Four-time GRAMMY award-winning duo for KING & COUNTRY makes a powerful statement with their much-anticipated third album, Burn the Ships, an epic, sweeping musical landscape that explores themes of new beginnings, forgiveness, hope, and love.
The album’s soaring debut and GRAMMY® nominated single, “joy,” which features a 100-person choir and a hypnotic wave of rhythm and electronic sounds, hit No. 1 and has been streamed more than 18 million times. The lyrics cut through the cacophony of societal noise to remind us about what is important: “Oh, hear my prayer tonight. ‘Cause this is do or die. The time has come to make a choice. I choose joy.”
The inspiring pop masterpiece also represents the exciting adventure into unchartered territory for brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, who were propelled into superstardom with the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore album, RUN WILD. LIVE FREE. LOVE STRONG., which debuted at No. 1 on iTunes and was certified gold. In addition to winning two GRAMMYs and four Dove Awards, the duo performed internationally on a hugely successful 60-date arena tour.
They have garnered four No. 1s (“joy,” “Priceless,” “Fix My Eyes,” and “Shoulders”), nine Top 10 hits, and had songs featured on the Emmys, Super Bowl, Sunday Night Football and many other high-profile events, including performances on The Tonight Show, Today and Jimmy Kimmel Live!
But as they reveal in Burn the Ships, there is no looking back, no resting on their laurels. There is much more to explore and explain, especially during this time of great unrest when answers don’t seem immediately apparent. With a new level of vulnerability and honesty, they wrote every song on this project, which they also co-produced with longtime collaborators Aqualung, Tedd T. and Seth Mosely. “It isn’t perfect – far from it – but there is a sense of truthfulness and a heart and a personality and an ideology behind this record,” Joel says. “It feels like the most mature version of for KING & COUNTRY.”
The title track was inspired by a 1500s Spanish explorer who boldly landed his ships on enemy shores without any knowledge of what awaited his arrival. To ensure that the men were committed to their mission, he proclaimed, “Burn the ships!” The only way to go was onward; retreat was not an option.
“That is the big statement that this collection of songs is making,” says Luke. “We don’t want to live in the past; we want to move forward. There are things in everybody’s pasts that you have to get rid of—in some cases physically burn and in other cases you just need to get rid of them however you can emotionally. For us, that is the name that represents this collection of art and work best.”
These songs fit in perfectly with today’s pop music arena, where artists ranging from Kesha to Drake are exploring themes of religion, prayer and God. The Smallbones’ words are a soothing salve for a hurting nation in need of healing.
“People are hungry for truth and hope,” Luke says. “I don’t think they want something that is false. So when it comes to people seeking out God, they are receptive because they are trying to figure out what is true and real. I think that is a good thing. I hope our music can play a role in that, but ultimately people have to figure it out for themselves.”