God Only Knows

Album: Burn the Ships (2018)
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • One of the paradoxes of the Western world in the late 2010s is that while we're more connected by social media than we've ever been, we are also lonelier than we've ever been.

    Wide awake while the world is sound asleepin'
    Too afraid of what might show up while you're dreamin'
    Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you
    Nobody, nobody, nobody would believe you

    Joel Smallbone told Billboard: "It's almost these faux relationships, these sort of fabricated relationships. In the 1980s in America, 20% of the people claimed to be lonely. In 2017 it's almost 50%. We've more than doubled, but yet in that time period the connectivity of humanity has exponentially heightened. Why is this happening?"

    For King and Country go on to explain the reason why so many people feel lonely is that we are neglecting God. Only our Creator can fill that huge gap in our lives.

    God only knows where to find you
    God only knows how to break through
    God only knows the real you
    There's a kind of love that God only knows
  • The week that the Smallbone brothers were coming up with the video concept both Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade took their lives. Arising from those tragedies they decided to make it a clip that supports suicide prevention.

    "We follow this pretty young lady through her day doing normal things," Joel explained. "She hangs out with friends. She goes to a coffee shop and she walks onto a bridge that night and throws herself over a bridge. Then it sort of reverses to a pinnacle moment where someone interacts with her. It's a physical interaction. It's not a Facebook message or an Instagram note. Someone ran after her, hugged her, found her and changed her."
  • For King & Country recorded a remix with Dolly Parton. The Smallbone brothers had the idea of collaborating with the country icon after watching her Netflix film, Dumplin'. Parton told The Tennessean their interest proved serendipitous, as the same time she was nursing a desire to work on more "faith-based" projects.

    "It was like God spoke. I thought so many people with all their problems... I just felt like this song touched everything people struggle with," Parton said. "There's just such a peace and love and sweetness about it, and I really think this song says what we need to be hearing right now."
  • The video concept for the remix has the Smallbone brothers and Parton portraying guardian angels, singing to troubled versions of themselves. Joel Smallbone's alter ego is an addict, Luke Smallbone's a person who is gravely ill, and Parton is a hooker. The real Dolly joins hands with the King & Country duo at the end, reinforcing the song's theme that things can get better.

    "I just wanted to show how far people could go down, and I knew that was something I could do," Parton said. "This whole thing was their project, and God just handed it to me to be part of it."
  • For King & Country won pop/contemporary recorded song of the year for "God Only Knows" at the 2019 Dove Awards. Joel Smallbone said when accepting the prize that the song felt like "a gift from God."
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