Sixpence None the Richer: The Top 30 Songs

The year is 1999 and a previously unknown band from Texas has an unlikely hit on their hands. Sixpence None the Richer’s song “Kiss Me” from their 1997 self-titled third album is blowing up. The song was released as a single in August of 1998, but it did not shoot up the charts until it was included on the soundtrack for the film “She’s All That”. Once it hit though, it was everywhere.

Our story really begins in 1992 though. Matt Slocum (guitars, piano, cello, primary songwriter, and all-around musical genius) teamed up with Leigh Bingham (possibly an angel sent from heaven to bless us with her voice) to make music together at their church. Both were still teenagers at the time. The band they formed took their name from a passage in the C.S. Lewis book Mere Christianity.

They released their debut album, The Fatherless and the Widow in 1994, so this year marks the 30th anniversary of that first release. The brain-trust here at Rambling Ever On thought a great way to kick off the year was a countdown of Sixpence’s top 30 songs. We even recruited a couple heavy hitters to help us pull this off.     

Getting back to that hit song… “Kiss Me” stood out in stark contrast to most of pop and rock music of the late 90s. It wasn’t vulgar or crass, it wasn’t loud or abrasive. There was a certain innocence and elegance in the poetry of the lyrics and the music was so catchy it was a hard song not to like.

Unfortunately, it overshadowed everything else the band ever did. A great alt rock band with insightful lyrics and incredible musicianship was reduced to one single pop song in the minds of so many. This doesn’t sit right with us, and this article is an attempt celebrate the band’s 30 years and shed some light on many of the incredible songs Sixpence has shared with the world. With 5 full length albums as well as a couple EPs and contributions to several compilation albums Sixpence has released approximately 80 songs in their career and there are rumors they aren’t done yet.

Our voters each submitted a list of their top 30 songs, and we added up the points from those lists to create this countdown. We’ve also included a Spotify playlist with 28 of our top 30 songs. Two of our song selections are not available on Spotify although we are hoping that changes soon.

A lot of time went into creating this article and we are thankful to you for reading it. Leave a comment and let us know which ones you agree with and which songs we left out. (Michael Lytle)    

30. Trust (Reprise) (1994)

“Trust” is a simple and straightforward song. That may seem like a criticism, but the simplicity and sincerity of the song is truly one of its strengths. The chorus is taken directly from Proverbs 3:5-6 and the verses are a prayer for strength during difficult times. Contrasting the weariness and frustration of some of their later lyrics with the simple confidence of this song is striking. Two versions appear on their debut record. We chose the piano and cello led version that closes the album. (Michael Lytle)

29. Don’t Blame Yourself (2012)

2012’s Lost in Transition was an album many fans did not think would ever happen. It had been a decade since Sixpence had released an album and many of us wondered if they had called it quits for good. I am thankful we got to hear more from the band though. The album lacks some of the timeless beauty of their previous work, but it is still a strong addition to their discography. Our voters nominated several of the songs from this record, but only one made the final cut.

“Don’t Blame Yourself” is a great song with a much-needed message. The verses are a vibe (as the kids say) and the chorus just flat-out rocks. (Michael Lytle)

28. Eyes Wide Open (2002)

While Matt Slocum wrote most of the lyrics for the band, Leigh Nash does the heavy lifting here and she acquits herself nicely. The second verse where the piano and drums kick in is the show stealer though. Just listen to this song on headphones and thank me later. (Michael Lytle)

27. The Fatherless and the Widow (1994)

This song is about as simplistic as any in their catalog. It hangs entirely on Leigh Nash’s voice and a gentle interplay between the electric and bass guitar. It’s a broken song about broken people and the emotion is raw and unfiltered. The song offers no answers, yet it does not leave us without hope. It’s a beautiful and honest acknowledgement of the reality of suffering and loss, and how those times should lead us to “the God in heaven above”. (Phill Lytle)

26. Falling Leaves (1994)

A driving rhythm and jangly 90s era guitars carry this one. A great guitar solo and some vivid nature imagery fill out the rest of the song, making it one of the more memorable tunes from their debut album. (Phill Lytle)

25. Lines of My Earth (1997)

Sixpence takes a jazzy turn and I’m here for it. This song meanders through its runtime, but not at all in a bad way. Mirroring the weariness of several other tunes on the Self-Titled record, we find the band barely hanging on, seemingly tired of the perpetual label struggles, expressing the sentiment, “This is the last song that I write, til’ you tell me otherwise/And it’s because I just don’t feel it/Anymore.” The track excels at matching the theme of the album while bringing enough of a left turn musically to make it a standout of a stellar record. (Josh Balogh)

24. Still Burning (2002)

Like so many of their songs, “Still Burning” fluctuates between very different moods: the sadness drenched verses and the lovely and understated chorus. With a full musical palette on display, including piano and a beautiful string arrangement, the band really flexes their artistic muscles on this one. (Phill Lytle)

23. Too Far Gone (2004)

I’ll keep this one brief. If the final 3 minutes of the song don’t do it for you, you ain’t right. Matt Slocum allows himself the room to show off a little on guitar and the results are glorious. If you need anything else, the lyrics are as good as anything the band has ever produced. (Phill Lytle)

22. Bleeding (1995)

Sixpence None the Richer has never been afraid of the darkness. Of dealing with feelings of hopelessness or despair. Those times when we feel so very far away from anything good. Moments (days, weeks, months?) when we feel God has abandoned us. And to their credit, they have never been afraid of unanswered questions or one-way conversations.

In “Bleeding”, a moody, angst-drenched number, they don’t hold back the questions, yet they don’t close the door entirely either. The chorus bounces back and forth between the apparent absence of God and the hope that He’s “somewhere near”. Not all music needs to be nice and tidy with answers delivered in easily digestible platitudes. Sometimes we need to live with our fears and doubts. (Phill Lytle)


21. Melody of You (2002)

Orchestral flourishes didn’t tend to, uh, flourish on Sixpence’s first 2 albums, with a few exceptions. That changed with their self-titled album, and reached its peak with the strung-out Divine Disconnect. “Melody of You” might be the most glistening example of what happens when you combine Matt Slocum’s guitar prowess with some achingly gorgeous violin.

Other than “Trust” from the debut album, this might have been the first Sixpence song that was an unequivocal (and largely angst-free) ode to their Creator. But how many CCM songs written to God lack even a single instance of boilerplate jargon? Barely any, that’s how many.

You're the scent of an unfound bloom
A simple tune, I only write variations to
A drink that will knock me down to the floor
A key that will unlock the door

Matt Slocum is well-known in the industry for his masterful cello work, but here he masters the art of the violin composition. “Melody of You” is yet another jaw-dropper from Sixpence, showcasing how good they were, even without their signature early-career angst.

Truly, this is one of the best and most beautiful CCM-adjacent songs ever written. (Jeremy Wingert)

20. Field of Flowers (1994)

When you grow up in youth group, and you have a girlfriend, and it’s the mid-‘90s, and you’re starting to outgrow Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith, then “Field of Flowers” is pretty much the ideal love song for you.

Or at least it was for me. I adored this song from the moment I laid ears on it. Sixpence perfected the jangly guitar sound on this and other songs from their debut album, The Fatherless & The Widow. I loved how it sounded and I loved how it felt and I loved its frolicsome vision of true love.

I didn’t love the Walt Whitman reference… but that was only because I wasn’t yet an English major, I hadn’t yet seen Dead Poets Society, and I had never even heard of Whitman. The reference was lost on me, but now I find it deeply endearing. And come to think of it, “subtle electric fire” is a pretty accurate description not only of romantic longing but also of Sixpence’s musical vibe.

Here’s a hot take: “Field of Flowers” is catchier, and even more romantic, than “Kiss Me.” And here’s a less-hot take: Sixpence’s debut album was one of the most impressive of the ‘90s, CCM or otherwise. (Jeremy Wingert)

19. Bouquet (1994)

Sixpence recorded many great covers during their career. “There She Goes” and “Don’t Dream it’s Over” are probably the two most well-known. For my money “Bouquet” is the best. The song was written and originally recorded by Christian alternative music legend Steve Taylor. Sixpence turned a good song into something magical. Taylor is an incredible lyricist, and something about the way Leigh Nash sings his words on this song give them greater weight and sadness. (Michael Lytle)

Unfortunately, this song is not on Spotify so we could not include it on the playlist. Click here to listen to it.

18. Kiss Me (1997)

Okay, first things first-this is an earworm pop song, and it’s great. Beyond that, I have a love/hate relationship with it that I’d like to think is how the band themselves feel about it. On one hand, I’m glad it garnered them the attention that it did in both the mainstream and Christian music genres respectively. On the other hand, I resent the fact that it and a certain cover tune later included as a bonus track overshadowed what I truly believe to be a tremendously talented band and five-star album.

Sixpence None the Richer is no one-hit-wonder, and I will categorically die on that hill. While “Kiss Me” opened some big doors for them, it also closed too many others. However, if this is the only one you know by them, I beg you to give the others on this list a try before writing off the band. (Josh Balogh)


17. Sad But True (1997)

When Sixpence is in the mood they can rock, in the same way that The Cranberries could on many of their lesser-known tracks. It can feel like a surprising outlier to the uninitiated, but it can be a delightful gift to the listener willing to lay aside any preconceived notions of the band’s “sound.” The searing guitar line in the soaring chorus makes for a standout song that I wish had been given placement on one of their proper albums. That said, this is easily my pick as their best B-side song, of which there are more than their fair share to pick from. (Josh Balogh)

Unfortunately, this song is not on Spotify so we could not include it on the playlist. Click here to listen to it.

16. Dizzy (2002)

For this writer “Dizzy” is the most beautiful song Sixpence has ever recorded. I don’t think it is their best song (I ranked it 3rd on my personal list) but something about it draws me in and won’t let go. I love this song’s intricate arrangement where the strings add a layer of elegance to complement the melodic guitar work.

Some critics felt that Divine Discontent was overproduced. While that criticism may have a kernel of truth to it for certain songs, to my ears, “Dizzy” is an example of an expertly produced song. Yes, it is polished, and all the rough edges are sanded off, but these production choices absolutely pay off. The lyrics stand out as well, as they touch on the lives of Biblical figures, Thomas, David, and Peter as well as a nod to 2 Corinthians 4:7. I can’t quite put into words why I like this song so much, so I suggest you listen to it immediately and make sure you stick around for the entire song! (Michael Lytle)

15. I Can’t Explain (1995)

It will never stop impressing me that a Christian rock band in 1995 was willing to end their album (the bona fide masterpiece This Beautiful Mess) with a song that had no resolution at all. Zero.

Not only does “I Can’t Explain” avoid certainty or easy comfort, it goes out of its way to repeatedly disavow both of those notions. The entire song is a frustrated ode to confusion and the difficulty of forging meaning. 

The final 25-second musical passage of the song, and of the whole album, is strikingly dissonant and bleary. And spiritually exhausted.

It was a bold move by a band that was soft-spoken in public, but lyrically audacious. No one avoided sloganeering jargon quite like Sixpence. (Jeremy Wingert)

I've wrapped myself up in a universe again
And let the darkness quell my matchflame confidence
And unwillingly I hide the lever I must find
To release the deep the tears withheld inside

I can’t I can’t explain

I can’t make sense of the things I’m saying

14. Anything (1997)

This is my 45th depressing tune
They’re lookin’ for money as they clean my artistic womb
And when I give birth to the child I must take to flight
‘Cuz the black in our pockets won’t let us fight… a proper fight

In 1997, Sixpence had just shaken themselves free of a label (R.E.X.) that had exploited them and bled them dry. Iconic CCM songwriter and producer Steve Taylor forged Squint Records as a home for Sixpence, a safe place for them to create and to speak their truth. And my gosh did they do just that.

“Anything” sums up the bitter but lucid disenchantment Sixpence felt after their first 2 albums. They had already been through the wringer, and they needed to get some stuff off their treadmarked chest.

The music industry is carnivorous, and artists can be defenseless in the face of that predation. After all, they’re only armed with instruments and songs.

On their self-titled 3rd album, Sixpence came armed for battle. (Jeremy Wingert)

We're all told to dance but we never picked the tune
Hanging like puppets they feed us from bent steel spoons
But we're sealing our lips for the someday

when the needle and the vinyl play
All the songs of the pain, songs that explain

all our circles and strains

13. I’ve Been Waiting (2002)

This was the first song from Divine Discontent that really hooked me and forced me to pay attention to the rest of the album. I love the opening guitar and how it sets the stage for the rest of the song. I’ve always felt like this song should have been the opening track for the album. The lyrics, on the chorus especially, tap into something universal. Whether we feel it towards our Creator or even another person. (Michael Lytle)

So I’m changing who I am
‘Cause what I am’s not good
And I know you love me now
But I don’t see why you should

12. Sister, Mother (1997)

Before I truly loved the music of Sixpence None the Richer, I deeply loved this song. I’m not sure if there is a more perfect late 90s pop song. The guitar work is effortlessly cool, yet achingly beautiful. Leigh’s voice is utterly disarming, knocking down any defenses I might have had. This song reached deep into my heart and has never let go. (Phill Lytle)

11. Disconnect (1995)

Tess Wiley played guitar for Sixpence from 1994 to 1997, during its jangly alt-rock era. She contributed the stunning “Disconnect” to This Beautiful Mess, an album which crisply showcased her own guitar prowess along with Leigh Nash’s iconic voice and some always-welcome Matt Slocum cello.

This passage in particular was a sharp rebuff of certain doctrinal notions, as well as an aching plea for relief. In fact, the entire album functioned as an intimate exploration of mental health — long before anyone was using that phrase.

Is there somewhere
I could separate this feeling
From memory
Disconnect myself from me?
Behind this veil of pious revelation
I'll close my eyes and look for worth inside

Long live Tess Wiley, who I’ve learned now lives in Germany. If you want to hear her own rendition of this song she crafted, look her up on Bandcamp. What a bombshell of a voice. (Jeremy Wingert)

10. I Can’t Catch You (1997)

This track is hookier than it has any business being. From the opening electric riff straight through the song the listener is buoyantly carried away by the music that somewhat cloaks the longing of the lyrics. There is this nervous reach out for love communicated. With “I Can’t Catch You,” we are treated to a perfectly executed juxtaposition that nearly always draws this listener back for more. I’m struck more deeply each time I encounter the lines, “If I have to love myself, tell me how to love myself. What’s there to love about myself? I just want to see that as a person you want me.” Truly, who can’t relate? (Josh Balogh)

9. Spotlight (1994)

If it weren’t for a song or two still to come from the band, “Spotlight” might just be my overall favorite song. Certainly, at the time of its release in 1994, it was their best song to date. The groove pushing it ever forward with urgency, the delay pedal, and the crisp 90s drum hits all make for a terrific song. This one is easy for me to hit repeat on and listen to several times in a row. (Josh Balogh)

8. Angeltread (1995)

From the first 5 seconds of shadowy tinkling lights and guitar vibes as Sixpence’s sophomore album kicks off, it’s clear that something special is afoot. And sure enough, This Beautiful Mess proves to be a singularly poetic and emotionally intimate work of art, not to mention one of the most sonically compelling, guitar-driven alt-rock albums of all time.

The disc (that’s right, I said the D-word) opens with a bang, as “Angeltread” features virtuosic guitar work combined with lyrics that were unusually elusive within the confines of mid-‘90s CCM. I mean, who writes about man’s sometimes-futile search for God with this kind of breathtaking poeticism?

Hands rhythmically grope, the sheets again for you
And off-rhythm the time slows to make
moments eternal, moments eternal
Is this some kind of holy test
To stitch the treadmarks off my chest
To get up, walk outside my head
On a holy search for angeltread

On a side note, from one (just-barely-and-only-for-maybe-2-years) bassist to another, hats off to J.J. Plasencio for his superb bass plucking on this album. Slocum, Nash, Wiley, Baker, and Plasencio were a force to be reckoned with. I wish they had all stayed together for longer, and I wish Sixpence’s catalogue was twice the size it is, but I’m just grateful it exists. (Jeremy Wingert)


7. Moving On (1997)

A reoccurring theme of the band’s self-titled third album is the record label purgatory they found themselves in. Their bankrupt record label would not release their album, but they also would not let the band out of their contract to find another deal and move forward with their career. They were stuck in limbo and considering calling it quits. Aspects of this saga are eloquently explored in songs like “Lines of my Earth”, “Anything” and “We Have Forgotten” among others. The final track “Moving On” also tackles this theme, but in a more cathartic way.

The beautiful poetry found on many of the other tracks is replaced by the refrain “I will not let them ruin me” sung repeatedly. The strong emotion of the lyric is followed by aggressive strings kicking in to make this one of the band’s strongest songs and a perfect closer* for a near perfect album. (Michael Lytle)      

*We realize the self-titled was re-released with “There She Goes” as the closing song, but we are referring to the original release of the album in 1997.

6. We Have Forgotten (1997)

Matt Slocum’s is such a talented songwriter that many of his lyrics can stand alone as poetry without any music to back them. While I appreciate the slow build of the music on this song, and I love the melancholy downbeat vibe, it is the lyrics that really make this one special. Here they are without any further commentary. (Michael Lytle)

Inconsistent angel things
Horses bred with star-laced wings
But it's so hard to make them
Fly, fly, fly
These wings
Beat the night sky 'bove the town
One goes up, and one goes down
And so the chariot hits the ground
Bound, bound
We have forgotten
(Don't try to make me fly)
How it used to be
(I'll stay here, I'll be fine)
How it used to be
(Don't go and let me down)
How it used to be
(I'm starting to like this town)
When wings
Beat the night sky 'bove the ground
Will I unwillingly shoot them down
With all my petty fears and doubts?
Down, down 
We have forgotten
(Am I in love with this?)
How it used to be
(My constant broken ship)
How it used to be
(Don't go, I'll shoot you down)
How it used to be
(I'm starting to like this town)
We have forgotten
(Don't try to make me fly)
How it used to be
(I'll stay here, I'll be fine)
How it used to be
(Don't go and let me down)
How it used to be
(I'm starting to like this town)
How it used to be
(Am I in love with this?)
How it used to be
(My constant broken ship)
How it used to be
(Don't go, I'll shoot you down)
How it used to be
(I'm starting to like this town)

5. Paralyzed (2002)

I’m not a hard rock kinda guy, but I do like my rock bands to be able to actually rock when the need calls for it. One thing that kept me at arm’s length with a lot of Sixpence’s music, regardless the high quality of it, was their tendency to live in the more mellow middle of artsy rock and roll. They would let loose from time to time, but most of their output is decidedly not aggressive or loud. “Paralyzed” turns that on its head, and I for one could not be more thrilled. This song rocks. Hard. The guitar riff that carries the song is a face-melter, Leigh’s voice is both assured and at times, tremulous in her delivery, and the ending jam session is pitch perfect.

Their bread and butter were the more introspective, slightly subdued, melancholy gems, and rightfully so. I’m just thankful they let their hair down every now and then and gave us these awesome moments of rock and roll glory. (Phill Lytle)

4. A Million Parachutes (2002) 

This is a song of reminiscence and longing for the warmth of days gone by. I’ve found great comfort in these achingly tender lines of poetry. The melody grabs at my heart, hitting a groove early and then worming its way through my soul. The acoustic guitar and piano dance around one another just like the “million parachutes” metaphor of snow slowing falling to the earth. This is Sixpence at their melancholy best. What a tremendous closer to an underrated album. My favorite line is also excellent advice for the listener stuck in the night of the soul or the literal physical darkness of night. 

“I’ll put on some records and wait for the light.” (Josh Balogh)

3. Love (1997)

Featuring one of the most arresting lead guitar lines in their catalog, “Love” is a perfect bridge song between their more alternative stylings the This Beautiful Mess album and the Self-Titled album track list that houses it. The delay pedal in full use, would undoubtedly make The Edge of U2 proud. Add in Leigh’s angelic voice, a swirling string section, pounding drums, and a relentless bass line (and one of their best) and this is a sure-fire Sixpence must. (Josh Balogh)

2. Within a Room Somewhere (1995)

Remember those free sampler cassettes from the ‘90s that were released, appropriately enough, by Release magazine? 

Well I do. And the cassette that will never leave my brain (or heart) is the one that featured a song by Sixpence None the Richer. A band that darn well changed my life, or at least pivoted my eardrums.

I beat that cassette to a pulp, most often (for some reason) while I mowed the lawn. Maybe that Sixpence song was the only CCM I owned that was loud enough to drown out the roar of my dad’s Craftsman lawnmower.

Sixpence quickly became one of my most cherished artists during a pivotal time in my life, from 10th grade through college. And well beyond. This sampler cassette featured Sixpence’s most perfectly formed rock song, “Within a Room Somewhere.” I can identify 3 simple keys to this perfection.

First, it is peak Matt Slocum. The guitar work here is simply phenomenal. Deeply, darkly evocative. The bridge is one of the best in Sixpence’s catalogue.

Second, it is peak Leigh Nash. No voice could possibly be better suited to this aspirational, emotionally jagged material than hers. She was a gem of a vocalist, and she still is.

And third, it is peak Sixpence lyricism.

I breathe the mist, floating about the stars
I can caress with velvet hands
I breathe the mist, floating within without
this pen, this pen between my fingers

The whole song is Sixpence None the Richer at the height of their songwriting powers, expressing the inexpressible (and often sadly un-expressed) depths of human loneliness, despair, and longing. That yearning for anything that might help us preserve our innate self, our connectedness, our hope.

But as always with Sixpence, there is no false resolution. No forced happy ending.

Simply an acknowledgment of how it feels to be human. (Jeremy Wingert)

1. Love, Salvation, the Fear of Death (1995)

I think it’s pretty obvious why this song ended up number one on our list. If I were in a band and I helped create a song this good, I would be perfectly happy to call it a career. Walk away on a high note, just like George Costanza.

“Love, Salvation” is just that good. Everything that is great about Sixpence is found in this song. Incisive and powerful lyrics – “I’m so afraid I’ll amount to nothing / ‘Cause I don’t have much to love.” Unimpeachable songwriting and melody. Passionate and, dare I say it, angelic vocals by Leigh Nash. Impeccably skilled musicianship – those guitars are everything and that bass line is way too good for what any listener deserves. And the jam session that closes out the song, all 28 seconds of it, is better than most songs in their entirety.

I’m being hyperbolic yet I truly believe every word I’ve written. If this song didn’t exist, life would be a whole lot worse. (Phill Lytle)

Great music demands to be reckoned with. Most songs require very little from us. They are paper thin, whispery things that at their best bring a little joy, energy, sadness, or contemplation and then they are gone. The best songs require much more than that. A transaction is made. An artist pours themselves into their craft, creating something unique and worthy. It is then gifted to us, the listener. If we fully accept that gift, we are forever changed. The song becomes a part of us. It shapes who we are, what we think, and how we feel. A deep and lasting reckoning must take place.

Some artists and bands have a handful of songs like this. Most bands are fortunate to have one or two. It is our contention that Sixpence None the Richer’s catalog is overflowing with songs that demand more from us and require deeper participation and surrender from us. We have reckoned with these songs, and they have changed us for the better.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please share your thoughts in the comments below or on any of our social media platforms.

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4 thoughts on “Sixpence None the Richer: The Top 30 Songs

  • January 1, 2024 at 9:20 am

    “Circle of Error” is my favorite song. The lyrics remind me of Rich Mullins’s “Hard to Get”; both songs are gut-wrenching.

    • January 3, 2024 at 8:47 am

      Thanks so much for the comment! “Circle of Error” is a very good song.

  • January 1, 2024 at 10:13 am

    Thank you for compiling this list! I really liked Sixpence early on, but their mainstream success with “Kiss Me” (unfairly, apparently) made me shy away from their subsequent releases. I’ll be interested to hear this list. My first exposure to the band was “Spotlight” on a compilation album made for high school graduates in 1995, which prompted me to get their debut album once I joined a CD-by-mail club that was so popular for college students at the time. I remember taking the song “Meaningless” from that same album into my college Wisdom Literature class after the professor invited us to share artistic examples of the Biblical books covered, including Ecclesiastes. It’s hard to imagine that song not being in the top 30, but I’m not well-versed in their works after the first two albums, even though I did see them in person years later, first as an opening act for Better Than Ezra and then on the main stage at Alantafest. Thanks again!

    • January 3, 2024 at 8:48 am

      “Kiss Me” is a good song but I think tired some people out due to overexposure. You really should check out the rest of their catalog. It’s very good.


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