Okay, confession time. I'm going to speak something that may very well border on Christian rock blasphemy for someone of my age who was a teen at the time. I never really got into P.O.D. (short for Payable On Death) at any point during their career. Maybe it was my lack of interest in the rapping or the fact that their heyday was a year or two before I really started listening to music on my own. Nevertheless, I missed that boat the first time around.
And yet, their footprint on Christian rock was unmistakable. I still remember my doctor at the time, when hearing I liked Christian rock, asked if I heard of P.O.D. They were one of the first Christian bands to really make an impact on Mainstream rock charts, dominating MTV's Total Request Live (TRL) and paving the way for even bigger crossover successes by other acts in the coming years.
Much of their accomplishments was tied to the immense success of their 2001 album, Satellite, which turns 20 years old this year. To mark this monumental anniversary, I'm looking back at this landmark album as an outsider, to see how its impact even reached into my own musical bubble.
From a purely commercial standpoint, Satellite's performance is impressive for anything coming out of the Christian market. These days, if an album sells five hundred thousand or a million copies, it's considered to be an overwhelming success. P.O.D. more than tripled that with a triple-platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Other of their albums would go on to receive various certifications, but Satellite has remained their crown jewel as far as commercial success.
"Alive" was such a big and iconic hit for the band that it even managed to find its way into this music fan's then-sheltered bubble. As 2000's rock scene was taking shape, this hit boasted the band's signature combo of rapped verses to soaring rock choruses in just the right mix to make it legend. The same can be true for the mighty title track, "Satellite."
The more laid-back "Youth of the Nation" also found success with its haunting but catchy chorus and relevant themes on the dark struggles facing youth. Bringing in a children's choir adds to the eerie and dark nature of the song, serving as a moment of awakening for the generation's wayward young people.
Thinking About Forever
P.O.D. has been a mainstay in Christian rock for years. Their commercial star was never as high as it was during the Satellite era. Their rap and rock mix drove the sound of an entire genre during these years and their influence in the mainstream and Christian spheres is undeniable.
Their lyrics offered hope and encouragement to a hurting generation. Whether it was struggling with depression or drugs or lust, P.O.D. gave fans a musical outlet that offered encouragement and pointed a way out of their struggles. They pointed their fans toward forever.
As this album turns 20, P.O.D. is re-releasing a special deluxe edition of the album. We join them in their celebration of a landmark album in music history.
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. He is currently working on releasing a brand new novel.
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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