Needtobreathe – The Outsiders

Needtobreathe- The Outsiders

Quality: 4

Clean: 5

Genre: bluesy-southern-alt-country, rock, christian

I recently started listening to the local Christian radio station. Most of the music on this and other Christian music stations is pleasant, predictable and worshippy, although there are some standouts. I discovered Needtobreathe on this radio station. Their single, Lay ‘Em Down, from their third album, The Outsiders, sounded more like O Brother Where Art Thou than Christian radio material. There is foot stomping, guitar, and even the vocals sound more like wailing than singing (in a good way). The lyrics, like an old southern gospel tune, urge the listener to lay all troubles at the river. I enjoy this style of music so I bought the whole CD. The rest of the disc isn’t as blue-grassy but it retains its crunchy, independent, southern feel.

The Outsiders is a good album for several reasons. First, unlike many albums produced these days, the album sticks together as a cohesive whole. Even though Lay ‘Em Down was released as a single, it isn’t the only good song. Actually it doesn’t stand out when played in context of the entire album because it all is high quality stuff. The themes of the lyrics and music fit together with the rest of the songs.

Second, the entire disc displays strong guitar, piano, hand-clapping, percussion and vocals. There are some slow songs and some faster. There is variety but also unity with the music styles.

Third, the lyrics express a deep faith and desire to please the Lord while coming to terms with inadequacy in sin and redemption in Christ. While humbling and introspective, the lyrics aren’t flashy or in-your-face. At the same time they aren’t too understated either. They call out against apathy, for trying to please the Lord, against trying too hard and missing it all, for laying burdens down and against pain. The songs are universal enough that anyone can empathize with the themes. While each song doesn’t croon “Jesus” every chance it gets, neither are the lyrics so understatedly “Christian” that the listener can’t tell a difference.

The Outsiders, is a disc that a variety of people could enjoy. It is clean and appropriate for young, old, Christian and non-Christian. While I wouldn’t put a Sandi Patty CD on if I had a party of mixed faith people coming over for dinner, I would feel very comfortable putting on The Outsiders.

  1. The Outsiders
  2. Valley of Tomorrow
  3. Through Smoke
  4. Lay ‘Em Down
  5. What You’ve Done to Me
  6. Hurricane,
  7. These Hard Times
  8. Stones Under Rushing Water
  9. Prisoner
  10. Won’t Turn Back
  11. Girl Named Tennessee
  12. Something Beautiful
  13. Garden
  14. Let Us Love

You can listen to all their songs in full on their website:, (listen to The Outsiders)


One Response

  1. Hmm… sounds like I need to buy another cd 🙂 I’ve heard their stuff on the radio and liked it. Glad to know the rest of the album is worth something too.

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