Pillar is known for hard-hitting music, but few songs have hit harder or faster than “For the Love of the Game.”

The blazing title track from Pillar’s new album actually started hitting the airwaves months ago, when it was used to promote coverage of the World Series. Since then, the song has popped up on “SportsCenter” and “College Gameday” and hit No. 1 on the Christian radio charts.

It’s an ideal situation for the rock band’s lead singer and songwriter Rob Beckley. “It kind of brings the sports and the music worlds together,” Beckley said. “I love sports and I’m a musician.”

The band’s fifth album contains tracks that urge believers to reach out to the suffering (“State of Emergency”), consider spiritual struggles (“Throwdown”) and reflect on our relationship with God (“I Fade Away”). However, the song that grabs the most attention is “For the Love of the Game.”

“This song is getting by far the most reaction and recognition by fans,” Beckley said. “We really want to put something out that people can connect to and, when they do, it’s just so humbling. It’s very satisfying.”

Over the last decade, the band has garnered four Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association, but this winter brought its first Grammy nomination, for “The Reckoning.” The award for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album ended up going to Ashley Cleveland’s “Before the Daylight’s Shot,” but the Pillar guys were just happy — and humbled — to be considered.

“That’s awesome,” Beckley said. “It’s a first-time emotion, so it’s pretty cool. I keep saying they can’t take the words ‘Grammy-nominated’ away from you now.”

“The Reckoning” was harder and darker than the new album. However, the transition to a lighter tone wasn’t intentional, Beckley said. “I don’t necessarily think that we meant to do it,” he said. “I think we were just having so much fun working on this record that it was what came out.”

That doesn’t mean the album sidesteps matters of faith. “My faith is going to come out in whatever I do,” Beckley said. “I love God, and that’s a big part of my life. But I love making music, too.

“If somebody wants to listen to our music just because they think it sounds good, that’s fine with me. And if somebody wants to listen to our music because it motivates them or helps them to grow in life and experience new things, that’s even better.”

In wrapping up, Beckley wanted to express his support for troops serving overseas.

“Pillar has always been an avid supporter of the troops. And not just supporting them, but believe in them,” said Beckley, who served eight years in the Army Reserve and is the son of a soldier.

“We believe in their efforts and the good that they’re brining to the world.”

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Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.

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