As 2014 comes to a close, we look back at some of our favourite worship albums of the year. Here are our favorites with snippets and links to our reviews:
1. Hillsong "No Other Name"
The album forges ahead onto new grounds. Instead of diluting their lyrical content by borrowing stacks of clichés from their secular peers, they have harkened back to the rich heritage of the church giving these songs a heftier theological depth and dimension. "This I Believe (The Creed)," for instance, is a stellar album opener that is based on the Apostles Creed. The beauty of "This I Believe (The Creed)" is that it does not come across as stuffy or archaic. Rather, with a palatable and infectious chorus led by Matt Crocker, it'll get you singing in no time. Also, going back to its liturgical/Biblical roots is the Brooke Ligertwood (Fraser), Scott Ligertwood and Jonas Myrin co-write "Our Father" which finds its muse in the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father," bears all the imprints of a great Brooke Fraser song, insightful in its lyrics yet having a tune that inspires us to worship (and pray).
2. Amy Perry "Glory All Around"
The first thing to note about "Glory All Around" is that the absence of her band mates has not made Perry abandoned an iota of her verve or cojones. In fact, there are many times you can almost feel as if Perry was about to jump out of the speakers as she sings with so much passionate for her Lord.
3. Bethel Worship "You Make Me Brave"
Though framed with a careening guitar and bustling drums exploding through this worship burner, the message of "You Made Me Brave" speaks of our vulnerability before the Creator. This is more than a worship song yet it is no less either. Rather, it is through worship, that this Amanda Cook led and composed song gives us a handle of how to deal with our fears.
4. Chris Tomlin "Love Ran Red"
Though this new record contains mostly formerly unreleased material, "Love Ran Red" feels like a "greatest hits" package. Every entry here is so power packed with potential that it's a challenge to decipher which would be the next single. More importantly, "Love Ran Red" is going to continue Tomlin's pandemic streak of worship staples ready to serve the church worldwide adding to his already burgeoning canon of songs such as "Our God," "How Great is our God," "Jesus, Messiah" and "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)."
5. Various Artists "Before Amen: A Worship Collection"
Released by Integrity Music, "Before Amen: A Worship Collection" finds the imprint lining up some of their biggest artists to the fore with Darlene Zschech, Planetshakers, Paul Baloche, Soul Survivors, and Rend Collective. In addition, other guests including Kathyrn Scott, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith are also enlisted in the track listing. Yet, these songs are not all jumble together without much forethought. Rather, the songs are so arranged that they reflect the flow of the book's themes. And they reflect the tenets of Lucado's model prayer that he advocates right through the book.
6. Beth Croft "Rule in My Heart"
Yet, one of the album's major strengths is that Beth Croft places her own distinct fingerprints right across these 10 cuts. Instead of trying to chameleon herself as one of the hundreds of the worship leaders coming from the US, Croft brings to her songs her stunning English flavors. Borrowing the cool Brit-dance amps with that electronic bass beats, "Make the World Dance" and "Love Takes Over" abandon the usual trite stadium rock sound. Still they bristle with a youthful freshness that will definitely win her many younger fans bopping in the worship of our God.
7. Newboys "Hallelujah for the Cross"
"Hallelujah for the Cross," finds the boys taking a retro step in recording an album full of hymns, with one brand new song and a hybrid song where they have meshed their own hit "Where You Belong" with the hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." Produced by Seth Mosley (Stellar Kart, Michael W. Smith & for KING & COUNTRY), "Hallelujah for the Cross" is not a yawn fest of churchy hymns played on organ and piano. Rather, bristling with a pristine rock and pop sound where keys, guitars and percussion are prominently positioned, "Hallelujah for the Cross" bears all the imprints of a Newsboys' record.
8. Lincoln Brewster "Oxygen"
Pouring his heart and soul into the crafting of this brand new record, "Oxygen" is not your average phone-in affair. Rather, brimming with a fresh assurance steeped in God's covenantal faithfulness, these songs are what brought the Brewsters through their most painful and fearful experiences.
9. Cindy Cruse Ratcliff "Heaven Raining Down"
Cindy Cruse Ratcliff doesn't play coy with God. Her song titles ("Something Greater," "Earth and Sky," "Kingdom Come" and "Heaven Raining Down") are most daring. Blazon with a fire-like audacity, Ratcliff approaches God with a tenacity and boldness that would not let God go until she sees heaven opens and greater things happening.
10. Steffany Gretzinger "The Undoing"
"The Undoing" is a worship album, but it's a worship album with a difference. Often when we think of worship records, we think of the live recordings where an army of singers sing on a stage of an arena-sized stadium pinwheeled to the frenzied din of cascading drum and thundering guitars. But this is not the case with Gretzinger's new record. This is worship music for the times "in-betweens:" this is the disc you would want to play in between Sundays. It's the type of music you would want to play early in the morning when the tepid sun nibbles upon your face as you open up the Bible waiting to hear a word from the Lord.
Tags : best worship albums 2014 hallels favorite worship albums hillsong worship Beth Croft Amy Perry Chris Tomlin Darlene Zschech bethel worship Cindy Cruse Ratcliff steffany gretzinger Newsboys lincoln brewster Integrity Music Integrity Music Lincoln Brewster