Reviewed by Michael Ehret
Greatest Hits by
"P.O.D. is not an alternative -- they are a player in the genre ... Greatest Hits is an encapsulation of P.O.D."
At 47, I am too old to review P.O.D.’s Greatest Hits album – or so my 20-year-old daughter told me.
“Dad, you called them Pod.”
“Well, it’s spelled P-O-D – what would you call them?”
“Um, P.O.D., Dad. You say each letter. It’s, you know, like an acronym.”
OK, so it’s not “like” an acronym, it is one (I’m the writer, I know these things). But I can be forgiven for not knowing it’s P.O.D. instead of Pod – it’s not like these guys ever are played on my local “family-friendly” Christian radio station. Audio Adrenaline is about the toughest group played there – and then mostly the praise and worship songs.
So, why did I request to review P.O.D.’s Greatest Hits? Because I have always had a curiosity about music and I’d never listened to anything that qualifies as driving metal, hip-hop, tribal, and reggae influenced spiritual rock. I’m convinced there’s not a lot of groups operating in that genre.
And, you know what? My daughter’s right – this is not my kind of music. But even though I may not choose to listen to Greatest Hits often, I can still say that this is good, no great, music – and we haven’t even touched on the lyrics yet.
This collection represents P.O.D.’s Atlantic Records years (1999 to 2006), which means it contains tracks from their four major label releases: The Fundamental Elements of Southtown (1999); Satellite (2001); Payable on Death (2003); and Testify (2006). For collectors there are also two unreleased tracks, “Going in Blind,” recorded for this collection, and “Here We Go,” an outtake from Testify.
Most heavy metal bands (and we’re not talking about the “big hair” bands of the ‘80’s here) drown themselves in misery and angst. P.O.D. is different. Scope these lyrics from “Alive,” a cut from Satellite:
Every day is a new day // I’m thankful for every breath I take // I won’t take it for granted // So I learn from my mistakes // It’s beyond my control, sometimes it’s best to let go // Whatever happens in this lifetime // So I trust in love // You have given me peace of mind // I feel so alive for the very first time
P.O.D. is a band that offers an optimistic alternative in the musical style many young people prefer to listen to. But, hold on, correct that. P.O.D. is not an alternative – they are a player in the genre. And one to watch.
This collection of songs, coming as it does on the heels of Testify, could be an encapsulation of P.O.D. and where the group has been before their next disc takes them in a new direction. Or, maybe not. Consider this: The band recently announced that original guitarist Marcos Curiel was returning to the band.
So, perhaps Greatest Hits is merely a time to catch their breath before tearing into the new year and a new album. So “Warriors,” (the band’s loyal fans), stay tuned.
Michael Ehret is a music maven who has written about music, secular and Christian, as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star newspaper, several Internet sites, and even CCM magazine. He is also the editor of the newsletter Afictionado, the e-zine of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is testing the waters with his first novel, Beyond December, while working on his second, Skipping July.