Plankeye: The Top 30 Songs

Story time. The year was 1998 and it was Gospel Music Association (GMA) week in Nashville. All the CCM labels brought their artists in for the week to do showcases for industry people and fans. It was an opportunity to see dozens of bands for very little money, so if you were a broke college student who happened to be a music fan it was heaven. On Tuesday night a bunch of us went to 5 Minute Walk night at got to see bands like Dimestore Prophets, Dryve, Model Engine, and Five Iron Frenzy in concert. It was an incredible night of music.

The following night most of our group went back to the same venue for Tooth & Nail night. There was something different on this night. The atmosphere felt charged and not in a good way. The crowd was aggressive, and things almost felt dangerous. It has been many years, and my memory may be exaggerating things, but I do remember that it was bad enough that several of us stepped outside the club just to get air and clear our heads. I refused to leave though because Plankeye was one of the final bands of the night and I wanted to see them.

When Plankeye took the stage they opened with one of their slower songs, “One or the Other.” They extended the one-minute musical intro to several minutes. If my memory serves me correctly, this song was followed by another slower song “Beautiful.” Then bass player Luis Garcia told the crowd, “Whether we play our faster songs or slower songs we want to glorify God in whatever we do.”

I have no idea if the band sensed something being “off” that night, and if their unusual choice to open the show with two slower songs was intentional, but they reset the entire evening. The crowd was different from that point on, and the rest of the show was amazing. If I ever doubted the power of music before I did not after that night.

The first half of 1998 was probably the peak in popularity for Plankeye. The band had released four albums up to that point and each one was earning them new fans. They had toured with CCM royalty like the Newsboys and future CCM royalty like Third Day, exposing them to a new audience. Even the lyrics in several songs (“Landmarks”, “How Much I Don’t Know”, “Playground”) from their 1997 album The One and Only pointed to the fact that the band knew they were on the brink of something huge.

Then things went sideways. Drummer Adam Ferry announced he was leaving the band and on the night of his final show, lead vocalist Scott Silletta abruptly quit the band as well. With half the band gone, Eric Balmer (lead guitar) and Luis Garcia (bass) wanted to call it quits. The song “Goodbye” is testament to this. Due to financial and contractual obligations they soldiered on for 4 more years. The two remaining members split lead vocal duties and released 2 more full length albums plus a “best of” record that also included several new songs.

We here at REO are SO glad they didn’t hang it up. Even though they never reached the popularity heights they seemed destined for in early 1998, some of their best work came after the departures of Scott and Adam. They transitioned from their pop punk roots to a more mature alternative rock sound and the fans who were willing to stick with them were rewarded with some very memorable music.

2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of their debut album Spill. To celebrate this, we have created a countdown of their top 30 songs. Four members of the REO staff and one special guest (Caleb) voted on our favorite songs, and we compiled one master list. We’ve also included a Spotify playlist that included 29 of our 30 song selections. Unfortunately, one song is not yet available on Spotify.

Enjoy the article and the playlist. And, as always, let us know how we did and which songs we may have missed. (Michael Lytle)

30   Three fold Chord (1995)

Of all the songs that landed on my personal Top 30, this is the one that was the most surprising to me. If I had ranked Plankeye songs back in the late 90’s, this one would not have made my list. I always enjoyed the musical elements of the song and the build to the final bridge was fantastic, but Scott’s vocals were just not my cup of tea. My musical foundation was built on the more polished music and vocals of the 80s and the style Scott brought to this song simply didn’t work for me. It does now, though, which I hope points to my growth.

All that said, it’s a great song with a simple and emotional melody and the band pulls it off with the right amount of sensitivity. (Phill)

29   Captain (2002)

The only song in Plankeye’s catalog featuring all three lead vocalists. This song is a lot of fun and even though they never played it live, as far as I know, I imagine Scott Silletta joining the band on stage for the first time in years to sing his verse and the crowd going wild. (Michael)

28. Dichotomy (1995)
The air up here, it seems so thin
Stars burn my eyes
The blood, it covers sin
Flip an old coin over
A new life begins and the old one is over
27. Untitled (2001)

A haunting and heart-searing song about death. At least, death as symbolized in baptism. It’s the most epic song of Plankeye’s final album. Both song and album deserved better. Yes, the album is raw and messy and as unpolished as possible, but the songs work, and the lyrics are as good as ever. The final few minutes of “Untitled” are just awash with melodies, counter melodies, instrumentation, and sonic release. (Phill)

26   You Are for Me (1999)

How do you close out an album that is at its very core, elementally different than anything you have done before? You stay true to the vision that inspired the sound and tone of the album. “You Are for Me” is mellow, reserved, and even gentle. Yet if you listen carefully, its bursting with creative flourishes and an impressively spacious sonic palette. And while the song is mostly subdued, they flex their muscles toward the end of the song with a riveting crescendo. Relocation is the work of mature and confident musicians who are working at the peak of their talents. This closing song is further proof of that. (Phill)

25   Let’s Try Again Tomorrow (1997)
Please don't be angry with me
I told you I was sorry
This always happens when I start to feel like I am something
I'd like to think that we could find our way around this mess
Remember when we used to fall down laughing

24   Fall Down (1997)

Fall down, kiss the ground once again
This mire, too often my heart's desire
Pick me up, and dust me off once again
This mire, too often my heart's desire
I created my own shame
Put a muzzle on my mouth
And when I get so very anxious
So very anxious, anxious, again

23   Scared of Me (2002)

As far as I’m concerned, as good as “Goodbye” is, and as popular as it was for the band, “Scared of Me” is just as good and deserved to be a huge going away song for them. It sounds spectacular, with excellent and robust production value, a nice change of pace after their final full album’s raw sound. And as far as emotion goes, it swings for the fences and absolutely crushes it. (Phill)

scared of me
scared of me, yeah
cuz all the backdoors are calling
so loudly to me

22   Who Loves You More (1996)

If I hold onto you
Will I let go of Christ?
Will I end up denying Him in abundance of thrice?
Will I end up in the end
With less than I started with
When I surrender?

21   Way of the Earth (2001)

According to interviews, Eric and Luis didn’t want to keep the band going by the time Strange Exchange was recorded. They felt contractually obligated to put out another album. On top of that, their long-time producer and Christian Alternative Rock legend, Gene Eugene, tragically died before they could record the album.

The album is a bit of a mess, and it just sounds messy, but at times it hits hard. A raw quality is expressed in certain songs that seems like the listener is peering into a broken soul. “The Way of the Earth” is one of those songs. It’s easy for songs on this album to get lost, but this is a great song, written by some talented people, going through a lot of grief. (David)


20   All the Kings Horses (1996)

This song closes out the Petra tribute album Never Say Dinosaur. While that album had several heavy hitters in the CCM word like Jars of Clay, Audio Adrenaline, and Sixpence None the Richer the only song on the record that clearly surpassed the original version was Plankeye’s cover of “All the Kings Horses.” They took an interesting lyrical premise and added some much-needed musical gravitas to effectively pull it off. (Michael)

19   Commonwealth (1996)

Plankeye had a knack for recording boppy tunes that are fun and that make you feel happy. Windows down, summer day kind of songs. “Commonwealth” is one of those. Nostalgia hits me hard when I hear this song. For a moment, not a care in the world. Just a 90’s kid again. (Brandon)

18   Playground (1997)

The first four songs to Plankeye’s The One and Only are flawless and closing them out is “Playground” the “funnest” song Plankeye ever put out. Okay maybe it’s their version of “Away in the Manger” on the Tooth and Nail Happy Christmas compilation, but excluding that, “Playground” takes the cake for me. Do I know what this song is about? Not really, but even the fairly nonsensical lyrics fit the tone of the song.

Even though the song is only two and half minutes long, they manage to cram everything into it. Slick punchy guitars that are perfectly reinforced by Luis’s rumbling bass, until they switch and the bass takes center stage, a brief but fun drum fill, a great pre-chorus that feels like a great bridge you get to listen to twice, group vocals, perfectly timed “heys” that just ratchet the energy up even higher, until by the end of the song it feels like the band is racing to the end. Then again, I’m a sucker for punk fueled power pop. (Caleb)

17   Struck by a Chord (1996)

I never listened to Plankeye mainly for their lyrics. The distortion on their guitars was enough for me. Especially in “Struck by a Chord.” This is my favorite sound of all their music. Really fuzzy rhythm guitar and a little psychedelic riff in the background.  

However, the lyrics in this track were some of their best. Poetic. “Quench the violence of my fire.” I didn’t appreciate that as a teenager but I do now. (Brandon)

16   Break my Fall (1999)

Sure, you could argue that after Scott left the band, Plankeye sounded like a different band. I don’t really disagree. But I don’t think that is a bad thing. Relocation feels like a very natural transition from the power punk rock sound they had evolved into for The One and Only. Plus, Eric and Luis quickly established themselves as more than competent lead vocalists, and their voices allowed the band to explore more gentle and subdued musical landscapes. “Break My Fall” is one of the best representations of that sound. It’s mature songwriting, something only possible with age and life experience. It’s truly gorgeous stuff. (Phill)


15   Honey and Oil (1999)

The lyrics are drawn from the fifth chapter of Proverbs. Musically, this may be the hardest the band has ever rocked on a song. Bass player Luis Garcia handles lead vocals on this one and does his best work. I’ve always loved the falsetto on – “She’s as cold as the snoooowww!” (Michael)

14   Push Me Down (Veiled) (1996)

This isn’t the first Plankeye song I ever heard, but it is the one that got me hooked. In my early years as a fan of the band I would have said this was my favorite Plankeye song. It proved they were more than a one note, pop punk band and showed they could write songs with emotional depth. I love the brooding guitar that opens the song, love the way it builds, and the payoff at the end is absolutely worth it. (Michael)

13   Someday (1997)

Come for the harmonica solo, stay for the Calvinism! Even if I may quibble with some of the theology on this song there is no doubt it brings a ton of energy. On The One and Only the band had perfected getting in and out of songs in three minutes or less while still packing plenty of musical punch. This song is no exception, clocking in at 2:31, but still giving us everything we need in a great, up tempo album opener. (Michael)

12   Indivisible (1999)

If your introduction to Plankeye was either Spill or The Spark, you would never know this was the same band. In some ways it wasn’t. The band had gone through a pretty massive transition prior to their 5th studio album, Relocation. Something this delicate, this emotionally complex was a million miles away during their beginning stages. “Indivisible” is a feast for the ears. Beautiful guitar and bass interplay, and what amounts to a duet by Eric and Luis, with some wonderful harmonies.

Bands evolving is a good thing. “Indivisible” is all the proof you need. (Phill)

11   Whisper to Me (1996)

I had loved The Spark, one of the first Christian alternative rock albums I had purchased after my friends and I discovered Tooth and Nail. By the time Commonwealth came out we were not only connected to the scene and anticipating the album’s release, but we were expecting big things from the group’s third album. And this is the way you kick off a highly anticipated album! The opening chords come flying in thundering and driving and yet, they are smooth and melodic, wonderfully orchestrated power pop!

A minute into the song the band drops out and the lone guitar hums as Scott sings from the narrative perspective of Christ talking to one of his children…

You are a son of grace you are a new born saint
You are a chosen temple for me to rest my name

It’s an almost gentle and comforting moment before the band explodes again and Scott finishes off the second verse with some of his best lyrics. (Caleb)

I hung there crucified, I lived and died and lived again
I saw eternity collide to bring you to me

10   So Far From Home (1995)

For a lot of Plankeye fans the energy of this song and The Spark album are the band at its best. It’s a simple song, but its power-punk vibe is electric. I don’t think anyone has paid much attention to the lyrics and that is probably for the better. The song is fun, fast, aggressive, and just plain rocks at the end. (David)


9  It’s A Perfect Day Jerome (1995)

It’s a summer day in 1995. I am mowing the lawn. I have my Walkman. (that is a portable cassette tape player for those who are too young to know) I just bought a new tape at the Christian bookstore. The tape is The Spark by Plankeye. I thought the picture on the front looked cool and it was in the “rock” section. 

For the first time, I heard the song “It’s a Perfect Day Jerome.” Some consider this a sin, but I kept listening to that song over and over before I gave the rest of the tracks a chance. I was hooked on this sound. This was the day when I was introduced to a new kind of music. It was a perfect day indeed! (Bradon)

8   B.C. (1996)

“B.C.” was the first (and probably only) single off the group’s third album Commonwealth and it is everything you want from a lead single, except for a distinguishable chorus, yes, the final lines repeat but they had become so comfortable in their own skin they went with it and the song still wails. “B.C.” displays the group’s refined power pop sound, it’s fast and catchy but you can still feel the punk influence.

The song is wonderfully balanced and flows perfectly from the opening chords to the explosive introduction of the rest of the band, to the driving ending. The music matches the emotional intensity of Scott’s vocal delivery, and the song manages to have a solid message too, a great example of those 90’s Christian bands who wrote songs about their Christian experience without just writing praise and worship songs meant for corporate worship. (Caleb)

People will come and go, but Jesus remains the way,
Put your hope in heaven, and you'll never be the same...

7   One or the Other (1997)

Reread the intro to this article to get my feelings on the power of this song. It is my favorite Plankeye song even though I am not entirely sure what all the lyrics mean. My guess is that at least the first verse refers to some events the band experienced while opening for the Newsboys in 1996-1997. Regardless, I love the musical intro and when the guitars kick in after the second verse and chorus it is all kinds of awesome. Every other song on this album is right around three minutes long, while “One or the Other” goes over the five-minute mark. Three minutes are simply not enough to contain its greatness. (Michael)  

6   How Much I Don’t Know (1997)

I listened to A LOT of Plankeye in the late 90s and early 2000s. In the years since I still revisit the band fairly often. So, while I had never officially ranked their songs, I had a pretty good Idea how things would shake out. Even so, I did my due diligence in preparation for this article and listened to all their music again to make sure my opinions had not changed.

A few songs had not aged particularly well. Most songs ended up about where I thought they would, but one song jumped out to me as being MUCH better than I remembered. “How Much I Don’t Know” is that song. I always liked the song, but wow, it is great. And the lyric – “If You just keep opening doors, I promise that I’ll keep testing the locks” will never not be incredible. (Michael)

5   Bicycle (1996 & 2002)

This is a great song for young couples “living on love” with no money for car repairs. I heard it first in high school, but a few years later I was in a similar situation. It was easy to curse at my broken-down Nissan Sentra and stress over how both my wife and I would get to work. Plankeye puts a Christian spin on this predicament and rejoices in God’s provision and presence. With his daily bread provided for and the living God anywhere he goes, the songwriter (Luis) can rejoice even if he looks foolish on his bike. The guitar is cool and the way it builds musically matches the lyrics. (David)


4   I Can’t Complain (1999)

I’ve made this statement a few times in all the blurbs I have written for Rambling Ever On, but I feel compelled to make it at least one more time. This song should have been a massive radio hit for the band. The one-two punch of this followed by “Goodbye” is staggering.

“I Can’t Complain” has everything you want from a power pop rock song. Drums for days. A guitar riff that is perhaps the best of Eric Balmer’s career. Verse and chorus that complement each other. All of this builds to a stunner of a bridge that segues perfectly into the final, explosive 120 seconds, guitars soaring, drums pounding, chorus and bridge intertwining to form something greater than its parts.

This is my favorite Plankeye song and I’m glad the other voters thought highly enough of it for it to make it into the top 5 of our list. (Phill)

3   Beautiful (1996)

For a long time, this was my favorite Plankey song. It still ended up as my number 2 song, so don’t feel too bad for it. “Beautiful” is a fairly simple song, but it expertly walks a difficult tightrope that few songs are able to. It is both a heartfelt ballad and an energetic and passionate rock song. It doesn’t sacrifice either element. And by not diluting itself in any way, the true beauty of the song shines through. For the lack of a better word, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, the song is simply beautiful and well deserving of landing at number 3 in our Top 30. (Phill)

2   Goodbye (1999)

Eric wrote this song when Scott and Adam left the band. It is a lament for the band’s demise. He played it at a concert and the audience was in tears. So was the singer. After this, they had to record and release this song. Some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Plankeye has a lot of fun, cool, and aggressive songs, but this one is a uniquely rare beauty. Its melancholy beauty is why it was played on TV drama soundtracks.

God gave us the gift of music to express the combination of feelings that mere speech fails to capture. This song takes us to a place of pain. It is a pain that we all experience, the end of an era, the loss of a friendship, or moving to another place on the map. Several songs capture that feeling well, but this one may do it better than any other. I dare you not to cry. (David)

1   Open House (1995)

This is the one that put the band on the map. “Open House” has always felt to me like the musical equivalent of a car driving a little too fast, about to spin out of control, yet somehow never does. I guess it is only fitting that the first time I heard this song I was driving (carefully going the speed limit, of course!) on I-440 in Nashville. Adam Ferry sounds like he could lose the beat with his drumming at any point, the vocals are raw and unpolished.

These comments are not criticisms of the song, in fact, they are part of what makes this song special. The band takes us for an energetic ride and nearly 30 years later I still remember how I first felt hearing Scott yell out “You’ve gotta move if you’ll be free, you’ve gotta bow your head, you’ve gotta give it up, BE FREE!!!” (Michael)

This song made it to the top of our list. Why? It isn’t a soul-lifting epic or a melancholy tear-jerker. “Open House” is a fast, moody, aggressive punk rock song about God’s love. This song is the number one song because when Plankeye fans think about the band they love they think of this song. They think of its energy. They think of being a teenager jumping in a mosh pit. It is a fun-sounding song about being “face down in a pool of my own sorrow.” It was 90s rock. Everything was at least a little depressing. More importantly, the song is hopeful. God has the broken man on his mind.

This is their signature song. With that, we sign off. (David)

Final Thoughts

Dave doesn’t have the authority to sign off for the group so we will keep this going for a few more sentences. As always, we are so thankful to our readers. Your response makes all our work on these articles worth it. Let us know what you think about our Plankeye Top 30. Post your thoughts in the comments or at any of our social media platforms.

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6 thoughts on “Plankeye: The Top 30 Songs

  • May 15, 2024 at 4:21 pm

    I have heard of Plankeye. But I am not certain if I have ever heard Plankeye. I uploaded your Spotify playlist and will give them a listen on my way home from work. I love when people put Spotify playlists on their blogs. I made up a Spotify playlist for the A to Z challenge this year. The link is below by clicking my name. I enjoy this blog and have it listed on my blogroll.

    • May 16, 2024 at 8:13 am

      Thanks, Dave! We hope you enjoy the playlist. And thanks for reading Rambling Ever On as well.

  • May 15, 2024 at 10:04 pm

    Loved Plankeye in college. Commented this on the Fb post, but one of the best shows I ever went to was Newsboys, Third Day, Plankeye at the Ryman on the front row. Just wow.

    • May 16, 2024 at 8:13 am

      I wish I could have gone to that show. I went to the cheap concerts when I was in college and anything at the Ryman was out of my price range.

  • May 16, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    I’m a man. I’m 42! When I say we sign off, we sign off.

    • May 19, 2024 at 5:59 pm

      Look at me! I am the captain now!


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