You can’t truly be someone’s friend unless you really get to know him.

So it only seems natural that the guys in Hawk Nelson would open up for their new album, “Hawk Nelson Is My Friend.”

“On the first two records, we wrote from our fans’ perspective,” with plenty of songs about boy-girl relationships and high school drama, said bass player Daniel Biro.

However, Biro said a little piece of himself was attached to every song in the pop-punk band’s third album. “We were willing to share a little more about ourselves.”

The results are sometimes nostalgic and sometimes painful. “Not the Same” examines the feelings that arise when returning to hometown haunts — in Hawk Nelson’s case Peterborough, Ontario. And the ballad “I Still Miss You” tells of frontman Jason Dunn losing a beloved grandmother who “showed me love, and all the ways of God.”

And other songs lean toward the reflective.

For example, “Let’s Dance” discusses getting to know yourself and learning to be comfortable with it. But that self-reflection doesn’t turn dull. The song’s strong rhythm can be traced to a suggestion from Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch to try a “dancy-type song idea.”

Biro said that the band also benefited from working with producer David Bendeth.

“His engineers were on a whole new level of musicianship,” Biro said. “Like, I spent two weeks alone on the bass … They really pushed me personally.”

The results were invigorating: “It revived something in me. … It’s not just a job; it’s a passion,” Biro said.

And that comes through in songs like the energetic “Friend Like That” — which has already climbed into the top five on the Christian and Christian rock radio charts. The song proves that Hawk Nelson still likes to cut loose and have some fun, but Biro said it delivers the band’s core message.

“Everyone has a friend in Jesus. We try not to say it in a cheesy way but we want to get that through to kids,” he said.

“That’s God, he’s with us every step of the way. It takes some time to learn that.”

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

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