hit for Heath to add to his growing body of classic work.
"Just A Girl" (Christmas)
Like many artists, Brandon Heath put out a Christmas record complete with a signature original carol. Perhaps no other song on this list embodies Heath's style quite like this one. While many Christmas tracks opt to go big and orchestral for a grand holiday offering, "Just A Girl" takes a surprisingly restrained approach. The acoustic instrumentation creates a slightly mysterious background to couple with the song's story approach.
Telling the tale of the innkeeper who turned away Mary and Joseph before the birth of Christ, the song examines what it must've been like to be the innkeeper that night. While not exonerating the man completely, the song humanizes the motives of turning away a couple in need while also showing us ourselves how we may be in the presence of a miraculous event and just don't realize it yet.
"Your Love" was the lead single from Heath's third album, Leaving Eden. After the success of Heath's previous two projects, this album had some high expectations for cementing his place among the A-list of Christian artists. The song more than delivered, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Christian songs. The song further refined Heath's growing signature sound, balancing accessible melodies against a low-key execution.
The song's themes connected with listeners. Singing of how we all hunger for things and try to satisfy it with things of the world. But the only thing that will satisfy that hunger is the love of Christ.
"Give Me Your Eyes"
Lead single from Heath's sophomore album, "Give Me Your Eyes" took Heath to new levels of popularity. The song was everywhere on Christian radio and even had a little bit of crossover appeal. Musically, it invited a lot of similarities to Mat Kearney's music, who was at the height of his popularity in the mainstream at the time. While staying true to Heath's low-key style, the song offered a foot-tapper of a chorus that made the song instantly recognizable and singable.
The song spoke to the singer's desire to see the world through the eyes of Christ. He remarks on all the hurting people he passes and all of the secret pains they hide from the world. Pains that Christ would see and offer to help heal. In asking to see the world as Christ sees it, Heath also seeks to be able to make a difference to those suffering.
Reaching 5 albums is a huge milestone in this day and age, and Heath marked it with a lead single that was decidedly Brandon Heath. His trademark chill verses, a chorus that was both low-key and instantly singable, subtle musical flourishes to round out a hit song, and relatable themes of ministering to a hurting audience.
Carrying the torch well from the classic "Give Me Your Eyes," Heath sings a similar prayer so that he could take action as a result of seeing things as God sees them and bring God's healing to a hurting world. And consequently, this would open up a heart to love God even more. In this song, Heath asks to love God with his whole heart and not just a part of it.
"Jesus In Disguise"
The lead single from Heath's oft overlooked fourth album, "Jesus in Disguise" found Heath as a seasoned veteran with a sound he felt comfortable in. While reaching for a bit more anthemic chorus than was Heath's standard, the song played to Heath's low-key strengths and relaxed delivery to create another classic song in his catalogue.
The song also touched on relatable themes on how small moments could become a chance for encounters with Christ. We may expect to see Christ in big moments with fire and special effects, but the most real encounters may come in the subtle and quieter happenings of life.
"I'm Not Who I Was"
One of Heath's first singles and his first to become a bonafide breakout hit. Like Heath's signature style, this song takes a more acoustic guitar approach and is decidedly more chill than your average Christian music hit. Furthermore, it boasts an almost unheard of characteristic for a hit Christian music song. It lacks a proper chorus! While not without a groovy little hook, the song is an example of Christian music shining through stripped away of some of the most flashy bells and whistles of the genre.
Thematically, the song is a sort of "coming of age" song showing how the singer has grown through a relationship with Christ. Remarking on the effect of grace in our lives, Heath sings on how we could use our newfound growth to help others as well, "Well the thing I find most amazing/In amazing grace is the chance to give it out/Maybe that's what love is all about."
"The Light In Me"
Released as the second single from Heath's third album "Leaving Eden," this song proved a worthy follow-up to "Your Love." Not attempting to revolutionize Heath's established sound, this song helped further cement Heath as a hit machine. With a relaxed execution, the song managed to be an inspiring and accessible hit for many fans.
Touching on themes of brokenness and how Christ shines light in the darkness, the themes connected with many listeners in a way that was relevant and yet still familiar.
"No Turning Back"
Lead single from the album of the same name, "No Turning Back" finds Heath effortlessly executing his signature sound to produce another radio hit. Once again, Heath has a finger on the pulse of the human condition and produces a song to both soothe and engage.
The song stays in familiar territory with the singer declaring a decision to follow Christ without looking back. But it's Heath's intimate delivery that makes each word land with authenticity.
J.J. Francesco is a longtime contributor to the NRT Staff. He's published the novel 'Because of Austin' and regularly seeks new ways to engage faith, life, and community.
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