Breaking Benjamin are breaking back onto the rock scene. The band has survived off-stage turmoil and major lineup turnover to release their current album Angels Fall and return to performing. That's led to a new sound different from their past records. Yet those prior albums also have their own place in the band's legacy. Here are the top ten best Breaking Benjamin songs:
It is a monumental task to cover any Queen song. But Breaking Benjamin accepted the challenge when they appeared on the album Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen. They more than did justice to one of Queen's best singles. Front man Ben Burnley showed his quieter, more vulnerable vocal side on the song, which is something he doesn't get enough credit for. And while preserving what made the original great, this version does sound distinctly like Breaking Benjamin - and like a real hit.
9. "Lights Out"
This is a song to play for someone you don't like. No pretenses, no lyrical cuteness, this is a straight-up single about destroying another human being. There have been many attempts to write vicious hits but Breaking Benjamin honestly makes you feel like they might be coming after you with an axe. Its lyrics are like little verbal daggers. The music is basically there just to support the words, so you have to listen to lines like "I am the venom in your skin" and be very uncomfortable.
Something that Breaking Benjamin does not get enough credit for is their ability to blend their hard rock with truly well-written lyrics. "Break My Fall" is a great song that just happens to also be a rock song. It actually has a very melodic chorus, moreso than any of the band's other tracks. You can hear every single word that's being said, which is something more rock bands should aspire to. It's not just about volume but the quality of the music, and Breaking Benjamin proves that here.
This is a song that sneaks up on you and then punches you in the back of the head. "Dance With The Devil" builds up fairly slowly, the music crawling up on the audience guided by Burnley's ominous vocals. Then it gets to the chorus and unloads its real firepower. The single takes the audience on a sonic ride that splits its time between appreciating its message and then just startling the listener with its powerful chorus and guitar work. You can truly understand the full versatility of the band's abilities in this one song.
6. "Wish I May"
This is the song through which Breaking Benjamin really kicked things into gear. "Wish I May" is sinister, angry and unrestrained. It may not have the lyrical impact of some of the band's later songs, but it was an attention grabber for sure. (And a placement at the end of the Eliza Dushku-Desmond Harrington film "Wrong Turn" certainly helped.) Even today, when this song comes on you know automatically who it is - and you can't help but get excited about it.
Hiding at the end of the band's debut album Saturate was this phenomenal gem. It kicks off with Burnley's rallying cry and never slows down from there. "Shallow Bay" is a fist-pumping rocker of the best kind, with driving guitars and wonderful drum work. Add onto that a chorus that's one of the band's most memorable. How this song got stuck at the back of the record is a mystery because it could have easily been the first song.
4. "So Cold"
Without "So Cold" we might not be talking about Breaking Benjamin. This was their first single to crack the mainstream Billboard Hot 100. It also went into the top five on two other charts (Mainstream Rock and Alternative Songs) and was their first to earn a sales certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. "So Cold" puts on display the band's ability to write singles with more lyrical depth than you'd expect. It weaves all sorts of lyrical images at the same time that it blows your mind.
This is still Breaking Benjamin's most popular song on iTunes. It's also their only single to be certified double Platinum by the RIAA. That's because it has all the elements of a great radio hit. It's thundering, it's got a fantastic chorus, and let us not undersell Ben Burnley's ability to growl into a microphone like no one else can. "Diary of Jane" is addictive, and while it's not the most innovative song they've ever come up with, it's still one of Breaking Benjamin's best.
"I Will Not Bow" is Breaking Benjamin's musical equivalent of the middle finger. However, it's the most well-spoken, well-played middle finger. Many rock bands have these kinds of rebellious singles yet "I Will Not Bow" outdoes them by a mile on pure craftsmanship. Musically and lyrically it doesn't resemble any other songs of its type. It's a bold statement, both in terms of content and in terms of what the band is capable of.
Songs like "Blow Me Away" are why video game soundtracks have risen to prominence in the music world. The single was originally produced for the first Halo 2 album but it became the band's biggest, baddest song. "Blow Me Away" demonstrates how Breaking Benjamin can create an intense, razor-sharp song that doesn't consist of screaming and overplaying instruments. They've always been able to appeal to everyone. The second version of this track with additional vocals by Valora pales in comparison...but the original is a modern classic.
Whether you prefer the new or the old, the band has plenty of great rock hits to choose from. Breaking Benjamin are continuing to tour this spring and summer. Tickets to select shows are available at AXS. You can also check out video from their recent appearance on the Axes & Anchors cruise here. Fans can keep up with the latest news and information on Breaking Benjamin at AXS.