Best “Christian” Albums of all Time

Yes, it is ridiculous that there is such a thing as “Christian music.” I am totally of the mind that the contemporary Christian music industry is something that never should have existed, and that most of its output has, in fact, been utterly forgettable. That said, however, I must admit that not ALL of so-called “Christian” music (and in my definition, it’s basically any music made with Christian spirituality in mind or in heart) is horrific bilge. Some of it is good, and some even great. I suppose that in any largely-crappy genre of anything, there are some standouts. In this case, I think that the following ten albums more than hold their own in the company of any other “best-of” list, secular or otherwise.

So, without further ado, here’s my list of the best “Christian” albums of all time (and when I say “all time,” I mean anything after 1990… which is when I started buying albums):

U2, The Joshua Tree (1987):
It might seem cheap and superficially obligatory to include this album on a list like this (b/c U2 has never and will never call themselves a “Christian” band), but there’s no denying: this album is the one of the most glisteningly spiritual creations in pop music history.

seven-swans.jpgSufjan Stevens, Seven Swans (2004): Again, not a traditionally CCM artist, but Sufjan Stevens can’t be left off of this list. I’m convinced that history will look back on Sufjan as a turning point in the musical trajectory of “spiritual” music. Perhaps now Christians who are into good music won’t feel ashamed if they care more about being true and artistic rather than obvious and didactic.

Jars of Clay, Much Afraid (1997): Some might claim that Jars of Clay’s debut album (with that happily earthy feel) is their finest work. However, I’ve always contended that Much Afraid is their masterpiece. Subtle, subdued, and sonically rich (with gorgeously lingering songs like “Frail”), this sophomore album from a seminal CCM band is truly worthy of accolades.

Pedro the Lion, It’s Hard to Find a Friend (1998): When David Bazan (aka Pedro the Lion) emerged from the Seattle indie/emo scene in the late 90s, he was like the Christian version of Kurt Cobain (tortured, passionate, dark) with the mellow style of Eddie Vedder. His first full-length album remains his best, with quietly tragic (and catchy) tunes like “Big Trucks” and “When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run.”

overtherhine.jpgOver the Rhine, Ohio (2003): This could be my favorite album of all time. Certainly it’s the best album ever to come from blatantly Christian artists. The folky double-disc masterpiece from Cincinnati’s best kept secret is nothing short of magnificent, with its backwoods mystery and latter days prophetic gravitas (“Changes Come”). There are about six songs from this album that should be sung in churches every Sunday.

Sixpence None the Richer, Sixpence None the Richer (1998): Though the uber-catchy “Kiss Me” got all the press, the rest of this album is equally marvelous. Leigh Nash—the queen of CCM’s “indie” sound—gave beautiful form to Matt Slocum’s well-crafted classics on this album, which remains a rainyday staple and a major step into mainstream success for CCM.

Caedmon’s Call, Caedmon’s Call (1997): This is an album of the “college folk” movement in the late 90s in which “earthy” bands with world music leanings became “alternatives” for the over-18 set. Caedmon’s Call filled the Christian niche nicely with this album, which—among other things—launched the solo career of Derek Webb, who would later become the Martin Luther of CCM.

waterdeep.jpgWaterdeep, Everyone’s Beautiful (1999): Even more grassroots and folky than their contemporaries Caedmon’s Call, the Kansas City-based Waterdeep became something of a legend among Christian hipsters for a few years in the late 90s/early 00s. Everyone’s Beautiful is their most diverse, satisfying album, though their live shows are still this band’s strongest suit.

DC Talk, Jesus Freak (1995): Though it can’t be denied that this album is a two-year delayed derivative of the grunge craze, it also can’t be denied that Jesus Freak is a super catchy, well-crafted effort from CCM’s favorite boy band. Give the trio credit: they went from rap outfit to rock band in seamless fashion, reinventing the Christian music industry (and giving it license to rock!) along the way.

Switchfoot, New Way to be Human (1999): Though this San Diego surfer band has since fallen victim to “crossover” MTV irrelevance, their older stuff is actually quite good. I especially like this album for its beautiful ballads (“Sooner or Later,” “Let That Be Enough,” and “Only Hope”) which appeared all over teen media (Dawson’s Creek, Party of Five, A Walk to Remember) in the late 90s.

Honorable mention: Burlap to Cashmere, Anybody Out There? (1998), The Innocence Mission, Christ is My Hope (2000), Eisley, Room Noises (2005), Danielson, Ships (2006), Half-handed Cloud, Halos and Lassoes (2006), Rich Mullins, Songs (1996), Vigilantes of Love, Audible Sigh (1999), Damien Jurado, Rehearsals for Departure (1999), Relient K, The Anatomy of Tongue in Cheek (2001), Audio Adrenaline, Bloom (1996).

123 responses to “Best “Christian” Albums of all Time

  1. petertchattaway

    Wow, I’ve only heard three of the albums on this list — one of which, The Joshua Tree, actually came out in 1987 (the year I finished high school; we heard it a LOT on the radio back then, and I remember watching the ‘With or Without You’ music video at one of my grad class’s parties).

    I never cared for Jesus Freak all that much; as I said in my review for the student paper at that time, the album seemed awfully self-conscious and even a little shallow. When the band isn’t expressing angst over its image (“What if I stumble,” etc.), it’s doing commercial jingles for Jesus (“You need some Jesus in your life!”). And, well, by the time this album came out, I had long since stopped listening to jingles-for-Jesus bands like Stryper, etc. (Now THERE was a band that gave the Christian music industry license to rock! ;) )

    The greatest Christian album of all time, of course, remains Darn Floor Big Bite, released by da (a.k.a. Daniel Amos) around 1987. But that was before 1990. (Then again, so was The Joshua Tree. Hmmm.)

  2. Great list, Brett. A couple of albums I would interject: Bruce Cockburn’s Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws, Phil Keaggy’s Sunday’s Child, Mark Heard’s Second Hand and Larry Norman’s Stranger in a Strange Land. All old stuff, I know, but it’s what I cut my spiritual teeth on.

  3. Wow. Nearly my list exactly. I think Burlap to Cashmere and Rich Mullin’s Songs would have replaced Waterdeep and Sixpence, but they still would have been in the honorable mention.

    Great list.

  4. Thanks for the correction Peter. A cursory look on Amazon is not always the best place to go for release dates. I guess 1990 seemed right since that was around the time I first heard “Joshua Tree.” In 1987 I was in kindergarten, still learning how to write “U” and “2.”

  5. Great list, going to iTunes right now to check out the ones I don’t know.

    And it’s ReliEnt K…

  6. Hmmm…well, friend, I’m sure you can guess where we differ (Switchfoot? Really?), but generally a pretty good list. But I can’t believe you would leave off Innocence Mission of the main list! Or Denison Witmer. Or Rosie Thomas. And Damien Jurado should certainly have a place of honor on the list.

    But, of course, this is why you make lists: so people respond. In any case–I’m happy other people are thinking outside of the boundaries of “normal” Christian music.

  7. Ha, yes I know Switchfoot would raise some eyebrows… Alas, I think their inclusion is more about being “significant for CCM” than being particularly groundbreaking musically. Still, it’s a fine album and I still love listening to it (perhaps because it brings back memories of emo-turbulent high school). And yes, Denison and Rosie deserve spots, for sure…

  8. I agree with many of your selections. The only statement that prompts a question for me is this:

    ” I suppose that in any largely-crappy genre of anything, there are some standouts. ”

    I don’t necessarily dispute this evaluation of the CCM genre, but I wonder if limiting it to that portion of the music industry is accurate. It seems to me that almost from the very first 78 sold, every genre of music has been plagued by companies who sell swill only lightly salted with quality work.

  9. Good list, yes, but when were you born, yesterday?

    I’m happy and relieved to see that one other commenter would have included Larry Norman, Phil Keaggy (a man that Jimi Hendrix supposedly referred to as the greatest gutitarist in the world), Mark Heard, and possibly Rich Mullins. I might even add Randy Stonehill.

    Your list is clearly rooted in the music of the last decade or so, with a “nod to the oldies” with Joshua Tree. Man that makes me feel old and I’m only 38!

    But your list is the equivalent of saying that Green is the best punk band ever. Yuck! Without Social Distortion, The Ramones, The Clash and a whole host of Brit Punk bands they stole their sound from they wouldn’t have an inkling of what to do with their 3 or 4 chords (I know, Green Day is better than that, just kiddin).

    Anyway, still a good list for a youngin. Glad to see a hat tip to the da boys, as well.

    Cheers.

  10. Starflyer 59’s Leave Here a Stranger? The Prayer Chain’s Mercury? Joy Electric’s The White Songbook? Anything from Daniel Amos’ Alarma Chronicles? mewithoutYou’s Catch for Us the Foxes? Soul Junk’s 1956?

    It just seems to me that even if you restrict your list to the last decade or so, there’s a bunch of standout, unique and original music that is just not included here. I’d probably move Danielson to the main list, myself… I can’t see how it could possibly be rated below DC Talk.

  11. Nice list. If I can add some ideas of my own… Even though they’re pre-1990, on any list of the best albums you’d definitely have to place Larry Norman’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” and Keith Green’s “The Prodigal Son” somewhere high up.

    For post-1990 stuff, I’d add Aaron Sprinkle’s “Lackluster”, Anathallo’s “Floating World,” Waterdeep’s “Heart Attack Time Machine,” John Davis’s self-titled album, The Listening’s self-titled album, Doug Burr’s “On Promenade,” mewithoutYou’s “Brother, Sister,” and Aaron Strumpel on “Chair and Microphone, vol. 2”. Man, but then it’d be obnoxiously long…

    Nice list, though!

    By the way, if you’re into good Christian music that isn’t the CCM stuff, check out my audioblog at http://www.theblahblah.wordpress.com. I cover a lot of indie stuff and some more normal stuff once in a while.

  12. Skillet’s self-titled debut album – their ONLY good album – is one that definitely stands out from the 90s. Too bad they didn’t keep up whatever they had going for them.

  13. interesting…

    i would move Danielson and Half-handed Cloud into the main list and remove dc Talk, Relient K and Switchfoot (though i do dig stuff by all three bands).

    i agree with the suggestions of Starflyer 59, Joy Electric and Soul-Junk.

    my vote is for Starflyer’s Silver, Americana or “Everybody Makes Mistakes” (though perhaps they aren’t as spiritually minded as LHAS). and i would probably vote for 1957 or 1958 over 1956, Soul-Junk wise.

    simon.

  14. That’s a pretty good list. I feel the same way about all the ones you mentioned. I would agree that Switchfoot’s first three albums were brilliant, then it slowly went downhill from there. I wouldn’t call Over the Rhine ‘blatantly Christian’ though, but they are good. Burlap to Cashmere and Waterdeep are two of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen quite a few.

    Unfortunately, with any type of list of this sort, there are bound to be some left out. Below are a few that should definitely be added to the list.
    – PFR – Goldie’s Last Day ( or any of their albums, really)
    – 77’s – Sticks and Stones
    – Fred Hammond and RFC – Spirit of David
    – Future Shock – Remember the Future
    – Brainwash Projects – The Rise and Fall of Brainwash Projects
    – Boogie Monsters – God Sound
    – 77’s – Tom Tom Blues
    – P.O.D. – Brown
    – Five Iron Frenzy – Our Newest Album Ever
    – Asiam – Pain is Relative
    – L.A. Symphony – Composition #1
    – Chasing Furies – With Abandon
    – Stavesacre – Speakeasy
    – MG! the Visionary – Transparemcee
    – Soul-Junk – 1956
    – Project86 – Drawing Black Lines
    – Matthew Perryman Jones – Nowhere Else But Here
    – Pigeon John – …Is Clueless
    – Sarah Masen – Dreamlife of Angels
    – Fleming and John – The Way We Are
    – Michael Roe – The Boat Ashore
    – Ramsie Shick – Live 2000
    – Mars Ill – Pro Pain
    – Listener – Ozark Empire
    – Viva Voce – Heat Can Melt Your Brain
    – Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise

    so… that list turned out to be much longer than I originally planned when I started typing. sorry about that. But they’re all classics though. I own them all. And there’s probably a few more that I could have added.

  15. Yes, I’m not sure how I forgot Ozark Empire. What a fantastic, groundbreaking album. I also forgot Richard Swift’s The Novelist. I think I’d pick Lovers! Lead the Way, though, over The Heat Can Melt Your Brain as my Viva Voce pick.

    And Simon, you’re probably right about Soul Junk. My favorite album by them is 1957, at any rate.

    Oh, and the self-titled debut by Ellul, which came out in 2006, was also amazing. It needs more time, but I think they are the arrival of the Radiohead of the CCM scene.

  16. I don’t know who mentioned that DC Talk shouldn’t be on the list, but they are crazy. Jesus Freak in my opinion is the greatest blatantly Christian album ever!! “What If I Stumble?” was not about the band’s image neccesarily, it was more about Christian’s trying to live up to the perfection of Christ.
    The comment about Jimi Hendrix calling Phil Keaggy is a funny rumor that I’ve heard attributed to Eric Clapton as well, but it’s just that…a rumor. I love Phil Keaggy and I agree that he’s a phenomenal artist, but it’s just a rumor.
    One last thing…good list. I would add some to it or disagree with some as well, but you know what? It’s your list, not mine.

  17. I recently posted a similar list…ahhh, everybody loves lists…

    Top Ten Rock Albums by Musicians Who Are Christians
    (I won’t get into why I don’t like the phrase “Christian Rock”, but you have to get real wordy to use another phrase).
    The list is limited to albums I own, so it limits the potential list to just a couple hundred… it trends towards 90’s stuff that has stood the test of time to remain in my listening rotation. And it’s limited to “Rock”..not pop/contemporary/adult contemporary, etc…

    1. 77s: Sticks and Stones – My introduction to the 7s came when I bought this CD without having heard much of it. It’s still a favorite.
    2. WhiteHeart: Freedom – A longtime favorite that has stood the test of time…meaning that I still listen to it frequently. The guys from White Heart hit their peak with this album…breaking from their soft-rock days of the 80’s
    3. Jars of Clay: Jars of Clay – Who knew when this CD came out that Jars would still be around and still making great music over a decade later. They’ve experimented a lot since this CD, and while they haven’t had a “mainstream” hit like “Flood”, their influence is still solid
    4. Third Day: Third Day – Still my favorite Third Day album
    5. Steve Taylor: I Predict 1990 – With song titles like “Jim Morrison’s Grave” and “I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good” this CD continued Steve’s tradition of pushing the envelope. Read here: http://www.sockheaven.net/music/albums/ip1990/ to learn more about this album and some of the controversy it caused. People just don’t get satire…
    6. Burlap to Cashmere: Anybody Out There – I saw these guys at a youth ministry convention. No one knew who they were and they came out on stage and blew us away. I got to see them again at House of Blues in New Orleans and they put on an amazing show. I’m not sure the cause of their demise as a group, but for one album, they were great!
    7. Phil Keaggy: Crimson and Blue – Phil Keaggy seems to crank out about 5 albums a year, but to me this was his best rock/lyrical effort
    8. Switchfoot: Beautiful Letdown –Thoughtful lyrics. Creative music. And I listened to them before they hit the big time
    9. The Waiting: The Waiting – One of my favorite bands, but sadly now in retirement. Great 90’s pop/rock
    10. Downhere: Wide Eyed and Mystified – Few albums grab me on the first listen, but this one certainly did. I hope these guys are around for a long time to come.

    Honorable Mention

    Adam Again: Dig
    Randy Stonehill: Welcome to Paradise and Return to Paradise
    Chris Taylor: Brand New Ache, Lo-Fi Project
    Geoff Moore and the Distance: Foundations
    77s: Drowning with Land in Sight
    King’s X: Faith Hope and Love
    King’s X: King’s X
    Prayer Chain: Shawl
    The Elms: Truth Soul and Rock and Roll
    Russ Taff: Russ Taff
    Undercover: Devotion
    Sixpence: This Beautiful Mess
    Jars of Clay: Good Monsters, Much Afraid
    Steve Taylor: Squint

  18. To most hardcore Waterdeep fans, Everyone’s Beautiful, while good, is not the band’s best output. Usually people pick “Sink Or Swim” or the worship collaboration “Enter the Worship Circle” as their best.

  19. Derek Webb, she must and shall go free!!

  20. Good list. In addition, some of my favorite’s by the bands mentioned are Switchfoot’s “Learning To Breathe”, Jars of Clay’s self titled and “Who We Are Instead”, Audio Adrenaline’s “Lift”, Sufjan Steven’s “Chicago”, and Relient K’s “MmHmm”.

  21. Okay. Seriously. What’s the beef with Switchfoot? I’m glad you chose to add “New Way to Be Human” to the list, because it’s an amazing album. But mainstream Switchfoot (who has recently dropped their label and are now an independent band) after “The Beautiful Letdown” (which had some great tracks on it) is incredibly good. I mean, Jon Foreman is basically taking routes from the Bono play-book (granted, to some it may seem unoriginal), but he succeeds admirably (See: Happy is a Yuppie Word; The Shadow Proves the Sunshine; The Blues; The Fatal Wound; American Dream; Dirty Second Hands; Awakening: Faust, Midas, and Myself; and unreleased tracks such as Daylight to Break and C’mon, C’mon) and even with his own touch. The musicianship my not be completely groundbreaking (although, Oh! Gravity. does a pretty good job at creating a new Switchfoot sound), but the lyrics are earnest and honest and self-reflective. Instead of parading around damning everyone else (from ex-girlfriends to George W. Bush, like in most punk-rock or emo), they force their listeners to look for their own ways to see through this broken world, and to make it better.

    Switchfoot and Relient K are now on the “Appetite for Construction Tour,” from which a dollar of each ticket goes to Habitat for Humanity. Not to mention that Jon Foreman was the first music celebrity (not the right term, but it’s all I could think of) to promote To Write Love On Her Arms. Also, check out the DualDisc version of “Nothing Is Sound” and watch the creation of The Shadow Proves the Sunshine, which was born out of a trip the band made to Afica.

    At a Switchfoot show I attended a couple week-ends ago, Jon Foreman said this:
    “If this is just about rock and roll, I’m out. If this is about Switchfoot, I’m out. There’s something more important we’re trying to do here.”

    How a band like this could garner anything but admiration is beyond me.

    Sorry this was so long, but, as you can tell, I’m an avid Switchfoot fan. Maybe, just maybe you can give them another shot?

  22. Okay…

    I do understand that you didn’t listen to music before 90’s. But, you got to do some research and add stuff in from the late 70’s and 80’s (the “Christian music” inception). It’s shouldn’t be about just what style you like…
    Where are Petra”This Means War”, and Freakin’ Stryper “To Hell with the Devil”, and even Michael W. Smith, Keith Green, Larry Norman, also MXPX “Pokinatcha”, The New’s Boys…one more personal favorite Mortal’s “Wake”. Please respond…you gotta do the whole list (not just 90’s)

  23. No Steve Taylor???! No Project 86? No Stavesacre? No Larry Norman? No Joy Electric? No Swirling Eddies? No Showbread? No MxPx? No Virgin Black? No Anberlin?

  24. The fact that David Crowder Band is left off of this list (and everybody’s list) makes this whole thing irrelevant. “A Collision” is one of the most breathtaking albums in the last decade! How could this be overlooked. DCB is the most relevant band today, earning praise from secular artists, like Jimmy Eat World. A lot of the other choices, too, have the right artists, but the wrong albums in my opinion…but that’s the beauty of opinions, huh?

    Other good bands/albums:
    – Anything David Crowder
    – Delirious: Cutting Edge or anything else by them!
    – The Almost : Southern Weather
    – Leeland: Sound Of Melodies
    – Jars Of Clays: Good Monsters
    – Switchfoot: The Beautiful Letdown
    – Derek Webb: She Shall And Must Go Free
    – Lovedrug: Pretend You’re Alive
    – Relient K: Anatomy of the Tongue and Cheek (already mentioned)
    – Enter The Worship Circle (ALL!)
    – MXPX: Life In General
    – Sufjan Stevens: 7 Swans (good job!)

  25. To “B”: I have heard Petra “This Means War” and Styper and all the ones you mentioned… so it’s not a matter of not having done “research.” Some of those people you mentioned are great (Larry Norman in particular), but for my purposes in defining “the best,” they didn’t make the list. Frankly, I believe music’s relative greatness has a lot to do with contemporary context (i.e. an album that was amazing in 1972 might not be to modern audience, with different sensibilities and preoccupations). So in limiting my list to post 1990 (with the exception of U2) I’m not saying that nothing before it is better… I’m just saying these albums are more contextually important or significant for ME, as a product of the 90s, etc. I can look back on early “Christian” music like Sam Cooke or something and appreciate–even love it–for what it was in its historical context, but as far as straight-up musical appeal or cultural relevance to my “born in the Reagan years” ears, it doesn’t fit into my personal canon.
    Does that make sense?

  26. I am going to add…

    The Normals – Better Than This

    For those who have not heard it. Grab it. It may sound like 1999, but Andy Osenga of C.C. is an excellent story teller and vocalist.

  27. Neil,

    It was Eric Clapton that said Phil Keaggy was the greatest guitar ever.

    Reporter, “How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist ever?”

    Clapton, “I don’t know. Ask Phil Keaggy.”

    Also,

    Don’t forget Mute Math, maybe their DVD should be on this list more than there LP though. Because their even better live.

    Jarrod, good call on the The Normals.

    If this was a “Best Albums Never Listened to” list, Polarboy would make this list for sure. A no-hit wonder, but had an incredible album back in the day. Maybe not best ever, but a great add to the library.

    What about Bleach and Five Iron Frenzy!?

    Great call on Pedro the Lion and Over the Rhine.

    Switchfoot is doing what Jars of Clay did, take control of their own music and use their own creativity. Don’t look at them through their market, but through their musical creativity.

    Good list.

  28. I liked the list bunches…but (as an almost-40-year-old) I would have to include some older stuff. I think back to the mid 80’s, and nobody was bigger than Michael W. Smith. And no one wrote better songs (EVER) than Rich Mullins…His “Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth” is one of the best ever.

    But I’d also include Five Iron Frenzy’s “Our Newest Album Ever” and the Prayer Chain’s “Shawl” on my faves list…

    It’s all a matter of opinions, isn’t it?

  29. yeah, good present-time list. i get what you were saying brett about fitting the contemporary context.
    still, rich mullins “a liturgy, a legacy…” is excellent.
    are you sticking to “rock” or just christians who do music? what about the works of johnny cash or emmylou harris?
    “this beautiful mess” is sixpence’s best album.
    and amy grant’s “lead me on” – hmmm…can’t get much better for adult cont. sound from a christian.
    sounds like you sticking to musical styles you like. but, it’s a good list for that.

  30. Check out Sarah Kelly’s “Where the Past Meets Today.” It is only a year old, but it could make a more contemporary list. Her vocals alone can carry an album – and Slash does guitar work on this one.

  31. Hmmm… I see noone’s mentioned Scaterd Few’s “Sin Disease”. That ought to belong somewhere on a list like this.

  32. i have to add seven day jesus “the hunger” and self-titled.

    new way to be human and pedro the lion are both definately stand outs for me.

  33. also, i heard somebody say polarboy (stellar recommendation)

    and if you didn’t know, they’re back together.

  34. Wow, just when I think I’ve heard it all. You guys just blew my mind. Well done, good and faithful music snobs.

    I would add a couple more, but at the risk of being run out of town as a heretic, I digress.

  35. I can’t believe it took that many posts for somebody to list ‘A Collision.’ This is an outrage! :0)

  36. i believe you so blatantly forgot
    Delirious “Glo”
    the best album/Christian album ever. Also
    U2’s “War”
    would be right after Joshua Tree. Other fav’s of mine?
    Disciple “Scars Remain”.
    Hillsongs United “Above All”.
    Ginny Owens “Without Condition”
    Jennifer Knapp “Kansas”
    David Crowder Band “A Collision”

  37. I add my nod to the Starflyer 59 folks and to the person who mentioned David Crowder’s Collision album. Also, I second The Listening which my husband (jake at the Blah Blah) mentioned. They are my (for now) favorite band who used to be Rock n Roll Worship Circus. Also, I want to bring up the Psalters! Their Us vs. Us and Divine Liturgy albums are amazing, if you like that gypsy/tribal/middle eastern/craziness style of music!

  38. Eddie Vedder?!?!? Wha?

  39. I’m not coming back to this blog until you add Leslie Phillips’ “The Turning” and SOMETHING by Steve Taylor to your list. Until that happens, I’m going to go sit in my room and use cuss words.

  40. Oh, okay… “anything after 1990.” Right. Well, then… there’s still some Steve Taylor titles to choose from. (But you *did* include The Joshua Tree, so…)

  41. i don’t think you can have this kind of ‘best of’ without including ‘Squint’ by Steve Taylor.

    It contains some of the finest Christian rocks songs ever – in my opinion! Plus Steve was/is a legend.

  42. Some Christian albums transcend mere music (Pedro the Lion, certainly…back when David Bazan was a Christian):
    Starflyer 59 – Gold and My Island
    Poor Old Lu – Sin and A Picture of the 8th Wonder
    Dear Ephesus, – The Consolation of Pianissimo
    Adam Again – Dig
    77’s – Pray Naked
    Havalina Rail Co. – S/T

  43. “Phil Keaggy (a man that Jimi Hendrix supposedly referred to as the greatest gutitarist in the world)”

    Sorry, but it’s an urban legend. Never happened.
    Crimson and Blue is brilliant.

  44. Some good mentions and recoveries…Pedro The Lion for sure!

    Sometime Sunday “Drain”
    Steve Taylor “Meltdown”
    Stavesacre “Speakeasy”
    Blindside “A Thought Crushed my mind”
    Grammatrain “Flying”
    Pedro The Lion “Its hard to find a Friend”
    Project 86 “Drawing Black Lines”
    MewithoutYou “Catch for us the Foxes”
    King’s X “Ear Candy”
    U2 “Boy”
    Anything Johhny Cash ever did!

  45. POD – Brown, Fundamental Elements of Southtown
    Project 86 – Drawing Black Lines
    Switchfoot – Legend of Chin… how could nobody have listed this yet? I would consider “new way to be human” one of their lowpoints/weaker albums
    Plankeye – Relocation
    Thrice – Any of their albums
    The Firetheft (former Sunny Day Real Estate lead)

    So…some of these aren’t the “Christian” bands that you may instantly think of but…if U2 made the list then so should they. Another note, seriously, Project 86 is the only good hard Christian music band…their lyrics are so real, deeper than a lot of other bands i’ve listened to

  46. to me Switchfoot’s 1st album was theie best…raw, heartfelt and fresh….they have gone downhill

    my fav has to be common children…really anything by them i thoroughly enjoyed. Marc Byrd is amazing!

  47. “The Firetheft (former Sunny Day Real Estate lead)”

    The Fire Theft was actually 75% of Sunny Day Real Estate.

  48. definitely a great list, but like others have said maybe these should have made the list

    Five Iron Frenzy (some socially crazy never before heard in christian music lyrics)
    POD
    Crowder

    also like someone else said..though it is not rock Mars Ill has put out some mind blowing stuff

  49. What about Van Morrison’s ‘His band and the Street Choir’ or John Coltrane’s ‘A love supreme’? and (forgive me if somebody else noticed this but) what about ‘Slow Train Coming’! Maybe categorising albums as ‘Christian’ is tricky but some Dylan has to make the list.

  50. What about Skillet? Anyone? Anyone?
    I would say Comatose is probably one of the best albums by a Christian band ever. And for all you mainstream nay-sayers, Alien Youth was a pretty fantastic album, too.

    As far as Crowder goes, I personally think Illuminate is more well-rounded and approachable album than A Collision. ‘Stars’ is such an amazing song . . .

    Switchfoot . . . I do carry an ambivelance towards them. Yet I can’t deny that Beautiful Letdown is simply one of the best CDs of the decade. Nothing is Sound is good but mainly when your feeling depressed. Oh! Gravity makes up for the melancholy, but it lacks the musical diversity of Letdown. I’m looking forward to their next album though.

    I apologize for this musical ramble…

  51. Ok, the comments are as funny as the list, mostly b/c I totally agree.

    In fact, I think it’s moderately spooky that your list is so close to what I would have created, particularly noticing that Much Afraid was Jars’ masterpiece.

    I, too, would have used Sink or Swim instead of Everyone’s Beautiful. That’s not true–I would have used Don’s solo album: What You Don’t Know, which is quite possibly the BEST Christian album ever, at least lyrically.

    And I would have described Jesus Freak more as ‘the beginning of the end’ for Christian music….

    Other than that, great stuff!

  52. Oh, yeah Coop…I forgot about Common Children, I highly recommend that you go attempt to find their stuff. Amazing!

  53. Seven Swans, yes…
    i would switch out Much Afraid with Good Monster and Everyone’s Beautiful with Sink or Swim… also switch out Cademons with Derek Webb’s She Must and Shall Go Free.

  54. Vheissu by Thrice…all i gotta say…almost.

    To leave out the poetic depth of Dustin Kensrue and the melodic stylings of the band as a whole is to not do justice to what “Christian” music can be, though i realize it is just my opinion.

    Seriously, though, from the obviously spiritual nature of “Image of the Invisible” and “Music Box” to the less obvious “Hold Fast Hope” and “The Earth Will Shake,” Vheissu has, over time, become my favorite album of all time, and I recommend it to anyone at all, even if you’re not exactly into “heavy” music.

  55. Ah- you got all my favourites: Over the Rhine, Waterdeep, even Eisley! I thought I was the doyen of obscure Christian music… well, maybe just in South Africa.

  56. 8 out of 10!!! thank you for validating my choice in music. its good to know that most of my music has made it on to someone else’s list. its unfortunate that most of christian music stinks and isn’t worthy of anyone’s list. unless its a “worst albums” list. hmmm…

  57. FINALLY someone who agrees with me about Much Afraid! I’ve been trying to convince people of the greatness of this album for years! Bravo!

  58. i’d also like to say that you did a good job on your article. pointing out the good in a blatantly crappy music market takes patience and time. everyone that responded has their own opinion, and they shouldn’t hold you to their preferences. they should write their own article.

  59. Thanks for the response. I hear ya. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is very do-able to have a “greatest” list that only spands around three decades. I think you should do another one (and just focus on their influence and impact…more so then if you loved them or not) I’m not a fan (used to be) of Petra, Stryper…Michael W. Smith & NewsBoys (never was)…but, these acts had a HUGE impact on the “scene” (sold out arenas!) and inspired many. Many of today’s early 20 somethings don’t know anything about music before 1990…to them it’s all hipster, indie, Sufjan… My point is…making a “greatest of” and leaving off these artists is akin to making a “greatest of rock’n’roll” and talking about U2, Pearl Jam, White Stripes, and leaving out Chuck Berry, Elvis, and The Beatles…

  60. If we’re talking about “Christian Music scene” (as much as it probably shouldn’t have happened) we should leave off the ballot “Christians” who played music, but, were never in “the scene.” i.e. U2, Johnny Cash, etc.

    Also, Kirk Franklin in the list anyone?

  61. Good choice to those who mentioned Johnny Cash! I love all of his American Recordings (and earlier ones as well). Also, Mat Kearney’s “Nothing Left To Lose” is one of the most poetic and unique albums I have heard in a while. Very mainstream but has Christian themes. I also agree with those who would leave off Pedro The Lion (not what I would call a “Christian” artist. Also, the Eisley album is average, but with a lot of potential. And I am not a huge Newsboys fan, but they have to be included. And while I am rambling, POD’s “Satellite” should be included on here huge that was. And although I am not a huge fan of Underoath, they do have the biggest selling debut Christian album of all time (or in a decade – one of those).

  62. So what are the six Over The Rhine songs you’d like to see in Sunday worship services? I’ve listened to the record a few times but don’t recall specific songs. I like what I heard, for what it’s worth.

  63. Good list … but i have to say that i agree with other comments on here – Switchfoot’s best CD is definitely”The Beautiful Letdown” hands down. And while Seven Swans is good I would have to say that “come on and feel the Illinoise” is probably the best CD that Sufjan Stevens has. I was happy not see the Dave Crowder Band on here Im not really into their music … anyways overall good list

  64. and also five iron frenzy should definetly be included

  65. What!?! No Casting Crowns, Newsong or Mark Schultz?

    uh, just kidding. Gag me.

  66. A resounding YESSSS! to Jason and his suggestion of Scaterd Few’s Sin Disease.

  67. From the time period 1990 and later you could include albums by: The Choir, Kings X, Poor Old Lu, Chagall Guevara, Sam Phillips, T Bone Burnett, Silage, This Train, StarFlyer 59, The Lost Dogs, Midnight Oil, Adam Again, Mark Heard, Aaron Sprinkle, Further Seems Forever, The Ocean Blue, The Innocence Mission, The 77’s, Dustin Kensrue, Thrice, The Juliana Theory, Twothiryeight, Brandtson,
    The 80’s had some great artists as well: The Call Tonio K , Daniel Amos, Bruce Cockburn, Steve Scott, Steve Taylor, Randy Stonehill, Vector, Charlie Peacock, The Choir, Mike Knott, Lifesavers Underground, Undercover, Terry Taylor, The Alarm, Lone Justice, …

  68. Skypark
    Dryve
    Loam
    Dimestore Prophets

  69. The Campbell Brothers (Sacred Steel)
    Kim Hill
    Alison Krauss
    Daniel Lanois
    Dolly PartonMerle Haggard
    The Louvin Brothers

  70. Ceili Rain
    Andrew Peterson

    I love the quirkiness of both.

  71. any people of color, besides the dc talk guy?

  72. Allow me to second the nomination of the 77s, Sticks and Stones. An amazing album by the best “Christian” band, hands down.

  73. Also, Vigilantes of Love “Audible Sigh.”

    Jars of Clay “If I Left the Zoo”

    Kevin Max (of DC Talk) “Stereotype Be”

    Though mad props for the Pedro inclusion.

  74. “Caedmon’s Call, Caedmon’s Call (1997)”

    Yes, yes and yes again. Incredible album with only two songs that were somewhat “immature” this was THE album of my high school youth as it wasn’t your typical blatant ” say Jesus every other line” CCM that was out there. Track 3 “Not The Land” was hands down one of the most emotionally charged Christian songs I had come across in that time, something I was really needing.

    Also…P.O.D. Incredible band that still breaks out songs that just rock, period. From Southtown and Bullet the Blue Sky (and yes I like their version better) to that incredible 3 track ending to Satellite they just grab you.

  75. robin mark – revival in belfast
    strange occurrence (my all time favorite) – another day to start again
    delirious – touch
    hillsong – blessed
    relient k – hmmm
    kutless – strong tower
    jars of clay – who we are instead
    bebo norman – myself when i am real
    third day – wire
    michael w smith – worship
    kerry livgren or Kansas – decade (my second on top)

  76. oh…Jars of Clay – The Eleventh Hour

  77. Good to see the love on my favorite christian bands – The Choir, Poor Old Lu, The Prayer Chain, and Aaron Sprinkle. I’ll pretty much get anything he touches.

    As for best ever, the ones that changed me the most were:
    1. Whiteheart – Freedom. Such a huge leap for them. It was SO far ahead of its time.
    2. Poor Old Lu – Sin. Was thinking Christian music would never catch up to secular….until this album. And the only reason I bought it was the album cover.
    3. Chasing Furies – With Abandon. What can I say…..it sucks this is all they left us with.

  78. Interesting comments. I was surprised to see some of the albums that made the all time list. I believe in the last few years there are probably some bands that will make this list look quite different over the next two decades. Perhaps not as an overall album but certainly just songs that will forever impact Christian music. The list contains but is certainly not limited to the Newsboys, Mercy Me, Third Day, Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns ect… Many of these songs are not fad songs and certainly at the very least these bands are going to be remembered as some of the greatest worship bands with some of the best albums and songs of all time. This is just a few that come to mind… I am sure there are more.

  79. Mike Knott – Strip Cycle, Rocket and a Bomb, as well as Live in Nashvegas

  80. oh yeah – a big hell yeah for Stryper

  81. Pingback: Decompose » Listening Log — #3

  82. Wow. I just randomly found this because your blog title intrigued me. But I like your list. I see that many others have tried to tell you their lists too, which is cool, so I won’t bore you with any alterations.

    I did want to say two things, though. The first is simply that I was thinking the other day what I would tell people to play if I got to take over the local Christian station. It was sad to realize that I could stretch the definition of Christian music (from the definition a Christian station would give) – as you do here – and maybe fill a couple hours with different artists.

    The other thing I wanted to say is this: It’s interesting to note that, even though you say it’s sad that we have added the label “Christian” to music, your list seems to do the very same thing itself. By that I mean that many of those artists are/were working outside of the CCM style market and as Christians were dealing with some parts of life differently than either CCM or secular artists might. So to make a true list of the best “Christian” artists you might need to stick with those who’ve chosen to be marketable that way so that you don’t begin to add the same wretched label to music that doesn’t already have it. (Because, to me, “Christian” implies more than they are dealing with Christianity, but that they want to be known as Christians and play to mostly Christian artists, in churches, etc). You just end up backing yourself into a philosophical trap because essentially you are reinventing what you are dispising. I am sort of thinking out loud rather than trying to be a devil’s advocate jerk because I totally understand the desire to have Christian music that’s different from the radio stuff. But I would hate the day when U2, Eisley, and Pedro, among others, aren’t respected in their scene because suddenly people were calling them “Christian” artists and thinking of that as a different meaning than simply being artists who are Christian.

    With all that rambling done with, I respect your list, and know that though I might talk about a hard line we should draw, the reality is that I completely understand where you are coming from in your desire to make this list.

  83. You can ignore that. I actually only read your titles, not your comments beneath. Seems you voiced exceptions to the CCM style already, which means my comments are null and void.

    Cheers mate. Keep a lookout for “The OaKs”. Shameless plug, maybe, but they are friends of mine and they are being looked at by Asthmatic Kitty (at least last I heard) and are playing at SouthBySouthwest in Austin soon. You can hear their whole album at http://www.theoaksband.com

  84. mewithoutYou – Catch For Us the Foxes
    Rich Mullins – A Liturgy, A Legacy, A Ragamuffin Band
    Over The Rhine – Good Dog, Bad Dog
    Poor Old Lu – Sin
    Starflyer 59 – Gold

  85. No Crowder? and why would Switchfoot “raise eyebrows” and I think you are totally wrong for putting down christian music and above that putting quotation marks, making it seem less than it is. They all have one thing in common, they are all praising God and thats ALL that matters, am I right?

  86. Whiteheart, Freedom
    Two words: Chris McHug

  87. McHugh, even. :(

  88. Black Eyed Sceva/Model Engine

    The 3 albums that came from these guys are, by far, the best “christian” albums and I have them on my “regular” list as well. Unfortunetaly they stopped producing work.

  89. I’d argue that Sixpense None The Richer isn’t even Sixpense’s best album, let alone one of the best Christian albums ever. In my opinion, Sixpense’s Beautiful Mess remains not only their masterpiece, but one of the top ten Christian albums of all time. In fact, it’s one of my favorite albums, Christian or otherwise!

    That said, great list! I’ve already discovered a few new gems off of it. I’d love to see you add a few more titles. Any chance of an update?

  90. One more thing…..

    Why don’t I ever see The Waiting on any of these lists? To me, their album Unfazed may be the best Christian album to come out in the 90’s.

  91. Ok, now I’m just taking up bandwidth, but other artists keep popping into my head.

    Mindy Smith (sigh….slight crush). She’s got two albums out: One Moment More, and Long Island Shores. While these albums are not on a “Christian label”, Mindy is more outspoken about her faith than even U2. Her father is a pastor and her lyrics are littered with her faith. She’s a great writer, has a beautifully sweet voice (again, slight crush) and I believe is the next Alison Kraus. Her cover of Jolene is better than the original!

  92. Yes, the list is okay, but too predictable. Do you really know Christian music past the last 10-15 years or do you listen to anyone beyond the popular names?

    As others have said, where is Starflyer 59, Joy Electric, the Prayer Chain, the Choir, Daniel Amos, the 77’s, LSU, Mike Knott, oh…what about the Scattered Few “sin disease?” These bands were pioneers and don’t get much praise.

  93. Great list, but I’m afraid I have to go back to the days before CCM as a genre.

    Norman’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” is a must include.
    I would add Micahael Omartian’s “White Horse.” His later stuff became uber-schlocky, but “White Horse” is an amazing experience.
    Anything by Daniel Amos

  94. Bob Dylan Slow Train Coming

    I’m surprised a hipster like you would overlook this one.

  95. Durb and Jeffrey: THANK YOU for mentioning Steve Taylor. With the exception of Squint he was before my time, but I’ve still often dreamed of running away from home (or apartment) to find him and work for him, whatever he might be doing.

    And Durb and Tim, thanks for mentioning The Waiting, who I think have written some of the cleverest lyrics in CCM and some of the catchiest tunes (also, I think, sincerely good guys – I first saw them, before they were “popular,” playing as a worship band for AIM youth-group-trippers in Mexico during the rainy season), but often even my CCM-listening friends haven’t heard of them.

    I can’t say I have a FAVORITE favorite artist, but a few artists are like coming home to listen to… The Waiting is one, Steve Taylor is one, Over the Rhine is another. Ohio is certainly one of my most frequent go-to albums. (And many others mentioned here… Much Afraid, Sixpence’s “red album” and “tan album” (I have trouble thinking of them any other way), some old-school Newsboys, occasionally putting 2nd Chapter of Acts’ “Easter Song” on repeat…)

    And while I will not sit in my room cussing until you add Sam Phillips (Jeffrey, you crack me up), I do highly recommend Don’t Do Anything. Just discovered Phillips after being broken into little pieces at her recent concert in Boston.

    Kudos for including Switchfoot and DC Talk. Whatever hipsters (I have never used this word until now) may think of them, I sometimes go back to an album like New Way to Be Human and say, “OH! So THERE’S where my soul’s been all this time!” And wish I knew at least one other person who listens to both Sufjan Steven AND the Newsboys.

    Incidentally, I’m starting to feel pretty at home on this-here blog. Forgive the casual tone, as if I somehow know you… this is what blogs do, yes? I had a hard hard day and I’m unwinding by reading everything from the beginning.

  96. Page France – Hello, Dear Wind.

    One of the ultimate “hipster” Christian records around in my opinion.

    Check out “Jesus” and “Junkyard.” Great songs, both.

  97. For the most part I loathe CCM.
    However, I appreciate the honesty & poetics of these two:

    Sara Groves
    Michael Card

    In fact, I’ve seen them both in concert (separately) and they’re both in my top 10 concert list, winning out over countless others.

    This probably destroys any semblance of “indie cred” left in me. oh well…

  98. Are You familiar with “Strong Hand of Love – A tribute to Mark Heard”; it carries some terrific individual cuts including Ashely Cleaveland. I type this while listening to Cindy Morgan’s A Reason to Live though–so take what you want… This makes me think and bow to some terrific producers in the industry, including Reed Arvin (Rich Mullins on Strong hand of Love).

  99. I think it kind of depends on which ones are most significant to CCM in general and which ones are most significant to the person. As for me, I’d put…

    Lipstick and Dynamite Wonder – The Violet Burning
    Demonstrates Plastic and Elastic – The Violet Burning
    To the Roof of the Sky – Vigilantes of Love
    Audible Sigh – Vigilantes of Love
    The New Sound – CUSH
    The Imposter – Kevin Max
    Pacifico – The Lassie Foundation
    Dry Bones Dance – Mark Heard
    Satellite Sky – Mark Heard
    Life of David – Michael Knott
    Comatose Soul – Michael Knott
    Perfumed Letter – Bill Mallonee
    Permafrost – Bill Mallonee

  100. I have a hard time thinking of greatest albums without including:
    Degarmo and Key…To Extremes
    Petra…Beyond Belief
    DA…Kalhoun
    David Meece…Chronology
    Stryper…To Hell with the Devil
    and most importantly…nothing at all about Jacob’s Trouble…it makes me wonder if you have even listened to christian music.

  101. Hard to believe you left out some of the greatest Christian bands of all time….which in my opinion are all very Spirit filled.

    Petra (all with Greg X Volz singing)
    Keith Green (all)
    Stryper (Yellow and Black Attack, Soldiers Under Command, To Hell With the Devil)
    Amy Grant (Straight Ahead, Age to Age).

    Yeah..these are older ones, but you did say “of all time” ;)

  102. Wow, you must be young! Larry Norman’s Triology(Only Visiting this Planet, In Another Land and So Long Ago the Garden) is INCOMPARABLE, Mark Heard, Michael Omartian’s “White Horse and Adam Again”…you need to check out some classic stuff!

  103. my only beef is with the choice of pedro albums. i would have gone with control which, i believe, is a complete masterpiece and one of the best records of the oo’s.

  104. Jars of Clay -Jars of Clay is the greatest christian album. Doesn’t matter that the songs were overplayed, and are overly familiar. That just means its that good. None of that generic “oh jesus you carried the cross and died for my sins, my savior, I’ll soar on your wings, praise his name” junk. It was a radical sarcastic, masterfully written, beautifully orchestrated gem. Most of it is from the perspective of the skeptical sinner. “I don’t need YOU!…i dont think I need you…” it was so refreshing. Love song for a savior and Flood are such staples for all time. Liquid is one of the best openers of all time in the genre. “this is the one thing….the ooooonnneee thing… the one thing that I know” The melodies were so catchy with great hooks. And the lead singer had such a voice there. Not the fag artists today. Jars of Clay definetly eventually sold out. But this shines above all else.

  105. My list would include the following (assuming we’re limiting it to the years 1990-2007): In no particular order: RICK ELIAS & THE CONFESSIONS – Self-titled; DAVID MULLEN – Faded Blues; MICHAEL KNOTT – Screaming Brittle Siren; PHIL KEAGGY – Crimson and Blue; PRAYER CHAIN – Mercury; SEVEN DAY JESUS – The Hunger; CLAY CROSSE – Stained Glass; BURLAP TO CASHMERE – Anybody Out There; INNOCENCE MISSION – Christ is My Hope; SANCTUS REAL – Say it Loud; JEREMY CAMP – Restored. Just sayin’

  106. By the way, Elijah. Jesus dyin’ on the cross for our sins is not “junk”, that is, unless you’ve found some other way – apart from God’s grace – to gain eternal life. I mean, isn’t that the foundation of every believer’s hope?

  107. Personally, I would replace Leigh Nash with Innocence Mission’s Birds of My Neighbourhood. Trust me from experience (and by experience I mean little sister who listens to Leigh Nash nonstop), Innocence Mission will remain warm, melancholic and profound long after Leigh Nash has driven you certifiably insane.

  108. Agreed, Derek, on the SIXPENCE reference. Musically, they are in the same category of over-hyped and overrated as Ryan Howard of the Phillies and Derek Jeter of the Yankees.

  109. Dylan, Keith Green, Van Morrison, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Mylon LeFevre, Dion

  110. Tenth Avenue North, FSF, Starflyer 59, Jeremy Camp, David Crowder*Band, a little Hillsong, Jimmy Needham, MercyMe, Jars of Clay, Switchfoot, Sufjan Stevens.

    Those are musicians with creativity and passion, people with both the skill and the drive to play Christian music (cannot still vouch for FSF BTW, just saying).

    Passion: TAN, Jimmy Needham, Jeremy Camp, David Crowder*Band
    Creativity: Switchfoot, Starflyer 59, Sufjan Stevens

    For my money, I’d pick Jeremy Camp or, better still, Switchfoot

  111. Brett
    We grew up obviously in the same era: I own all of your top ten except for Over the Rhine. You sir must have an excellent taste in music ;)

    Further, thanks for creating a “best” list: not a list of favourites, most popular, most hipster, or most sales. If I get your train of thought right, I think you’ve selected albums that have mattered, albums that have changed things.

    For your 1990-2007 list I would only suggest Five Iron Frenzy “Our Newest Album Ever” and MxPx “Teenage Politics” solely for the fact that both bands had defining impacts on their genres. Bands such as POD, Underoath and even Anberlin have found incredible success within their genres – but I don’t think they have defined or shaped it in any significant way.

    For what its worth, I don’t think we have had many Christian albums that have significantly influenced the music landscape from 2007 to now. Yet it is my opinion that these following albums would be find their way into my top ten “Christian” albums of the last decade:

    – David Crowder Band “A Collision” * a 2005 release that gets better
    – Gungor “Ghosts Upon the Earth” * prepare to be amazed!
    – Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More” * the controversial selection ;)

    Cheers.

  112. You forgot an artist! The very best is definitely.. Third Day.

  113. I keep seeing reference to “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Larry Norman. Could they mean “In Another Land?” I definitely fall in the California, “Third Wave” era of music i.e. Daniel Amos, The Choir, The 77’s, Adam Again with Mark Heard thrown in…..Haven’t seen any mention of Undercover. Branded was a HUGE breakthrough album which led to even better work (“Balance of Power” and “Devotion”). But I am here to champion some albums that aren’t by artists that are considered all-time greats or even ground-breakers. Just very little heard. I am a HUGE fan of the band Sparks and their 2nd and 3rd albums, “Through Flood and Fire” and “Field of My Soul”. Sarah Masen had a couple of ridiculously great albums out on Charlie Peacock’s re:think label. Or, how about the cadre of artists who made up the small, Storyville label such as Jan Krist (Decapitated Society), Mo Leverett, Australia’s Derek Lind, England’s Phil and John and Nicholas Giaconia? Or African expatriate, Ben Okafor’s Generation? Early English art rocker Geoff Mann put out some AMAZING experimental music that almost no one has heard.One of the best albums I’ve ever heard is by an obscure Canadian worship group called The Russ Rosen Band. “Oil” is declarative worship that sounds like Neil Young, The Who, The Chieftains, U2 and Bruce Cockburn combined. And what of the East Nashville conglomerates like the Square Peg Alliance and Ten out of Tenn? Genius folk/pop artists like Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, Andrew Osenga, Andrew Peterson, Eric Peters, Ben Shive, Sandra McCracken, Jeremy Casella, It certainly is impossible to do a list like this…..as speculative as it can be. I see some suggestions (will not mention what) and just think “Oh, GOOD LORD!” because It is sad to me that we, as Christians, can be so prone to turn off our creativity and intelligence when listening to music made by people who reflect the creative spark of He who created all.

  114. No Thrice? Are you kidding me?

  115. I would have to agree on including any album by Kings X, Steve Taylor, Phil Keaggy. Rich Mullins and I would have to add the only album by ARK which was called ‘Ark the Angels Come, and which was years ahead of its time (1978). If you’ve never heard it you can find it on a Facebook search under “TheChristanBadfinger”. Oh yeah and what about David Crowder Band? I did, however think your inclusion of Over The Rhine was inspired.

  116. Where’s Bob Dylan or Alice Cooper and the new convert thank god dave Mustaine. His last album for Megadeth (in which he’s the soul remainer and owner) was full of christian lyrics, and lets not for get peter Criss from Kiss who’s been a christian his whole life just like Alice Cooper. And here’s a whooper Gezzer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne from Black Sabbath. If that rocks your boat read Forever After from Black Sabbath, Salvation from Alice Cooper and End Game from Megadeth. and Bob Dylan has done so much christian material that there are sevral albums full.

    on top of those there are a couple other Christian artist’s and bands that are in a class far greater than those that are on that list such as STRYPER. The only one that deservse to be on that list is U2 thats it.

    and if anyone has a problem with the bands that i listed than do some reaserch on them. Alice Cooper over 80 Million Albums sold Bob Dylan 80+ Mill, megadeth 20 Mill, Stryper 10 Mill+, Black sabbath over 100 Mill+, and Peter criss from kiss Over 50 mill Kiss (100 Mill). and their are some christian lyrics all through these artists and Bands.

  117. The only thing I might add is that Five Iron Frenzy, while not receiving the commercial success outside of Christendom, probably did more for Christian Music than Relient K and was so much more than fluff. That’s all though, good job.

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  120. Just some albums to consider. Some big artists I noticed not mentioned at all are The Daniel Band, Rez Band and Glass Harp (Phil Keaggy’s group).

    1. Only Visiting This Planet (Larry Norman)
    2. Run From the Darkness (Daniel Band)
    3. Silence (Blindside)
    4. Jekyll and Hyde (Petra)
    5. Hit Parade (Audio Adrenaline)
    6. Jesus Freak (DC Talk)
    7.To Hell with the Devil (Stryper)
    8. Rainbow’s End (REZ Band)
    9. Glass Harp (Glass Harp)
    10. Denison Marrs (Denison Marrs)
    11. Songs for the Shepherd (Keith Green)
    12. So Long Ago the Garden (Larry Norman)
    13. Backbreakanomics (Mars ILL)
    14. On Rock (Daniel Band)
    15.Worldwide (Audio Adrenaline)
    16. Human Emergency (Cross Movement)
    17. Beautiful Letdown (Switchfoot)
    18. Beyond Belief (Petra)
    19. Then is the New Now (Denison Marrs)
    20. Welcome To Paradise (Randy Stonehill)
    21. For Him Who Had Ears (Keith Green)
    22. Awaiting Your Reply (REZ Band)
    23. Project Damage Control (Project Damage Control)
    24. Say It Loud (Sanctus Real)
    25. It Makes Me Glad (Glass Harp)

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