On September 11th, 2001, P.O.D.’s Satellite was released. The release day was supposed to be the band’s coming out party, and indeed it was considering the success of the record – often considered the band’s best. That hope, however, was balanced out by the devastating 9/11 attacks that stopped an entire nation in its tracks. While it took the shell-shocked country much time to come to their senses, Satellite was a sort of perfect storm album that is both a time capsule musically, and lyrically as well.
Led by massive hits like the infectious “Boom”, spiritually-uplifting “Alive”, and the (sadly) still culturally-relevant “Youth Of The Nation”, the album catapulted the band to stardom. Combining rock, hip-hop, and reggae and including a spiritually-aware sense of lyrical discourse, P.O.D. managed to create an appealing record that sold incredibly well (over 3 million, just in the USA), and appealed to the youth and the lost.
There’s plenty of great songs here outside of the singles, of course. Admittedly, the second half drags on a bit. However, tracks like “Ridiculous” and “Without Jah, Nothin'” show off the band’s prominent reggae and hardcore punk influences, while instrumentals like “Celestial” (briefly) show a different side of the band that provide a nice segue in transition. It’s important to examine the cultural relevance of “Youth Of The Nation” in particular. A song that depicts and references both the Columbine and Santana High School shootings, along with other tales of disaffected youth, it’s especially effective now considering the focus on mental health. “Alive” in particular was instrumental in spreading a message of spiritual hope in the face of dark times – and an uncertain future.
Every day is a new day
I’m thankful for every breath I take
Why is Satellite still a solid listen today? It’s both infectious (seriously, listen to incendiary opening track “Set It Off” for proof) and intelligent in equal measure, and it doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. While the band has never been able to top the commercial and critical success of the record, few bands can claim they’ve written anthems as important as “Alive” and “Youth Of The Nation”. That, in and of itself, is something to be appreciated.