The 5 Best Songs by Nathaniel Rateliff

With the recent news that Denver-based singer/songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff is set to release a new album with his rollicking group the Night Sweats (South of Here drops on June 28—see the new single here), we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the big-voiced, boisterous artist and some of his most beloved best songs to date.

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A long-toiling fan favorite in the Rocky Mountain region, it took some time for Rateliff to hit on a more national or even global scale, but he did in 2015 thanks to the big-hearted album Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and its breakout hit single “S.O.B,” which kicks up the energy and gets the blood flowing with every spin.

[RELATED: Nathaniel Rateliff Brings “Redemption” to Soundtrack of Justin Timberlake Film ‘Palmer’]

Here below, let’s dive into a handful of Rateliff’s powerful songs, tracks that truly define the 35-year-old’s talent and compelling sonic nature.


This standalone track was released late in 2020 for the movie Palmer, which featured pop star-turned-actor Justin Timberlake. When you think about the powerful-voiced Rateliff teaming up with the incandescent Timberlake, you might expect something that could rattle your windows. But instead, the song is more muted, solemn, and pensive. It’s also a near-perfect song. Later, Rateliff performed it on Saturday Night Live. On it, he sings, as if in a church choir,

In the hours that I’ve known
And of all of my woes
Are the cause to lay you low
I demand they turn to whole

Would you set me free?
Just set me free

“And It’s Still Alright”

The title song from Rateliff’s 2020 solo album, this track combines the best elements of the artist: a voice that gets your heart beating and an artfulness that makes you believe in something greater than yourself. He inspires through the darkness. He can lean into either extreme, too, as the other songs on this list show. But on this track, he blends both with exquisite expertise. On “And It’s Still Alright,” he sings,

It ain’t alright, the hardness of my head
Now, close your eyes and spin around
Say, hard times you could find it
Ain’t the way that you want
But it’s still alright

Late at night, do you lay around wondering?
Counting all the lines, ain’t so funny now
Say, times are hard, you get this far, but it
Ain’t the way that you want
I’ll be damned if this old man don’t
Start to count on his losses
But it’s still alright

“Time Stands”

Released on the 2020 album And It’s Still Alright, this song is a journal entry put to music. Leaning into an acoustic guitar and believing in his voice alone, as a solo performance, this song has more heart than a deck of cards. It’s a poem, a love letter, a song that some of us might put on repeat over and over to remind of the power and sonic touch of a great song. On the track, Rateliff sings,

Are you just too old
Or too young to carry?
Time stands in a duel
And I stand for you

Now you’re pouring out your hate
At every difference you found
You won’t even listen
To reason at all
Not questioning your faith
Far be it from me
But you would speak of love while
Tying ones hands


“S.O.B.,” from the 2015 self-titled album Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, was a breakout sensation. For someone who might be more considered a folk artist today, the track was played on mainstream radio stations during sets with Camila Cabello and other pop acts. Combine a big back beat with a need to cut loose and have a drink and you get the secret sauce that comprises this tune, which put him on the map and jump-started his career. On the bop, Rateliff sing-shouts,

I’m gonna need someone to help me
I’m gonna need somebody’s hand
I’m gonna need someone to hold me down
I’m gonna need someone to care
I’m gonna writhe and shake my body
I’ll start pulling out my hair
I’m going to cover myself with the ashes of you
And nobody’s gonna give a damn

“I Need Never Get Old”

Rateliff’s voice can sound like a party. It can resemble a big barrel of whisky, the liquor flowing free from the spout. It’s a gift. And this song from the debut album from his rollicking band is a prime example. The album’s opening track, it sets the stage for what will become Rateliff’s breakout LP. Put the record on and just watch the room light up. On this song, which highlights his festive vocals, Rateliff sings,

Can we be there
Oh, just think of the time
Thought of love so strange
Said you never knew
While I try my best
To cover our eyes
It’s a common way to blame and hide the truth

I know that some will say it matters but little babe
Oh, but, come on and mean it to me
I need it so bad

I needed to try
I needed to fall
I needed your love I’m burning away
I need never get old

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Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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