The 10 best P.O.D. songs, as chosen by Hotel Books' Cam Smith
Spoken-word emo poet Cam Smith picks the finest moments from nu metal stars P.O.D.
On September 11, 2001, P.O.D. released the multi-platinum record Satellite, and the songs came together in a magical way. Almost two decades later, the band is still out in the world, hitting the stage, sharing the magic.
When I began writing music, P.O.D. was my favourite band, along with Pax217 and Skillet. My goal in life was to tour with P.O.D. some day, and potentially even do a song with them. These dreams have yet to come true, but it does not change the fact that the San Diego nu-metal group changed my life forever.
For anyone who missed out on the P.O.D. craze, here is, in my opinion, a good place to start. These are not necessarily my favourite songs by P.O.D., these are simply the songs that I think work the best for an audience who is not familiar with this incredible band.
10) This Goes Out To You (The Awakening, 2015)
From 2015 release The Awakening, this lead single was an anthem for the Warrior Klan, the fans who have stuck with P.O.D. from the early days. This song is basically a love letter to their fans. Though it’s not very big, and most P.O.D. fanatics moved on to other music, this song is a great representation of P.O.D.’s dedication to the sound that built them, the sound that made the youth fall in love with them. There is something beautiful about hearing such an influential band recreate a moment.
9) Set Your Eyes To Zion (The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown, 1999)
1999’s The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown was a turning point for the band. This was their first wide-release album on a major label, and a huge boost in the band’s global visibility. Set Your Eyes To Zion is one of the many moments in P.O.D.’s discography where the reggae influence of their sound takes a front seat. Though the band is most known for metal-tinged rap tracks, they also use reggae as an influence, in true San Diego fashion. In the same year as Ricky Martin’s Living La Vida Loca, Latin-tinged music was making waves on the radio, and this song added to the conversation in the CCM [contemporary Christian music] world, as well as the fringe genre as a whole.
8) Selah (Brown, 1996)
P.O.D.’s first two albums, Snuff The Punk and Brown, have mostly been forgotten, but the lead single from the latter is still an epic loud rock jam. This track shows some of the smooth guitar work that made P.O.D. different from the herd of nu-metal coming out at this time. Selah introduced P.O.D.’s softer side, while then immediately showing some of the most aggressive lyrics and riffs P.O.D. has ever written. This song is an unknown gem that creates the perfect atmosphere for any extreme sport.
7) Alive (Satellite, 2001)
The iconic song that landed P.O.D. their only track on a Kidz Bop album (yes, that is a true fact). In a time when the rap-rock-pop stylings of Aaron Carter and Smash Mouth were controlling the airwaves, P.O.D. brought a heavier tone to the equation. When the only way to get a rap-rock song any airplay was to exploit the possibility of it being played at a sports event (i.e. All Star, How I Beat Shaq, Who Let the Dogs Out), P.O.D. wrote an anthem about rebirth, being set free, and finding new life in the world. They brought a deep and honest perspective to the radio that was hard to find.
6) Goodbye For Now (Testify, 2006)
This song, from 2006’s Testify, is most notable for featuring a small vocal performance from Katy Perry, but the song is so much more than that. Though it hurt slightly to exclude the Testify single Roots In Stereo from this list, Goodbye For Now is a great representation of this era of P.O.D.’s career. Anything with Matisyahu is gold, but Katy proved to be an equally interesting feature for this album. This was an interesting time in P.O.D.’s career. Satellite was a massive Atlantic Records release, Payable On Death was the first record with new guitarist Jason Truby (ex-Living Sacrifice), and then what felt like Atlantic’s final swing with P.O.D. seemed to be P.O.D.’s first blatant attempt to crush CCM radio. Goodbye For Now was a large part of Christian radio, during a time when satellite radio was brand new, iPods were taking over the listener’s experience, and Christian music was a small blip in the music world.
5) Southtown (The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown, 1999)
P.O.D. drummer Wuv wore a Zao shirt in this music video, which is the reason I bought a Zao album for the first time. That fact alone is enough to have the fondest memories with this song, but the love does not end there. In a lot of ways, this was P.O.D.’s first single in the career that showed strong elements of what would become the signature P.O.D. sound. This song was almost a preview of what 2001’s Satellite album would show the world. The guitars are heavy, the vocals are heavy, the lyrics are heavy, the drums are heavy. This is a P.O.D. song that brought honest rap lyrics to Headbanger’s Ball.
4) Boom (Satellite, 2001)
I couldn’t make a list of P.O.D. songs without including this epic song. This song was the soundtrack to every car dealership who was having a blowout sale, and pretty much every wrestling event of 2002. The chorus is so aggressive, so catchy, and so deserving of your time. I wonder if P.O.D. knew that they had written such a hard-hitting single? 'Is that all you got? / I’ll take your best shot.' Nobody else could get such intense and aggressive lines on Christian radio. This song broke walls, maybe only in small parts of the world, but it broke walls nonetheless.
3) Sleeping Awake (Payable On Death, 2003)
Nothing feels more like the early 2000s than a P.O.D. track written for a crappy Matrix sequel. In the music video, singer Sonny Sandoval was seated in front of three blocks, each with a letter spelling the name ‘Neo’. Using telepathic magic, he rearranges them to say ‘One’. C’mon, that’s so 2003. When I listen to this song, it makes me want to feed a Tamagotchi and wait in line to buy a PlayStation 2.
2) Will You (Payable On Death, 2003)
2003’s Payable On Death was an incredible album, maybe my favourite P.O.D. album of all time. This album was raw, there were more sad songs, the guitar tones sounded less produced, and the lyrics were focused less on being a big “boom” and more on struggle. This album was real. The addition of Jason Truby led to a shedding of the rap gimmicks and cheap electronic tones, and made way for a hard rock album that begged to be felt. Will You was the lead single, and the first P.O.D. that made me feel overwhelmed with thoughts of hope. This song was sad, but in an inspiring way.
1) Youth Of The Nation (Satellite, 2001)
Very few artists can write an anthem as popular and impactful as this one. This song was most likely aimed at their home country, the United States, and it was featured on an album that was released the same day that the World Trade Center was attacked. This song was played on television networks as an anthem to unite the nation. It has historic significance, the verses are well-delivered, and the chorus is simple and pure. This song was and remains a defining moment for P.O.D., and I hope its impact lives on forever.
Hotel Books' new album, Equivalency, will be released on 9th Feb 2018 via Hassle Records. Check out the single Celebration below: