As the year winds down, here's our list for our Best Christian Pop albums with snippets and links to our reviews.
1. Jessa Anderson "Whole"
"Whole," in reflection, is the poster child of what every contemporary Christian album needs to look like. Not only are lofty issues such as God, the Gospel and worship addressed but out of the overflow of our faith, there are songs here that also teaches how we can take the Gospel and make it a reality in our relationships, romance and marriages.
2. Brooke Fraser "Brutal Romantic"
"Brutal Romantic" is Fraser's philosophical treatise set to music. On these 10 newly written cuts we hear meandering through a labyrinth of life's knotty issues, such as the triviality in our relationships, the rustle between life and death, the worth of human life, the tyranny of the new media and so forth. Waxing poetic, Fraser is also not afraid to weave abstract concepts and metaphors into her work that forms a tapestry that needs to be carefully appreciated.
3. Jonny Diaz "Let It Fly"
It's no small fleet for any man to know how many fancy pillows his wife places on their bed. Jonny Diaz is not a singer-songwriter that paints with big broad musical brush strokes. Rather, with a sensitive soul that comes from vigilance kept before God's word and a deep sensitivity towards others, Diaz's songs elicit nuances of truth that often escapes the insouciant. This is what makes "Let It Fly" such a gripping affair: these are songs brimming with so much carefully crafted insights that will truly get our minds thinking, our hearts pumping and our souls searching again
4. Veritas "Veritas"
In our age of manufactured goods over artisan rusticity, Veritas is a breath of fresh air. They have come to put a new face to Contemporary Christian music with their impeccable voices that soar with an operatic bombast accompanied by their unique synthesis of classical, pop and Christian music. Just as Il Divo, Charlotte Church, Andrea Boccelli, Luciano Pavarotti have brought their classical trained voices to pop songs, Veritas brings their pitch perfect harmonies to some of Christian music's most memorable songs.
5. Michael W. Smith "Sovereign"
Though the album cover depicts a cross-legged Michael W. Smith comfortably dressed in soft cotton and a woolen cardigan, "Sovereign" is by no means a down-home acoustic affair as his preceding disc "Hymns" was. Rather, "Sovereign" is such an ultra modern worship album with a big, sleek and polished sound that he could give his younger contemporaries (such as Elevation Worship, Hillsong United) a run for their money. Instead of raising up the age flag and retreating into an oldies act, "Sovereign" is Smith at his competitive best.
6. Ginny Owens "I Know a Secret"
"I Know a Secret," like most of the songs in Owens' canon, comprises of 14 songs co-written or written by Owens. In the songs that she has co-written, she has enlisted some of Contemporary Christian Music's best scribes including Dove-winning Songwriter of the Year Cindy Morgan (Natalie Grant, Point of Grace) and lan Eskelin (Francesca Battistelll, Chris August). Visually impaired since she was merely two years-old, Owens has more of a reason than all of us to be discontented with life. Yet, on the title cut, "I Know a Secret" she shares with us the secret of her contentment. Nevertheless, she doesn't really tell us her secret until we get to the second verse of the song.
7. Various Artists "Heaven is for Real: Songs Inspired by the Film and Best-Selling Book" Soundtrack
Of the 10 songs on the disc, 2 of them were recorded specifically for the movie, while the other 8 are gathered from already released music by today's biggest selling Christian artists. Of the two new songs, Hillsong's matriarch Darlene Zschech is the soundtrack's gem. A newly self-composed worship ballad, "Heaven in Me" finds Zschech crooning softly before exploding into a dynamic bridge of worship calling to mind Zechech's soaring "I Will Wait." The other new entry is Read You and Me's "Heaven." Of note is the cameo appearance of Colton Burpo in the song.
8. Amy Grant "In Motion: The Remixes"
After all, she (Grant) was not only the queen of contemporary Christian music, but in her 90s heydays her sceptre was all over the Billboard Hot 100 chart with hits such as "Baby Baby,' "Every Heartbeat" and "Lucky One." "In Motion: The Remixes" finds some of the music industry's greatest producers and DJs such as Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, 7th Heaven, and Dave Aude taking up the task of giving nine out of Grant's favorite songs updated and remix treatments.
9. Danny Gokey "Hope in Front of Me"
Helmed by Keith Thomas (Amy Grant, Chris Mann, Heather Headley), Josh Crosby (Cher, Owl City, Matt Kearney) and Bernie Herms (Natalia Grant, Barbra Streisand, Casting Crowns), "Hope in Front of Me" trawls a greater net in terms of themes and styles than its predecessor. There are songs here that Contemporary Christian Music radio would devour. This includes the lead single and title cut "Hope in Front of Me." Fueled by his unimaginable heartache over the passing of Sophia, Gokey chronicles how Jesus can lead us from despair to hope again.
10. Colton Dixon "Anchor"
But two albums deep into Colton Dixon's career only reveal that the 22 year-old is very much a star of his own. He's not just a mere mirage of another superstar wandering aimlessly in the sonic desert dearth of identity. Rather, Dixon is an oasis himself pegged with his own distinctiveness. On "Anchor," his sophomore record for Sparrow Records, Dixon has honed in his own sound. Utilizing a myriad of elements from rock, pop, electronic, dance and punk, his music is very much the product of the Millennium.
Tags : best christian pop albums of 2014 Jessa Anderson brooke fraser Hillsong Brooke Fraser Jonny Diaz Michael W. Smith ginny owens danny gokey Colton Dixon Amy Grant Darlene Zschech heaven is for real veritas