Best Worship Albums of 2015

matt redman

As 2015 winds to a close within the next few weeks, let's take a look at the worship albums released this week.  Based on the worship albums we have reviewed this year, we have pick up our Top 10.  We have included an excerpt of our review and a link to each review.

10.  City Harmonic "We Are One" (Integrity Music)

When was the last time you heard a worship song that addresses the Holy Trinity?  While many worship songs these days thrive on making Jesus the church's uber boyfriend, few are the paeans that address the lofty issues pertinent to our faith; issues that give definition to the core of our Christian beliefs.  The City Harmonic's "One," a ballad lifted off their latest Integrity Music release "We Are," is one of those exceptions.

9. ResLife Worship "Higher" (Dream Worship)

ResLife Worship's "Higher" check marks every category for what warrants a stellar worship album.  For starters, they are inclusive in their approach.  Instead of being deadlocked into a specific tempo or style of music, here you will find a diversity of styles enmeshed across the record.  From those who can't get enough of EDM-driven worship a la Hillsong Young and Free to those who prefer a classic stadium rock sound to those who are more avant grande in their musical taste, the 12 original songs here are diverse enough that they speak to worshippers of variegated musical tastes.

8. Cindy Cruse Ratcliff "Edge of the Universe" (Dream Worship)

Every Cindy Cruse Ratcliff album release is an event.  "Edge of the Universe" is no exception.  As vast and momentous as the titular suggests, this new album is a full-blown, state of the art, cinematic experience of worship.  On certain tracks, you will be blown away by the grandeur of the sounds and be transported from earth to God's throne room where we witness the transcendent and the holy.  These moments will leave us breathless with awe and worship.

7. Casting Crowns "A Live Worship Experience" (Reunion)

"A Live Worship Experience," as the title makes apparent, is Casting Crowns' first live worship album.  Though they are not novices as far as live albums are concerned, this is their first album where all songs are directed vertically to God. Targeting mostly worship ballads and adding their own folk-rock sound, this album truly is a worship album, it creates for us the soundtrack for our own personal and corporate worship of our Almighty God.

6. Hillsong Worship "OPEN HEAVEN/River Wild" (Hillsong/Sparrow)

Hillsong Worship's brand new album stylized as "OPEN HEAVEN/River Wild" fills a lacuna in today's canon of worship music. These are songs that are made for God's throne room.  Ask Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and the Apostle John about the secret of their longevity and tenacity of their ministries, they would all agree that it's because each of them has seen God in his exalted throne.  Unless we have met God in his glory, our lives would never be transformed.  The songs on Hillsong Worship's twenty fourth live worship takes us on an excursion into the heavenlies.

5. Planetshakers "Outback Worship Sessions" (Integrity Music)

"Outback Worship Sessions" is targeted to a broader demographic than just the below 35s.  Easing on the volume and electronics, "Outback Worship Sessions" finds Planetshakers giving seven of their more popular worship anthems and three newly crafted numbers a more organic, warmer, stripped-down, and intimate treatment.

4.  Hope Chapel "Whatever May Come" (Dream Worship)

Two laudatory observations need to be made at the outset of this review:  first, the team is not afraid of soaking their songs in scripture.  Whilst many a lesser artist would keep the Bible at a tangent and treating their songs more as sacred love songs to Jesus, this is not the case with Hope Chapel.  The second complimentary observation is that Hope Chapel like Hillsong Worship and Passion Worship are no sloths in their craft.  Rather than putting themselves on autopilot mode in borrowing clichés and recycled riffs, the team has worked hard to make sure the songs are singable and melodious enough for the most tune-death congregant to singalong.

3. Darlene Zschech "In Jesus' Name: A Legacy of Worship and Faith" (Integrity)

Darlene Zschech singlehandedly opened the way for the rise of prominent recording female worship leaders.  Prior to Zschech, Integrity Music only had on its roster men such as Paul Baloche, Marty Nystrom and Don Moen.  But the imprint, which has always made it its mandate to service the church with her woship repertoire, took a chance with a suburban Australian church named Hillsong Church and its worship pastor Darlene Zschech.  With countless CCLI favorites spearheaded by Zschech's signature ballad "Shout to the Lord," the rest is history.

2. Christy Nockels "Let It Be Jesus" (Sixstepsrecords)

Christy Nockels has found her life's calling.  Though she has been dabbling in Christian music through various career permutations, "Let It Be Jesus" is her first ever solo live worship album. This record stridently cements her as one of the church's premium worship leaders, escalating her to the lofty heights of female worship stalwarts such as Darlene Zschech, Kim Walker-Smith and Beth Croft.

1. Matt Redman "Unbroken Praise" (Sixsteprecords)

You don't have to be a prophet or the son of a prophet to know that many songs on this brand new record "Unbroken Praise" will become the anthems of many churches and Christians in days to come. This is because there are two alliterated factors are indispensable to Matt Redman's patented sound: Redman's songs are conterminously devotional as well as descriptive.  Some songs are so descriptive with theologically erudition that they feel more like a muddy essay written by a first year seminary student rather than something congregants can sing to.  Then you have the other extreme where worship songs are so devotionally syrupy that they sound more like bimbo-minded love songs devoid of any theological depth.   The worship songs of Redman consist of both.  Lyrically, they are meaty with lots of Scripturally-textured insights for us to sink our teeth in.  But they are also devotional in that they avail opportunities for us to release ourselves into God's awesome presence.


Tags : best worship albums 2015 Matt Redman Darlene Zschech Christy Nockels hope chapel dream records Planetshakers Integrity Music hillsong worship Casting Crowns Cindy Cruse Ratcliff The City Harmonic reslife worship worship songs

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