If you are going on a long road trip and the iPod is not an option, what albums would you choose to take with you? Essentially, that is how I came up with my top five albums. I already listed my top five secular albums (and wrote about my criteria as well). Today, I am listing my favorite Christian albums.
Before I start though, I need to list some honorable mentions. I realized that coming up with only five Christian albums was difficult for me, so let me start with some that almost made the list:
- “Kansas” by Jennifer Knapp Great first album that for various reasons I no longer listen to that much, which kept it out of the top five (sorry Allison Morgan).
- “Love and War and the Sea in between” by Josh Garrels Garrels is a great song writer and this is my favorite album of his.
- “Thrifty Mr. Kickstar” by Dryve I would imagine that very few of my readers have ever heard of this band and that is probably because this was their only album, but it is great from start to finish.
- “Jars of Clay” by Jars of Clay I am not a huge Jars of Clay fan, but this was an important album for Christian music (and for me as a listener to Christian music).
- “Economy” by John Mark McMillan I wanted to make my top five a top six for this album. Some of his fans might not even like this album, but I think it is his best (with “The Medicine” a close second).
Ok, so enough honorable mentions, now on to the top five:
5. “Caedmon’s Call” by Caedmon’s Call I first heard Caedmon’s at a concert at Union. They were just about to realase this album and I was hooked. When it did release, I was not disappointed. “40 Acres” is also a good album, but this one does not have a bad song on it.
4. “Coming to Life” by The Normals Andy Osenga was the lead singer for The Normals and I love him as an artist (he started playing with Caedmon’s after Derek Webb left for a solo career). The Normals had a big hit off their first album (‘Everything’) but the album was not that good. Their second album was complete (even though it was not as successful). The best song I have ever heard on battling lust is on this album (“Black Dress”) and the title track is so raw and real. Just a great album.
3. “Legend of Chin” by Switchfoot This is Switchfoot’s first album and in my opinon their best (“The Beautiful Letdown” is good as well but it had re-recordings of songs from other albums so I did not include it here). ‘Chem 6A’ is still one of my favorite Christian Rock songs (take that Loreli Gilmore) and the whole album is a good representation of a great band.
2. “Sink or Swim” by Waterdeep Truth is, I could have listed “To Chase Away the Birds” in this spot as well. Waterdeep is my favorite band and they were at their best with these two albums. Lyrics are great, music is great, just doesn’t get much better. For the record, “Enter the Worship Circle” that they recorded with 100 Portraits is still the best worship album and “Live at the New Earth” (which is amazing) is still the best live album. So if I ever do those lists you already know my number ones. If you have never heard of Waterdeep then shame on you! Go fix that by downloading “Sink or Swim.” (I guarantee you will be wondering how you never heard of them by the time you get to ‘I know the plans’).
1. “A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band” by Rich Mullins Rich is probably my favorite songwriter of all time. Truth is, I did not like a number of his recordings (he was a victim of the 80s and their infatuation with all things keyboard). And some of my favorite songs of his are not even on this album (‘Calling out Your Name’ and ‘The love of God’). But I still believe that this is the best album of all time. It makes me want to go on a road trip just to listen to these songs as I drive past fields of winter wheat. The songwriting in ‘The Color Green’ and ‘The Land of my Sojourn’ is incredible. And sometimes I feel like Rich took out my heart and wrote a song about it called ‘Hold me Jesus.’ The music is beautiful, even majestic, and the writing is the perfect combination of honesty and imagery. If you have never heard this album, then do something for me: wait a few weeks until the leaves start changing, take an afternoon off, find your favorite old stretch of highway, and drive until the very last note. You know, even though I have heard it a thousand times, I might just do the same!
So there you go, my top five Christian albums, complete with plans for a road trip!