This guitar anthem is the title track from Christian rock band Skillet's eighth studio album, Awake.
The song features alternating male/female vocals between frontman John Cooper and new drummer Jen Ledger.
Cooper (from New Release Today): "Tying in with 'Hero
,' here's one about feeling like you're falling under from all the stresses of life. Even though you feel like everyone around you is trying to take your hope away from you, no one has the right to do that and you shouldn't allow those negative influences to weigh you down. Live what you believe and don't be afraid to stand up for your faith. The song is about the idea that every day you wake up, there's a war for our souls."
Cooper explained the album's distinctive cover to Christianity Today magazine: "When I decided to call the album Awake, I talked to an artist about what I was looking for and what that idea meant for the record. It's that idea that you've been in a car wreck or something serious has happened to you. You're in a coma or you were knocked out and came to in a hospital. The idea was you're awake, which seems like a good thing, but maybe you are a little hesitant to take the bandages off because you're afraid of what you might look like. It worked well with the concept of the record that the world is getting darker and there are people that want to take your beliefs away by telling you that what's important is being cool and rich. But it's time for you to strip all that away, to wake up and face the world head on.
I want people to feel hopeful from listening to this record. We want to bring hope to the hopeless. And going through some of the things I've gone through, maybe the Devil wanted to bring all this bad stuff into my life because he hoped I would be embittered toward God. But I clung to Jesus and found a friend. There's always hope. There's always a chance to start over."
This was Skillet's first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
Awake debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 making it the highest-charting Christian album since Underoath's 2006 release Define the Great Line.
Cooper credits his intense vocals on the album to producer Howard Benson, who has worked with My Chemical Romance and Daughtry, among others. "Some producers don’t like it when it's maybe a little out there or a little too intense, and Howard really likes those performances," he told rock-wire.com
. "I think it makes you believe it more when you hear it. I was singing really hard when we were recording it! I knew Howard liked powerful performances so I was singing much harder than I did on Comatose
, and he'd go 'I think you’re singing a little hard, give it to me a little harder!' I was like, 'Really? I was giving it everything I had!' But you know, I think that helped, so that’s probably the biggest things that he brought to the table."
This was included on the soundtrack to the 2011 movie Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, starring Shia LaBeouf.
Awake won the Billboard Music Award for Top Christian Album in 2011.
The band initially wanted to title the album Awake and Alive as well but thought people might confuse it for a live project.
Cooper told New Release Today he took inspiration from Matthew 6:32-34, which reads, "For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Despite their hard-earned success in both Christian and secular formats, Skillet still faced judgment for being too Christian for mainstream rock and not Christian enough for Christian rock. Cooper says the band combated the criticism by staying true to themselves. "I should be able to say what I believe in, and I should be able to sing something that I'm passionate about. And it doesn't matter if other people agree with me or not. It's not really about preaching, it's about proclaiming," he told Songfacts in 2014.
"So that's kind of why we get away with what we do. It's because we're not really a preachy band, but we are true to ourselves. And we're not embarrassed to come and play with Limp Bizkit. And somebody says, 'Oh, you guys are a Christian band.' And we say, 'That's right, I write songs about my faith.' I'm not embarrassed there, just like I'm not embarrassed when some Christian guy comes up and says, 'You can't be a Christian and sing that.' And I say, 'Hey, this is who I am.'"