On My Playlist: Top 5 Skillet songs

Skillet. Photo: Twitter
Skillet. Photo: Twitter

Skillet is one of the pioneers of the Christian hard rock scene and still going strong after more than two decades in the industry.
Their musical style has changed over time but the core signature sound that includes distorted guitars, pounding drums and John Cooper’s signature raspy vocals continue to be the framework. Skillet’s music focuses on positivity and realness with topics ranging from depression, faith and daily struggles. One of the special elements of this band is the inclusion of female vocals from John’s wife, Korey and the drummer, Jen Ledger, which gives the band its signature sound.
Skillet currently consists of John Cooper (vocals, bass), Korey Cooper (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Jen Ledger (drums and backing vocals) and Seth Morrison (lead guitar).
Honourable mentions: ‘Better Than Drugs’, ‘Monster’, ‘Awake and Alive’, ‘Those Nights’, ‘Comatose’ and ‘Whispers in the Dark’.
5. Not Gonna Die
The anthem-feel of the violin intro starts this song off and, from the outset, you know that something special is going to happen. Distorted guitars follow with John Cooper and Jen Ledger giving a brilliant dual vocal performance.
The main premise of the song is about not giving in to the darkness in difficult times and what the world wants to do to you, but rather to find comfort in Jesus and His protection. ‘No, we are not gonna die tonight, we are going to stand and fight forever,’ they sing in the chorus to prove this point. ‘They can’t keep their chains on me when the truth has set me free. This is how it feels when you fight back,’ he sings passionately in the short, sharp verses. The layers of elements in the chorus and verses give the song extra punch and you can truly feel the passion. The guitar solo in the bridge is the cherry on the cake.

4. Hero
In a dark world, we all need one true hero to pull us through and Skillet’s ‘Hero’ paints this picture where they cry out for a Hero to help people through hard times. The song opens with a lead guitar intro that forms the foundation of the track as John Cooper sings about personal struggles and falling in the world with all its problems. The chorus is the absolute cry for a hero to save us just in time. The second verse then illustrates the need to fight although, as humans, we can’t do every-thing on our own. A really inspiring song that touches anyone who is willing to listen: ‘A hero is not afraid to give his life, a hero’s gonna save me just in time,’ are my favourite lyrics from this song.

3. Collide
Internal struggles between fear and faith are one of the main topics in this classic Skillet song from the 2003 album with the same name. The song has a lot of keyboard influences with an electronic sound clearly present. This, in a sense, creates a unique platform for the crunching guitars to do the business. The keyboard work in this song is also extremely refreshing, especially in the bridge when the stringed instruments come into play.
‘There is something deep inside that keeps my faith alive, when all you can do is hide from the fear that’s deep inside of you. I need something to hold me close when I don’t know,’ sings John Cooper at the top of his lungs. The song is laced with powerful lyrics like ‘We can make it step out and take it, we can’t live feeling so numb,’ and its raw openness about personal struggles is what makes this band so relatable to the masses.

2. The Resistance
This is my favourite song from Skillet’s latest album Unleashed, which focuses on resisting what the world has to offer and rising up and fighting the darkness with love as our weapon. ‘Through the fire, on the water, used to be a slave but now you are a conqueror. They can take my heart, they can take my breath when they pry it from my cold dead hands,’ are some of the most inspiring lyrics the band has ever written. The bridge, where Cooper sings ‘rising up, up, up’ and Ledger sings ‘Love is the answer’ is also one of the best parts of this vocal duet. The song also has a brilliant shredding end where guitars and drums take centre stage in a headbanging outro that ends the song in audible fireworks of sorts.

1. Rebirthing
To date, one of my favourite Skillet albums is the 2006’s Comatose, which featured some of the band’s most iconic material. ‘Rebirthing’ is my favourite, number one pick because of the signature violin and keyboard parts, the dual vocals of Korey and John Cooper and the strong message about finding new life and living life to the fullest for Jesus and being born again. ‘Feel Your presence filling up my lungs with oxygen. I take You in. I’ve died. Rebirthing now. I wanna live my life. Wanna give You everything.’

Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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