Contemporary Christian music has become more mainstream in the last couple of decades due largely to artists like Matthew West. The four-time Grammy nominee has been creating music that’s been influential to the development of Christian artists since the late 90s. As a singer-songwriter, West has been blessed with the vocal skill and musical talent to be a success in the industry; but his career has not been without challenges. Even after his career-threatening vocal surgery early in his career, West continues to sing and produce music that’s become inspiration to many. Here are the 10 best Matthew West songs of all time.
10. Next Thing You Know
This song is probably one of the best introductions to Matthew West that any first-time listener could ever have. Next Thing You Know is one of West’s earliest successes from the album, History. This song highlights West’s unique vocal style that includes talk-singing and catchy, melodic phrases. It’s incredible to think that this song is over 15 years old because it sounds very much like the music of today.
Forgiveness is a gentle song that can easily be on repeat. West’s baritone shines here as the instrumentals take the back seat, and as always, the lyrics prove to be a solid shine as well. The message on forgiveness is simple and applicable and freeing as it says. It’s the kind of Christian song that a broken world could probably use and get used to. West’s song surely makes a hard day easier to swallow for some.
8. My Own Little World
Gentle riffs and lighthearted synths mask the heavy message that My Own Little World presents. This song is one of Matthew West’s best work lyrically—the reason why so many listeners find his music inspirational. It’s easy to get caught up with the negative of the world, but West’s music continues to share some light and a little bit of wisdom too.
7. The Motions
Credited as one of the first songs West wrote after his vocal surgery, The Motions is a powerful ballad that identifies the typical fears and doubts of someone who might have gone through a health scare just as he did. At the same time, the song is a rededication of faith and trust in God. Matthew West sings this song as if he’s offering up control of his life to God in total surrender, and it seems to have worked out for him somehow.
West has always had a way of reaching out to audiences through his music. The song History, from the namesake album, is so simple lyrically. Yet its truth resonates—to people from every demographic and every stage in life. West sings, “Yesterday is history; and history is miles and miles away.” The words cut through, the melody sticks, and the orchestra just holds your breath in place. It’s just the way that West makes his mark.
5. Strong Enough
The heavier alternative approach to Strong Enough is much welcomed coming from West. It surely fits his dynamic, and this song could easily be mistaken as any other mainstream alternative song from 2010. As can be expected, West purposefully throws in a biblical verse in the bridge, and it flows so naturally with the message of his song. With solid electric instrumentals, West sings inspiration yet again for his audience—this time with a message of strength and mercy.
4. Only Grace
There’s almost something haunting about this song. It could be the melody of the opening strings or the sound of West’s striking vocals almost unaccompanied in the first parts of the song. As always, West’s message is clear, and he presents it boldly as the song progresses into an orchestration of melodic prowess. Only Grace is one of the songs from West’s History album and is the third song from that album to make this list.
With its signature piano intro melody and West’s accompanying playful voice, More is easily identifiable as one of the singer’s own. Coming off of his first album with a non-independent recording studio, More was West’s first radio single and remains to be his most successful one to date. This speaks to West’s early success during that time, but it also shows how timeless his music has become. More stayed at the top spot on Christian radio for nine consecutive weeks when it was first released.
2. Hello My Name Is
High energy and positive vibes is West’s signature, and this track encompasses all of West’s career into one. Hello My Name Is is fun, engaging, and full of anthemic feel. The song relays the basics of Christian music, and it does so with such an unbelievably pop tune. There’s no mistaking how much West’s music has evolved at this point—with even more confidence and an even bigger pep in the step. Hello My Name Is could’ve easily been on the top of this list on another day.
1. Do Something
It’s as bold as could be. Do Something is not much like many of the Christian songs that get airplay on the radio. In this song, West tackles one of the biggest questions of faith-based religion, and he does so with such grace and talent that it seems to make sense. The melody of Do Something is as powerful as its message, and West brings urgency to action with ease. In a way, West has been a voice for the generation that’s looking for more good things in life. The answer might be in his album, Into the Light, and in the simple notion of just going ahead and doing something right now.