2018 saw a barrage of worship album releases. With Christian music leaning more and more towards serving the church with worship songs, there are no lack of releases. Here we have compiled our favorite worship albums released this year with a nod towards a couple of newer names to boot.
10. Worship Central "Stir a Passion"
Worship Central certainly knows how to stir a congregation to worship. Though many worship albums these days are marketed as soundtracks for congregational worship, an en mass of them are really more a collection of individualistic efforts by lead singers who function more or less as the "stars" of the record. You won't find it here on this new Integrity music release "Stir a Passion." Not only have the leaders checked their egos at the door, but this record has a rounded congregational sound with songs geared towards the entire church. But before we delve into a deeper exposition of this new record, a word needs to be said about the team.
9. Here Be Lions "Only a Holy God"
In his iconic portrayal of Jesus as Aslan the Lion, C. S. Lewis has rightly described Christ as good, yet he's not safe. The same can be said of Here Be the Lion's debut album for Integrity Music, "Only a Holy God." On one hand, Here Be Lions joins countless worship teams all across the world in offering songs that boldly proclaim the relentless goodness of God climaxing in the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though such songs are by no means unique, Here Be Lions adds dimension and depth by their overwhelming passion and sincerity. On the other hand, Here Be Lions brings another type of songs to the canon that we don't hear too often. Worship songs that are dangerous; songs that prick our souls to repentance in the face of our holy God. In our feel-good milieu such songs are an anathema, yet they are a so Biblical and they are so much needed in our churches today.
8. Rivers & Robots "Discovery"
Maybe it's because they are from the UK. Maybe it's because they can interweave folk sensibilities and a slight blotch of electronica into their Jason Mraz-esque pop. Maybe it's because they are quarantined from the assembly line of recycled cliches and guitar riffs. There's something very addictive about Rivers & Robots' new Integrity Music release "Discovery." This is an album that will find yourself returning to again and again. If you are tired of the stadium-shaking rock based type of worship music, Rivers & Robots is a breath of fresh air. Instead of pounding the beats into you, there's an easy going sway to these songs. Without being too languid that they sound soporific and yet not overbearing that they give you a headache, these songs are a balm to the hurting heart and a joy for the weary feet to tap along to.
7. Sean Feucht "Wild"
Bethel Music's Sean Feucht's "Wild" is described as a missionally-inspired endeavor. Whilst many worship records are mostly centered around God and the local church, Feucht takes a further step in crafting songs detailing God's overarching salvific plan for the world ( "Till The Whole Earth Looks Like Heaven"), God's love for refugees ("Still Will I Love"), and how God motivates us to be his heart and hands ("Heart and Hands"). But this isn't just a mere attempt to corner a new sector in the genre and neither is Feucht a mere charlatan. Rather, Feucht himself is a missionary who has lead worship in uncharted regions of the world, from war-torn areas in Iraq to the underground church in China. To be even more precise, Feucht travels to 20-30 nations per year planting furnaces of worship and prayer, training, mobilizing, leading worship and speaking.
6. Natalie Cromwell "River"
Church songs are the ultimate songs. While other musical genres will one day dissipate in the sight of our returning King, worship songs will still be sung incessantly all day and night. They are the vocabularies and communicative strategies of the regenerated. For record #3, Cromwell has wisely decided to invest in the eternal, by releasing a 5-song EP of worship songs. They are made for the church to sing, such that when they are sung, they will not only bring us to the throne room of God, they have ways of confronting our own sins with the glory of the Gospel. Granted that there are only 5 songs, they are all top-tiered material: three of them are good and two of them are off the charts sublime.
5. New Wine Worship "You Restore My Soul"
If there's such thing as love at first hearing, it must have had happened while listening to New Wine Worship's "You Restore My Soul." While some worship albums take repeated listenings for one to warm up to, there's something about this new record that immediately grabs us. Such instantaneous gratification is attributive to a couple of factors. First, there's a ring of familiarity to this disc's song choices. This immediately engages us to want to worship along. New Wine Worship have not only covered some of today's trending worship songs (such as Chris McClarney's "Yes and Amen," Cory Asbury's "Reckless Love" and Phil Wickham's "Living Hope"), but they have also gathered included the best of the recent Integrity Music's releases (such as Worship Central's "Stir a Passion" and "Pray" plus Chris Sayburn's "Nothing But Grace" and "Spirit and Truth"). Second, because there are only three previously unreleased songs ("You Restore Me," "What a Saviour" and "The King is Here") they are cherry picked from the absolute best.
4. Lincoln Brewster "God of the Impossible"
With "God of the Impossible," Brewster's first album in four years, he doesn't disappoint when it comes to his prized instrument. The big elongated guitar loops of "Deep Down (Walk Through Fire)" sound like the cushions God wraps around Brewster as he sings about how God protects us even when we walk through fire. The plaintive guitar wails on the moving ballad "While I Wait" sounds like Brewster's sympathetic companion as he worships in the midst of God's silence. Moreover, "While I Wait" is choke full of heart-hitting lines with the favourite being: "I live by faith and not by sight/Sometimes miracle takes time."
3. Andrew Peterson "Resurrection Letters Vol. 1"
Perhaps Star War was Andrew Peterson's muse. When the popular movie franchise decided to release the fourth instalment ahead of its three prequels, Peterson follows suit. In 2008, Peterson released "Resurrection Vol. 2," only to have fans wait for a mere ten years before the two prequels were released. This year, Peterson released "Resurrection Letters: Prologue" on February 8th. A little over a month later, "Vol. 1" arrives. As the titular suggests, "Vol. 1" is a 9-song collection that centers around the last week of our Lord's final week before his death and resurrection. Being a thoughtful writer who invests equal portions of richly textured poetry and red-blooded emotions, this is the perfect soundtrack to experience Holy Week in its three-dimension vividness.
2. Passion "Whole Heart"
Passion's latest album "Whole Heart" is as big as the crowd that came to its live recording. A conference that is designed to minister to youngsters in high schools and universities, the event had drawn in over 32,000 students this year garnered from 35 countries. This album, a live recording of the worship music at the conference, is just as big. Featuring a mammoth team, this album features lead vocals from the who' who of worship music, including Matt Redman, Crowder, Kristian Stanfill, Tauren Wells and Melodie Malone.
1. Hillsong Worship "There is More"
Any encounter with God, combat or surrender, will always result in more. This is the premise of Hillsong Worship's 26th non-seasonal live album, "There is More." Citing the Biblical example of Jacob: the patriarch, who wrestled with an angel before surrendering, not only received a new name but a new purpose. This album presents 11 encounters with God which hopefully will result in more soundtracks of worship in churches for the years to come. Interestingly, this is also the first Hillsong live album to feature art work of the aforementioned struggle between the angel and Jacob.
Tags : best worship albums 2018 hillsong worship rivers and robots lincoln brewster here be lions Worship Central passion worship passion Sean Feucht natalie cromwell Andrew Peterson new wine worship Integrity Music