Top Five Albums of 2011 That You're Not Listening To (Probably)

There are albums that everyone just goes out and gets, that everyone knows the songs off of, that you just buy the album because a certain artist put it out.  These are not those albums.  These albums need to be discovered.  The songs will probably not be in heavy rotation on KLOVE or The Message XM station wedged in between the a Tomlin song and a Kari Jobe single.  (which, by the way, is not a dig on Kari - I happen to love "We Are," especially the acoustic version.)

No, these records are not for the faint of heart, pop-music-loving masses.  They are not praise and worship albums that will have three songs each on the CCLI top 100. They are not even "feel good" albums, necessarily.  Some of them explore dark places, with the ultimate resolution that the Light of the World shines into those places. Some of these songs might hurt, or make you uncomfortable.  Some of them might make you listen to music a new way.  Some of them will drown you in awesomesauce.  You still need to listen to them.

Rita Springer - The Playlist

I didn't do much album reviewing this year.  With ForgeCon and everything else, there wasn't much time.  I have been listening to a ton of stuff, though, and I did a quick review of this record in October.  You might say "Oh, I know Rita Springer!  Not really.  This is an album that shows what authentic music sounds like.

David Crowder* Band - Oh For Joy 

I know, I know.  I'm a Crowder junkie.  But seriously, if you buy one Christmas album this season, get this one.  Reverent and innovative at the same time.  I can't stop listening to it.

Sojourn - The Water and the Blood: The Hymns of Issac Watts Vol 2

You will never hear another band like Sojourn.  So you need to listen.  This second installment of music based on the music of Issac Watts is simply brilliant.  Be clear - this is original music.  But it takes the timless concepts, language and feel of classic hymnody and translates it into modern, gritty, bluesy awsomeness.

John Mark McMillian - Economy 

Call it a followup to the brilliant The Medicine; I don't care.  This record clearly stands on its own two feet.  John Mac's second Integrity release is full of the same kind of  edgy, dark and thick motifs that made the last album so great.  He doesn't hold back a bit, lyrically or musically.  (it's really impossible for me to think of John singing without James Dukes' haunting electric guitar work behind him) Just the titles of the songs-  "Murdered Son," "Sins are Stones,"Our Hearts Bleed" - can give you chills.

Daniel Bashta - The Sounds of Danial Bashta 

If you buy one album off this list, get this one.  This is what prophetic worship needs to be; like someone formed Jason Upton into a laser and burned him into your chest. This record is not for the faint of heart, or for those who do not like to dig to deeply into their relationship with God. The lyrics are brutal at times, especially from "The Sound" (Darkness do you fear me/do you fear me/Are you trembling?) and "Like a Lion" (My God's not dead/He's surely alive/He's living on the inside/roaring like a lion!)  I love me some Crowder, but they didn't do justice to this song when the "passionized" it.  (and we won't even talk about the Newsboys' cover - shudder)


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