Literally and figuratively. For the longest time, I have loved boy bands. Not just any boy bands but Christian boy bands. Think Plus One and Jars of Clay of the 90s to today’s Anthem Lights and Royal Tailor. It then goes without saying that my most played songs are boy band tracks alongside hip hop ones. I work with earphones on the whole time. It’s a reflex; so much so that sometimes, I plug them on and forget to play the music for hours. Yeah, I am crazy, I know.

I will list down my ten best boy band songs of 2014. Some of these are not boy bands as they are old now but hey, let me be. Here goes, in chronological order of playing on repeat mode:

  1. That’s What I’m Looking For: Anthem Lights

The picture on these dudes’ album cover is to die for. Let me not go there because I will stare at each of them individually again. I really did not pay attention to Anthem Lights even after their song Can’t Shut Up featured in WOW Hits 2012. I didn’t feel it. Then the dudes played the K-Love Awards Song of the Year Mashup. I was completely blown away. A little later on, my boy Ranji gave me their 2014 album, You Have My Heart.

That’s What I’m Looking For gratified me specifically because I happen to be in a very lovey-dovey phase currently. (Yes, it is happening. Finally. To Shiku. Believe it. I am yet to believe it myself.) I was walking to work as usual when shuffle brought it up.

I love that it is playful, sincere and sweet. The comical remarks all over the track make it all the more human. This song is just perfect. If I were a man, I’d totally dedicate it to a girl I have my eyes on. I just sighed. Story for another day.

Hey girl I gotta be honest
Truth is all I really want is
Someone who knows who they are
Beauty found inside her heart
I want her to be modest
That kind of girl is hottest
A lady living for the Lord
Just so ya know
That’s what I’m looking for

  1. Remain: Royal Tailor

First of all, these boys are terribly cute. Or rather the one who I mostly see, the lead singer is. Then on to his voice. The Lord is good people! Remain is all about God’s love that will always remain. It starts slow. It gains momentum and bam, climax! And then the dudes make this whooaa sound. Aaaaah! I have a thing for songs with men making those sounds. Don’t ask me why, I just do. It’s heavenly. It is the song to sing along to when you are feeling blue. Video is pretty cool too. Just the boys and their drums and guitars, behind the lyrics. No one on my YouTube Favourites playlist.

The sky could fall
The ground could shake
The stars burn out
And seasons change
The time will pass
And beauty fade
But all my love will remain
All my love will remain

  1. Fix My Eyes: for KING & COUNTRY

First of all, somebody say drums! And claps! And oh-ohs! My goodness gracious. Jeff Koinange would probably agree too. It is the complete package. These guys are originally from Down Under and they can drum! Just listen to the song and attest to this. Their Australian accents seal the deal. I first heard the song on K-Love and screamed about it to my boy, Barrack. Then it kept playing on 20 The Countdown Magazine and I was officially sold.

The song is extraordinarily deep, the story behind it too. For KING & COUNTRY has this medieval thing going on. I mean, look at the band name. I do love medieval stuff. Think Merlin (and it’s horrible ending). Serious guys. Australia gave us yet another great band after Newsboys. (Newsboys before Michael Tait, that is.) It was my ringtone for a while. I am fixing my eyes on Him alright.

Fix My Eyes is based on Hebrews 12:2. Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (KJV)

I’d love like I’m not scared
Give when it’s not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on you

  1. Nailed to the Cross: Rush of Fools

Sigh. These dudes. I only knew them from Undo. Ranji also gave me this album, Carry Us Now. Although he has misplaced the titles, Ranji always comes through for me with music since campus days. This song is beautiful. It is based on a beautiful story anyway. Simple. Straight to the point. Two short verses, chorus, bridge, done. That will be all.

My debt, it is nailed to the cross
It is all gone; my life has been bought
My debt, it is nailed to the cross
It is all gone; it is all gone

  1. Love Alone Is Worth the Fight: Switchfoot

How a song starts determines how deep I will fall in love with it. I cannot explain this song’s start because it is mildly magical. Plus the oh-oh guys again. I hope my husband sings a song with oh-ohs for me on the day he proposes. 😀 Because love alone is worth the fight. Love makes the world go round or, as someone else rightly put it, love might not make the world go round but it sure makes the ride worthwhile. There is nothing to be afraid of except fear itself. Let go and let God! I will shut up before I spit out another cliché.

The song’s video only came to my attention after Mr JM commented on a post I shared about it. It’s beautiful. Lots of ocean. Fish. Waves. Clouds in time lapse. Open road at the exact time they sing ‘So I’m headed down the open road unknown.’ Sydney Opera House features so I bet it is shot in Australia for a part of it. The rest includes China or some other exotic land in the East because of the rice paddies. Let me just Google. Apparently it’s Bali. I had to Google that too because I have never heard of a Bali in my life. Bali is an Island in Indonesia. Now I know. Now you know. J

And we find what we’re made of
Through the open door
Is it fear you’re afraid of?
What are you waiting for?

Love alone is worth the fight
Love alone is worth the fight

Yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh! Oh!

  1. Gone: Switchfoot

Electric guitars, check. Quirky background quips, check. This song is old! Very old. But thanks to iTunes shuffle, I discovered it later on in life. It’s about how everything in life goes. Goes away forever, not to the market and back. You are not immortal. I am not immortal. We are not infinite. We are not permanent.

Gone, like Frank Sinatra, like Elvis and his mum, like Al Pacino’s cash. That line gets me all the time. Everything will go, unless of course, it is God and His infinite unconditional love as Royal Tailor above aptly put it.

Gone, like Frank Sinatra
Like Elvis and his mom
Like AL Pacino’s cash nothing lasts in this life
My high school dreams are gone
My childhood sweets are gone
Life is a day that doesn’t last for long

I love the lead vocalist. I love everything about this song. Second most played song on my iTunes.

  1. K-LOVE Fan Awards: Songs of the Year – 2014 Mash-Up: Anthem Lights

Technically, this is not a song and it’s not their song. As the title suggests, it is a mash-up of songs; five songs: Hello, My Name Is by Matthew West, This Is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham, Overcomer by Mandisa, The Only Name (Yours Will Be) by Big Daddy Weave and Lord I Need You by Matt Maher. These songs are awesome and I will probably talk about them someday.

What Anthem Lights does is brilliant. They do a lot of mash-ups by the way but obviously this stood out for me because I love the individual songs. They blend the songs so well that, when I embark on singing one of the songs in the mash-up, I forget the original version and find myself singing my way into the mash-up. Taking five epic songs and making them one flawlessly is, to me, the epitome of musical genius. They do it in this derelict building, sitting and standing around a piano in the middle of it. It’s just their voices and instruments. Piano, violin, cello and guitar. God knows I love me some cello in songs! No auto-tune, no computer. If there is one thing I love to bits, it is simplicity. The elegance in simplicity is beautiful. Forget the Kenyan videos shot to ape whatever is in vogue, be it posing beside tacky cars and overly made-up yet hardly dressed skinny lasses or a group of ‘dancing’ lads who you see every ten seconds as the scenes change so often you risk a severe migraine from the eye strain.

  1. Soul Tattoo: Plus One

This song is even older than the former. Plus One disbanded ages ago is trying to make a comeback this year with two of the dudes but of course it will never be the same. Written on My Heart has always been one of my all-time favourites. That song is the bomb! (Do people still say that?)

Back to Soul Tattoo. The guitar start is exotic. His voice is heavenly, the guy who starts. I never did get their names. They all join in in that Westlife-like harmony in the chorus. Heck, they were the Christian version of Westlife back then. Then there is that 90s beat. 90s beats were a special kind of awesome. I dare you to refute that. Did I mention that they were drop-dead gorgeous? Okay, I have to stop with the admiration lines. It has a glorious bridge too. I close my eyes for this one all the time. You know that kind of song that makes you cry for no reason? This is it.

‘Cause You’re the answer
To the questions
The reason to the rhyme
You’re the rhythm to my heart
When it beats out of time
I’m so thankful, Lord
That You are mine
It’s true that You
Are my soul tattoo

  1. You’ll Never Be Alone: Capital Kings

To be frank, this was a favourite of mine in 2013. Ringtone favourite. But I just had to shove it in here, because I can. The beats in this song are out of this world, which is expected since I heard of these guys for the first time with their tobyMac mixes. The bass is amazing and you know I love some bass in the building. Also, it is as feel-good as it gets. And they rhyme. I love rhymes! They are quite fly too, if that floats your boat like it does mine… It’s a tad mushy, as are most boy band songs, but hey, mushy is good for the soul sometimes, especially one that is nursing emotions.

Sometimes life is an ocean
We’re just trying to flow
We get caught in slow motion
From the undertow

Sometimes the path to choose
Is right in front of you
You just gotta let go

  1. ___________

The beauty of life is that new songs are composed every day and old songs I have never heard of will pop up in the span of my radar. For this reason, number 10 will be filled at the end of 2014. Watch this space.

Update 1/1/2015: 10. Let It Out: Switchfoot

I almost forgot to do this. Yes, last song on this list is, once again, Switchfoot’s. The band is that awesome. The song Let It Out is off the same album as Love Alone Is Worth the FightFading West. I discovered it much later in the year, thanks to shuffle. Actually, the entire album is beautiful. So beautiful it is that it inevitably won the rock/contemporary album of the year award during the Dove Awards 2014. (Love Alone Is Worth the Fight took the rock/contemporary song of the year. I have taste like that.)

Let It Out is your feel-good song as you get into the year people. I dare you not to like it. Electric guitars. Oh-ohs. BGVs echoing the lead singer. Complete package. My current ringtone for quite a while now. My baby sister knows the lyrics because of that. 🙂

Keep, keep, keep
Keep pushing this higher
I’ve been living uptight
(Take it easy right now)
Like a moth to the fire
Like I’m losing this fight
(Take it easy right now)

From the day we’re born
We are scarred and torn
We’ve been scared to sing out loud

But we don’t care no more
‘Cause we know life is short
We don’t care who hears us now
Breathe it in and let it out

Let it out
(Breathe it in and) let it out
Let it out

As I wrote about these songs, I had them playing in turn, just to set the mood. Play them if you have never listened to them. What’s your favourite boy band? Or rock band in general? Skillet people, I see you.

Oh, thank you, whoever runs AZLyrics.com. You rock too. I owe you so much of my adult musical life. I am African and sometimes don’t get the American pronunciations in songs.

Written by Shiku Ngigi

Mum and dad’s daughter. Shouting big sister. Learning to listen. Jesus freak. Recovering tomboy. Mouse potato. Bass addict. Waking up the writer in her.

    4 Comments

  1. hannah otieno August 14, 2014 at 8:42 am Reply

    You should add For King and Country – Busted Heart! 🙂

    • Shiku Ngigi August 14, 2014 at 9:21 am Reply

      The Proof of Your Love would have made it to the list before Busted Heart though. 🙂

  2. Mickey August 18, 2014 at 9:07 am Reply

    You keep imtroducing me to new christian jams all the time…bliss

    • Shiku Ngigi August 18, 2014 at 9:32 am Reply

      You’re welcome. 🙂

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