With the recent news of Sanctus Real’s lead man, Matt Hammitt, stepping down from the band, I decided to honor his time with my top ten favourite songs from the Matt Hammitt era. These guys have been a favourite since 2010, and in those five years I’ve been consistently impressed with their music. So here it is, my personal top ten!
10: On Fire
The band’s newest (and Matt’s final) album, The Dream, went a completely different route from their past albums, bringing a dreamy, synth laden pop style to the front (pun intended!). The song is about how life’s struggles can water down the relationship we once had with Christ when we first came to Him. I couldn’t pick a better song to end Matt’s time with the band.
9: The Redeemer
This was a hard one for me, as this was tied with “Lead Me” as one of the best Sanctus songs, but since “Lead Me” is the song everyone who’s heard of the band knows, I decided to pick the lesser known single, “The Redeemer.” Musically, I think this is the best song off of Pieces of a Real Heart. The honest lyrics, coupled with the catchy, yet emotional chorus, and that beautiful instrumental bridge. So good.
8: Captains Chair
We’re going old and heavy with number eight. This song has kinda been forgotten by the newer fans, but as soon as that guitar lick comes in, one can’t help but jump up from their seat, playing with immense skill on the air guitar. Taken from their 2001 debut, Say it Loud, this is one of their greatest rock songs. It puts a smile on my face each time I spin it.
7: One of Those Things
Their 2013 album, Run, was their first full dive into CCM, and boy was it good. Its quality nearly equalled that of their 2004 album, Fight the Tide. It was especially hard to pick a song off of this, but I eventually settled on “One of Those Things.” It’s just a perfect song all the way through, and the build up is especially good. While maybe a tad repetitive, this song simply shined. When it comes on, I always stop what I’m doing and Sing at the top of my lungs.
6: Things Like You
Fight the Tide was a really tricky one for me when making this list as it’s one of my favourite albums of all time, but I finally settled on three I thought were its best. The first being, “Things Like You.” You ask me what’s one of the single catchiest songs ever written, I’d instinctively pick this. It’s just so fun to listen to, and that guitar solo, while short, is so enjoyable. Lyrically it’s about putting worldly possessions above God and others. One of my favourite lyrics is, God is always taking care of nature’s every need, so how much more important in the Father’s eyes are we?
5: I’m Not Alright
This song was quite the surprise when people first heard it. It was so dark for a band who’d written mostly fun and joyful songs before. Despite not sounding anything like their previous songs, it’s commonly hailed by older fans as their greatest, and I can’t fault them. The emotion in Matt’s voice here is staggering, and the lyrics hit you in the face with raw honesty. We’re not alright, which is why we need Christ and each other. That’s a concept I can get behind.
4: Half Our Lives
Yep, that acoustic ballad at the end of We Need Each Other is one of my favourite Sanctus songs. This song doesn’t get mentioned enough. The video above was posted March 2014 and has only 431 views at the time of writing. We need to get this song out there, because it’s a masterpiece. The vocals are top notch, and Katie Herzig’s performance fits so perfectly with the warm, nostalgic atmosphere of the song. It’s about remembering childhood while also emphasizing the importance of growing up. So light a fire, grab a guitar, and sing along. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
3: Change Me
Another Fight the Tide knockout, and in my opinion, the band’s greatest ballad. All at once heartbreaking, powerful, emotional, heavy, and breathtaking all around. This is yet another underappreciated song of the band’s career. Its message is also one that needs more praise. There aren’t many songs that plea to God to Break me, from the way I’ve been lately. This, in my eyes, is the greatest ballad the band has produced.
2: We Need Each Other
Going from the underrated to one of the band’s biggest hits is the way to my number 2, “We Need Each Other.” What can I say that hasn’t been said by hundreds of fans before? A great guitar melody, tight vocals, that awesome chorus that makes you want to hug those around you, the relevant message. If you know the band, you’ve probably already heard it, if you haven’t, grab a friend or family member and make some memories.
And the best song of the Matt Hammitt era Sanctus Real is…..
1: Everything About You
You probably already predicted it would be from Fight the Tide, but I stand firm in the belief that this is the band’s best overall song. It’s the song that captures their entire career, from the rocking chorus, to the worshipful lyrics, to the screamed bridge, to the pop/rock verses. It never gets old, in fact, it only gets better with time. It was the perfect way to open an amazing album and is the best way to introduce to new listeners (along with my list here).
If you know the band, shout out in the comments what your favourite Sanctus songs are. I’d love to hear them.