The Reckoning (Needtobreathe album)

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The Reckoning
Studio album by Needtobreathe
Released September 20, 2011


Genre Alternative rock, Christian rock, Southern rock
Length 55:30
Label Atlantic
Producer Needtobreathe, Rick Beato, Greg Wells[3]
Needtobreathe chronology
The Outsiders
(2009)The Outsiders2009
The Reckoning
Rivers in the Wasteland
(2014)Rivers in the Wasteland2014
Singles from The Reckoning
  1. "Slumber"
    Released: June 21, 2011[4]
  2. "Drive All Night"
    Released: July 26, 2011[4]
  3. "The Reckoning"
    Released: September 20, 2011
  4. "A Place Only You Can Go"
    Released: September 27, 2011
  5. "Able"
    Released: January 31, 2012
  6. "Keep Your Eyes Open"
    Released: February 14, 2012
  7. "White Fences"
    Released: February 20, 2012

The Reckoning is the fourth studio album from American rock band Needtobreathe, released on September 20, 2011, through Atlantic Records. It is the last album featuring drummer Joe Stillwell. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Album chart, No. 1 on the Billboard Rock Albums chart, No. 4 on the Billboard Digital Albums chart and No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 49,000 copies in its first week.[5][6] The song "Oohs and Ahhs" was used in a promotional advertisement for J. J. Abrams's drama television series Alcatraz.[citation needed]


The album released on September 20, 2011, through Atlantic Records, and it was produced by Needtobreathe, Rick Beato, Greg Wells. This was the fourth studio album by the band. The studios used while recording the album were Plantation Studios in Charleston, South Carolina, Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Tennessee and Rocket Carousel Studios in Los Angeles, California.[2]

Music and lyrics[edit]

At Allmusic, Andrew Leahey stated that the album was mixture of "sacred/secular" that is done with great precision, which takes the "best from both camps."[1] Cross Rhythms' John Willoughby agrees with that noting the band "successfully managed the balancing act of having a foot in both the mainstream and Christian rock worlds."[7] Matt Conner of CCM Magazine wrote that this was an album that "the sweet Southern Rock...captures the attention of all who hear it."[8] At Christian Music Zine, Adrian Garza affirmed that listeners "enjoy music that sounds completely original, and unlike most of what they’ve ever heard", which the band do on the release.[9] Jeremy V. Jones of Christianity Today said that the band has come "out guitars blazing on its fourth album, a muscular collection ready to shake arenas but paint their corners with warm southern and Americana gentility".[10] Willoughby also believed strongly that this is the reason for the band's "huge appeal comes from the fact that they also straddle musical styles and can switch from tender alt-folk to swaggering pop rock."[7]

Jen Rose of Jesus Freak Hideout noted that the album "doesn't retread past material or stick to a formula", however, she stated that "something feels a little off on the first listen or two. Perhaps it's the darker, subdued feel overall that is unsettling at first, or maybe it's the lack of standout upbeat songs".[11] In addition, Jesus Freak Hideout's Jerold Wallace agreed that this album was just not "retreading" the same stuff all over again, but does have "Like the past albums, each piece borrows heavily from southern influences with a firm rock foundation."[12] Also, Wallace noted how "Bear consistently impresses, be it with emotional highs that evolve into growls or a falsetto that we have not heard much of before."[12] This was why Louder Than the Music's Jono Davies noted this album was "creative indie rock at its best."[13] At Rock News and Reviews, Alexandre Romero said the album was "a balanced mix between genres already experienced during their career performed better than ever, plus some innovation touches."[14]

Leahey noted that the album sound like "14 tracks are full of Bible allusions and parable-like lyrics."[1] The Christian Manifesto's Lydia Akinola subscribed to the belief that this album "reads like a series of intimate thoughts put to poetry. More than the music, powerful lines hold the album together."[15] In the thematic area, Akinola said that the album has "running theme[s] of redemption and grace that permeates" every part of the music.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]
CCM Magazine4/5 stars[8]
The Christian Manifesto4.5/5 stars[15]
Christian Music Zine4/5 stars[9]
Christianity Today4/5 stars[10]
Cross Rhythms9/10 squares[7]
Jesus Freak Hideout4/5 stars[11]
4.5/5 stars[12]
Louder Than the Music5/5 stars[13]
Melodic4/5 stars[16]
New Release Tuesday5/5 stars[17]5/5 stars[18]
Rock News and Reviews4.5/5 stars[14]

The Reckoning garnered critical acclaim from music critics. Leahey of Allmusic rated the album four stars, and noted that the album is full of "big music" that the band "have the balls and brawn to pull it off well."[1] At CCM Magazine, Conner rated the album four stars, and stated that the album "offers proof positive that this South Carolina train isn't slowing anytime soon."[8] The Christian Manifesto's Akinola rated the album four-and-a-half stars, and highlighted that the band have "pulled out all the stops – with magnificent results. It is hard not to be impressed, even when really; you weren’t expecting not to be."[15] Garza of Christian Music Zine rated the album four stars, and brought up the "it" factor, which he said no one exactly knows what that is, "but what I do know is that this record has loads of good songs, and is one of the closest to “it” that I’ve heard in a while."[9]

At Christianity Today, Jeremy V. Jones rated the album four stars, and said the band has "got swagger" but are humble at the same time. Cross Rhythms' John Willoughby rated the album nine squares out of ten, and called the album "A fine set."[7] At Jesus Freak Hideout, Jen Rose rated the album four stars, and stated that the release was "a strong album" full of "intriguing, solid addition[s] to the catalog, even if it doesn't quite have the immediate spark of some of their past work...but for now, it is one worth the time to fully discover, whether as a newcomer or long-time listener."[11] Jesus Freak Hideout's Wallace rated the album four-and-a-half stars, and advised "it may take some listeners a few spins before it settles in, but once it does it's arguably Needtobreathe's finest work to date", which adds "14 more solid entries into their catalog."[12] At Louder Than The Music, Jono Davies rated the album a perfect five stars, and touted the music as "a creative set of songs, showing the world that indie rock can be at times dark, rocky and truthfully honest, but put that with great harmonies, interesting chord structures and savvy musicianship and you get a stunning set of songs for a very sturdy album."[13]

Melodic's Johan Wippsson rated the album four stars, and reasoned that the album was "almost in the same class [as The Outsiders] and to me also surprisingly well. Did not think the band would be able to follow up on "The Outsiders", but this is a very well-written album with a great deal of heart and soul."[16] At New Release Tuesday, Kevin Davis rated the album a perfect five stars, and lauded the band for crafting a "ridiculously fantastic album on all levels. You can be sure this is a 5 star masterpiece that will propel NEEDTOBREATHE to major headliner status just like GRAMMY Award winning bands Train, Kings of Leon and Muse."[17] Kevin McNeese also of New Release Tuesday's rated it the same, and noted the album had a tremendous amount of "passion in these songs is something very much akin to what has been driving [him] to Switchfoot as of late", and he got "absolutely engrossed by this album, and the more [he] unearthed, the more [he] discovered."[18] Rock News and Reviews's Alexandre Romero rated the album four-and-a-half stars, and said of the album that it satisfied the "requests of older fans and returns triumphantly to their roots, but without getting away from the softer sound that pushed them to mainstream in recent years.", and the album was absolutely "An important step to the group towards [getting] critical and commercial acclaim"[14]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

All tracks written by Bear and Bo Rinehart.

The Reckoning
1."Oohs and Ahhs"4:37
2."White Fences"3:45
3."Drive All Night"4:13
4."A Place Only You Can Go"3:12
6."The Reckoning"3:44
8."Maybe They're On to Us"3:10
9."Wanted Man"4:06
10."Keep Your Eyes Open"4:10
11."Tyrant Kings"4:09
12."Devil's Been Talkin'"3:35
13."Angel at My Door"4:32
14."Learn to Love"4:21
Vinyl edition - Side one
1."Oohs and Ahhs"4:37
2."White Fences"3:45
3."Drive All Night"4:13
4."A Place Only You Can Go"3:12
Vinyl edition - Side two
5."Cops" (Vinyl Exclusive Bonus Track)2:43
7."The Reckoning"3:44
Vinyl edition - Side three
1."Maybe They're On to Us"3:10
2."Wanted Man"4:06
3."Keep Your Eyes Open"4:10
4."Tyrant Kings"4:09
Vinyl edition - Side four
5."Disaster Road" (Vinyl Exclusive Bonus Track)3:53
6."Devil's Been Talkin'"3:35
7."Angel at My Door"4:32
8."Learn to Love"4:21


  • "Cops" and "Disaster Road" included on limited edition vinyl record.[19][20]
  • Currently, the vinyl records are only for sale at the band's concerts.[19]
  • The vinyl records are white.[19]
  • The parenthesis are what the band called each one of the sides.

Keep Your Eyes Open EP[edit]

All tracks written by Bear and Bo Rinehart.

Keep Your Eyes Open (Songs from the Reckoning Sessions)
1."Keep Your Eyes Open"4:10
2."Keep Your Eyes Open (Acoustic Version)"4:05
3."Cops" (B-Side)2:43
4."Disaster Road" (B-Side)4:31
5."Solomon's Ashes" (B-Side)3:21


  • Rick Beato – engineer, producer
  • Tchad Blake – mixing
  • Seth Bolt – engineer, mixing
  • Anthony Delia – A&R
  • Joshua Drake – photography
  • Leland Elliott – engineer
  • Mark Endert – mixing
  • Pete Ganbarg – A&R
  • Randall Harris – engineer
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • Ken Lanyon – engineer
  • Eric Legg – engineer
  • Ian MacGregor – engineer
  • Needtobreathe – producer
  • Aryanna Platt – A&R
  • Bear Rinehart – Group Member
  • Bo Rinehart – art direction, design, mixing
  • Ryan Stukenbroeker – engineer
  • Greg Wells – producer



Chart (2011) Peak
US Billboard 200[21] 6
US Digital Albums (Billboard)[22] 4
US Christian Albums (Billboard)[23] 1
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[24] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Positions
US Billboard Top Rock Albums 70[25]
US Billboard Top Christian Albums 19[26]
Chart (2012) Positions
US Billboard Top Christian Albums 21[27]


Year Single Peak chart positions
US Christian
US Heat
Triple A
2011 "Slumber" 26[28]
"The Reckoning" 24[29]
"Drive All Night" 15[30]
2012 "Able" 46[31]


The band completed The Reckoning Tour, which included the following stops.[32][33]


  1. ^ a b c d e Leahey, Andrew (September 20, 2011). "The Reckoning - Needtobreathe". Allmusic. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Album liner notes
  3. ^ "The Reckoning credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  4. ^ a b iTunes date
  5. ^ Caulfield, Keith (September 28, 2011). "Tony Bennett, 85, Achieves First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200". Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  6. ^ "Needtobreathe - Chart history - Billboard". Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d Willoughby, John (January 6, 2012). "Review: The Reckoning – Needtobreathe". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Conner, Matt (November 1, 2011). "Needtobreathe: The Reckoning (Atlantic)". CCM Magazine. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Garza, Adrian (September 22, 2011). "Needtobreathe - The Reckoning (Review)". Christian Music Zine. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Jones, Jeremy V. (September 20, 2011). "Needtobreathe: The Reckoning". Christianity Today. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c Rose, Jen (September 19, 2011). "NEEDTOBREATHE, "The Reckoning" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d Wallace, Jerold (September 21, 2011). "NEEDTOBREATHE, "The Reckoning" Review: Second Staff Opinion". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c Davies, Jono (September 30, 2011). "Reviews – Needtobreathe – The Reckoning". Louder Than the Music. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Romero, Alexandre (October 25, 2011). "Album Review: Needtobreathe – The Reckoning". Rock News and Reviews. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  15. ^ a b c d Akinola, Lydia (September 26, 2011). "The Reckoning". The Christian Manifesto. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Wippsson, Johan (September 20, 2011). "Needtobreathe - The Reckoning". Melodic. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  17. ^ a b Davis, Kevin (September 19, 2011). "NEEDTOBREATHE [The Reckoning]". New Release Tuesday. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  18. ^ a b McNeese, Kevin (December 26, 2011). "#7 Album Of 2011". New Release Tuesday. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  19. ^ a b c NEEDTOBREATHE (2012-02-15). "The Reckoning on Vinyl & Bonnaroo 2012". NEEDTOBREATHE BLOG. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  20. ^ "The Reckoning by Needtobreathe". Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  21. ^ "Needtobreathe Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Needtobreathe Chart History (Digital Albums)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "Needtobreathe Chart History (Christian Albums)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Needtobreathe Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard.
  25. ^ Nielsen SoundScan (2011-12-31). "Best of 2011: Rock Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  26. ^ Nielsen SoundScan (2011-12-31). "Best of 2011: Christian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  27. ^
  28. ^ Billboard, Needtobreathe, Billboard, retrieved 2012-01-03
  29. ^ Billboard, Needtobreathe, Billboard, retrieved 2012-01-03
  30. ^ Mediabase 24/7, Triple A, Mediabase 24/7, retrieved 2012-01-05
  31. ^ Billboard (2012-02-25). "Able - Needtobreathe". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  32. ^ NEEDTOBREATHE. "The Reckoning Tour". NEEDTOBREATHE. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
  33. ^ NEEDTOBREATHE. "The Reckoning Tour". NEEDTOBREATHE Facebook. Retrieved 2012-01-03.

External links[edit]