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AN NRT WAYBACK EDITORIAL
Sanctus Real's 'Fight The Tide' Turns 20
NRT's J.J. Francesco takes a look back at the popular sophomore album from the veteran rockers as it turns 20
 


AN NRT WAYBACK EDITORIAL, Sanctus Real's 'Fight The Tide' Turns 20
Posted: June 11, 2024 | By: JJFrancesco_NRT
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Sanctus Real has proven a mainstay of the Christian music scene since their 2002 debut. While their role has evolved over the years, particularly in the switch of lead vocalists some years back, they can always be relied on for a consistent output of catchy, earnest songs glorifying Christ.

Following the success of their 2002 debut Say it Loud, their sophomore album Fight the Tide cemented their place in the industry. Before being a regular presence on the contemporary side of the musical aisle, Sanctus Real was known for their rock. Perhaps no album had their rock credentials so high as this album. As it turns 20 years old this year, we take a look back at some of the highlights. 

The Rocking Hits

The lead single "Everything About You" was a #1 hit and became a rocking anthem of the band's setlist for years. It still ranks among my own top five Sanctus Real songs. The 2000s were a great time for edgier Christian rock and Sanctus Real proved to be a powerhouse. Boasting catchy guitar-lines coupled with Matt Hammitt's gritty-but-smooth vocals, the band didn't miss a beat with rockier cuts like this. The song serves as an outright worship song, but without any of the generic tendencies prevalent in the "Praise and Worship" genre.

"The Fight Song" and "Alone" took more relationship-driven focus, but still kept the crunchy-guitar lines front and center. It's amazing to find a Sanctus Real album that goes so deep into the album before hitting on anything resembling a ballad. While "Things Like You" and "Closer" dial the rock down song, both have rocking climactic finishes that elevate them above the standard Christian radio fare. 

 

Deeper Cuts

Some of the best songs from the album were among those that didn't get released as singles. "The Show" and "Change Me" can stand toe to toe musically with any of the band's hits from the album. "Deeds" is a biting meditation on how our faith and our works can't be separated--we can't go around claiming good works without faith, nor can we go around claiming to have faith without demonstrating them by our actions. Given the song's blatant Biblical inspirations, it shouldn't be at all controversial. Yet, the song's message stands out in an age where it seems like Christians are always trying to downplay the importance of one or the other. Other notable cuts include the aggressive "Message" and the somber "Say Goodbye." 

 

Evolution Over Time

Sanctus Real would arguably never put out an album quite as rocking as this one. 2006's The Face of Love was still a rocking affair, with darker and more mature themes. But if you look closely, you can see a few of the Contemporary Christian influences beginning. And each subsequent album would find less and less influence of the band's rock roots. And while the rock fan in me laments this, I also see that adapting also gave the band more life and longevity. They likely couldn't still be around today if not for the successes of Christian radio songs like "Whatever You're Doing," "Forgiven," and "Lead Me." And even after their lead singer change, songs like "Confidence" kept the momentum going. While I will forever hope they properly revisit their rock roots, I will continue to celebrate their immense contributions to the Christian music body. Including their release from this year, All Along

 

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. His new novel, 'When Miracles Can Dream,' is out NOW!

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