Over the last year-and-a-half, I’ve counted down some of my favorite things. It began with countdowns for my favorite Hillsong United and Casting Crowns songs. Then I branched away from music, listing my favorite pumpkin foods and books I’ve never read. But another musical countdown involving Brandon Heath is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.
I’m pretty sure Brandon Heath and I are kindred spirits. His third album, Leaving Eden, all but confirmed this reality. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, my #1 favorite song of his is really no secret.
BUT SHH DON’T RUIN THE SURPRISE FOR EVERYONE ELSE.
Did I mention I’ve met Brandon Heath? Even snagged a picture with him? Had this critical life-event happened after his life-changing Leaven Eden album, I’m pretty sure this photograph would have featured me passed out at his feet.
But now that I’ve established my inherently pathetic nature, let’s get on with this non-cliche top-11 countdown! What follows are my top-11 Brandon Heath songs from his first four albums: Don’t Get Comfortable, What If We, Leaving Eden, and Blue Mountain.
#11 – “No Not One” (What If We)
Brandon Heath co-wrote this song with another popular Christian musical artist, Christy Nockels. She also sings a version of this song, though naturally I prefer Brandon Heath’s. SORRY, CHRISTY; I do love her too.
Favorite lyric: No simple word can match Your name, no greater fame; no not one.
#10 – “London” (What If We)
THIS JUST IN: Christian artists doesn’t have to sing about God all the time. It’s refreshing to hear an earnest Brandon Heath longing for his love in the States — while wandering about London, no less. His lyrics about the River Thames, Big Ben, Parliament, and Waterloo take me right back to my own adventures in London five years ago. Sadly, no girl for me to report wooing over though.
Favorite lyric: Where are you tonight while I stand here and cry, watching double-decker buses pass me by?
#9 – “Red Sky” (Don’t Get Comfortable)
Every time I listen to this song, I clearly see that red sky. Whether I’m outside, near a window, or not.
Favorite lyric: Sing over me an angelic symphony; tell me everything will be all right with a red sky tonight.
#8 – “Jesus in Disguise” (Blue Mountain)
One of my favorites simply for the concept. Sometimes Jesus isn’t a sermon. Sometimes Jesus isn’t a to-do list. Sometimes Jesus is that unspoken, intangible, yet undeniably genuine feeling that you are loved.
Favorite lyric: Ever feel like you’ve been somewhere before? You hold the key; you know which door.
#7 – “The Light in Me” (Leaving Eden)
Can I just say that Brandon Heath produces some of the best music videos across all genres? If I ever do a top music video countdown, this one hits the upper tier easily. I mean, sky lanterns?? Amazing. Oh, and the song is awesome too.
Favorite lyric: ‘Cause in Your perfection, I’m just a reflection. So pull me closer to You. I’ll catch like a fire, and I’ll hold You higher.
#6- “Wait and See” (What If We)
SECRET CONFESSION: I’ve cried to this song while driving and striving to uncoil my purpose on this planet. It’s just one of those songs.
Favorite lyric: Still wondering why I’m here, still wrestling with my fear, but oh, He’s up to something. And the farther on I go, I’ve seen enough to know that I’m not here for nothing. He’s up to something.
#5 – “Love Never Fails” (What If We)
Every time I hear those opening guitar strums, my heart leaps back to last summer at camp in North Carolina. At our staff’s closing dinner, we watched a moving slideshow as this song played in the background. I struggled (and failed) to hold back tears amid the presence of 75 other guys in the room.
Favorite lyric: Love is the river that flows through; Love is the arms that are holding you; and Love is the place you will fly to.
#4 – “Your Love” (Leaving Eden)
God’s love: a redundant theme in Christian music today, and yet Brandon Heath infuses new life into such an incomprehensible subject. Because when God’s love collides with searching, unquenchable thirst, everything changes.
Favorite lyric: I felt it first when I was younger — a strange connection to the light. I tried to satisfy the hunger; I never got it right.
#3 – “I’m Not Who I Was” (Don’t Get Comfortable)
Years later, I still vividly recall hearing this song for the first time. I was driving down a winding Georgia road, and this folksy tune immediately grabbed my attention. This song was Brandon Heath’s first big hit, and it remains among his greatest musical accomplishments. Especially relevant as I consider my own growth of the last five years. Praise God; I’m not who I was.
Favorite lyric: But the thing I find most amazing in “amazing grace” is the chance to give it out; maybe that’s what love is all about?
#2 – “In the Dust” (Blue Mountain)
I’ve mentioned a few of my geographic connections to these songs. But this one takes the cake. This song first entered my life a few mere months ago, amid my first couple weeks in the scariest situation of my life: starting over in southern California with hardly any money, no job, no nothing to my name. I was living in the mountainous boondocks, dust literally surrounding me. A chilling parallel that to dust this body will return. As my soul strives for something far greater.
Favorite lyric: I will leave this vessel broken down on the shore. Any shadows down below won’t haunt me anymore. Any shackles on my hands will turn to rust. Take my place in the light; leave my bones in the dust.
#1 – “Leaving Eden” (Leaving Eden)
Drums. Echoes. A longing for Eden. I heard this song for the first time and had to retreat to another room. Closed the door. Listened to it again. And again. And again. This was it; this was basically my entire life’s theme song. Leaving Eden. I’ve blogged about it over and over and over, and it’s a concept I cannot escape. I once lived in a geographic place called Eden; now Eden is gone. Gone. But Eden will return. Will be far more glorious than neighborhood bike rides and family cookouts ever were. And gosh I can’t wait.
Favorite lyric: Seems like I’m further and further away with every step I take, and I can’t go back. ‘Cause I’m leaving Eden.
What do you think of my top Brandon Heath songs? Did I leave one out? What’s your favorite Brandon Heath song?