Album List/Compilation/Review Thread

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JairCrawford

Senior Member
Oct 31, 2017
107
5
0
#1
Review and/or list what you feel are the best Christian albums!

To kick it off, I'll list mine. My musical standards tend to favor melody-writing, production, and arrangement. Vocal quality comes second to those things while lyrics come third.

I consider these albums to be standouts, which means I would buy them on CD if I have not already. Typically in order to fit this criteria, I have to really like at least 55 to 60 percent of the track-list.

Amy Grant

Age To Age (1982) - There isn't much to be said here that hasn't already been said. This one's a classic.

Unguarded (1986) - Many people prefer her later album "Lead Me On" to this one, but I enjoy this one much more. One of her best IMO.

Heart In Motion (1991) - This one was controversial when it came out, but musically it's a blast!

Darlene Zschech

Kiss Of Heaven (2003) - When I first heard this, I thought it was a bit poppy. But the songs speak for themselves. She is such a great songwriter. This is a standout album.

David Evans

Spirit (1992) - This one is a relatively unknown gem. A few cheesy tracks on here but the majority of them stand out. The production and his voice are out of this world.

Downhere

​So Much For Substitutes (2003) - This one is hard to describe. They have a very unique rock sound and this is probably their best album. Check it out!

Hillsong

Show Your Glory (1990) Currently Out Of Print - A relatively unknown and very hard to find album. This is an early studio album from the church in their early days featuring songs mostly by Geoff Bullock. It also features some of Darlene Zschech's early vocals. It is an absolute shame it is out of print because it is in my opinion their best album musically, and the production is absolutely incredible. If you are fortunate enough to find this somewhere, give it a listen. It really is amazing.

People Just Like Us (1994) - One of the churches earlier albums in their Hillsong Worship (once called Hillsong Live) series, and probably the best in said series. A few songs are cheesy but man, even in the early days the production and arrangement is amazing! Plus, this has the first ever recording of Shout To The Lord on it.

Shout To The Lord 2000 (1998) - This album features Darlene Zschech as worship leader as Geoff Bullock stepped down in 1995. This was my first introduction to Hillsong as a kid and many a great memory is associated with it.

You Are My World (2001) - Darlene leads again here. Production is absolutely huge and the songs are amazing. Check it out!

Jars Of Clay

Jars Of Clay
(1995) - This one was almost an honorable mention because it has quite a few songs that are a bit on the folksy side for me, but it simply has too many good songs to ignore, and even some of the folksy ones have grown on me.

Jason Upton

Faith (2001) - It can get repetitive at times, but it has some of the most powerful worship music I have ever heard. Probably one of the better modern worship records. Absolutely sublime.

Jennifer Knapp

Kansas (1998) - Almost an honorable mention for pretty much the exact same reasons as Jars Of Clay, a lot of very folksy songs, but there are too many good ones to ignore here. A fantastic album.

Katy Hudson

Katy Hudson (2001) Currently Out Of Print - Almost an honorable mention because her voice is very rough in areas here, but the songwriting and production are so very good. Also worth noting is that she wrote four out of the ten songs and co-wrote the rest at a very young age. This album really grew on me and some of the lyrics are particularly powerful. I definitely recommend checking it out. And yes, this was the Christian album she released before she would later re-emerge as Katy Perry.

Matthew Ward

Fortress (1990) - This is another relatively unknown gem. I love the production on this album and Matthew Ward has such a unique and distinctive voice.

Natalie Grant

Awaken (2005) - This album had a lot of singles that got played on CCM radio. At the time, they were arguably overplayed. Over the years though, looking back, the songs were played a lot for a reason. There are so many fantastic songs on this album. It probably has the best song-writing from her career thus far, IMO.

Newsong!

Trophies Of Grace (1986) Currently Out Of Print - This one was almost an honorable mention because it has some VERY cheesy production on it. Very dated. This marked the beginning of the quartet's transition from southern gospel sound into a bit of a more poppy sound. The album grew on me, and barring about three very cheesy songs, it's a great album. Hard to find though.

Say Yes! (1987) - This marked a clearer stage into the bands switch in sound from southern gospel quartet to more 80's pop, and it is delicious!

Light Your World (1989) - From the later part of their original quartet era, Newsong! released three consecutive albums that were the best in their career, IMO. This one was the first.

Living Proof
(1990) - This one is the second. Absolutely phenomenal.

All Around The World (1993) Currently Out Of Print - This was the bands last album with the original line-up, and my personal favorite. They need to hurry up and re-release this already! So good!

People Get Ready (1994) - This was their first album featuring a new line-up including Russ Lee, and probably their strongest album outside of the original line-up. They've release good material since, but not quite as consistently solid, IMO.

Rebecca St. James

God
(1996) - A childhood favorite of mine. Some of the lyrics are cheesy, but the music and the production will blow the roof off! Such an energizing record!

Transform
(2000) - Almost an honorable mention due to a few very cheesy power-pop songs. But the rest of the album is sonically and atmospherically unique. Check it out!

If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something (2005) - My personal favorite of hers. The songwriting is at a whole new level here, and the whole sound of the album is just great. Highly recommended.

Red

End Of Silence (2006) - I'm still waiting for the band to one-up this one. One of the best modern Christian hard rock albums out there.

Sarah Kelly

Where The Past Meets Today (2005) - This one is a relatively unknown gem. The songwriting is absolutely profound and her vocals are out of this world. Check it out!

Skillet

Alien Youth (2001) - This album is fun and it just rocks! Plus the last two tracks are absolutely beautiful. Probably their best album IMO.

Collide (2003) - Very good album and their first venture into their more modern rock sound. This is probably the best from their modern rock material, IMO.

Steven Curtis Chapman

Real Life Conversations (1988) - An old one from him, but my favorite. So many great songs!

Stryper

To Hell With The Devil (1986) - Ok, so this album does have its cheesy moments, but it also has a lot of great songs!

Against The Law (1990) - Another controversial release. Still, musically, this is probably their best, IMO.

So those are the albums that really popped to my mind more than any others. I may put up a list of honorable mentions eventually but there will be a lot! lol

Feel free to share what albums you enjoy the most! You don't have to do a list like mine. It can be more simple. Or you can just post a review. Or you don't have to list at all we can just discuss our favorite albums!

Your turn!
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
811
113
#2
Hmm... such things are difficult, i have so much music it's difficult to remember even the standouts haha. Let's see.

Strongarm - Atonement, 90s Spirit Filled Hardcore. Powerful, technical and great lyrics. One of my favorite 90s vocalists. Great guy, and he went on to become a pastor. Saw them live about 7 times, since they were local.
[video=youtube;AFt6BTrgpWQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFt6BTrgpWQ[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#3
Resurrection Band - Lament, 90's rock album with a strong 70s rock/blues feel. Normally not my flavor, but done spectacularly. One of the most important albums to me when dealing with depression as a teen. Even after all this time it can be an emotional listen.
The band started in the early 70s and went for over 25 years. The singer was a pastor, lead a homeless ministry, a communal living home, a 4 day music festival, his band, a record label and still managed to be a father and husband.
[video=youtube;jaQjBGfSouo]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaQjBGfSouo[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#4
Saviour Machine - I & II
Both fantastic albums. Great Christian goth. Highly controversial band that actually had their music pulled from Christian bookstores. With lots of symbolism, both lyrically and visually. Also, one of my all time favorite singers.
They went on to make a retelling of Revelations through a trilogy release. It became such a large task they last album had to be split into 2, the second which never was finished. The singer was such a perfectionist he made himself sick working on the albums for years. This lead to a series of health issues. Nearly 20 years later and the final album was never completed. He disappeared from music until a few years back when he did a few live, acoustic performances.
Another band that aided me in my depression.
[video=youtube;1JQwr8TrAmg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JQwr8TrAmg[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#5
Demon Hunter - The Triptych, While one of my least favorite genres, this album was a standout among the 20+ years of metalcore. Also my favorite album of 2005. Rarely can i make such a statement. Powerful, heavy and the clean vocals weren't whiny like so many in the genre. Also the band seemed to be more straightforward about their faith at this time. Saw them live, twice. Awesome both times. While i love their heavier stuff, the more mellow songs often gripped me.

[video=youtube;08r7PK4Lq8w]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08r7PK4Lq8w[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#6
Killswitch Engage - The End Of Heartache
Another mc rare. And a secular band, but their lyrics often mark it hard to notice. Their first vocalist was a Christian, their second (on this album) seems to have been raised with some sort of Christian influence, based off of things i've read of him. Sometimes the guitarist does as well. Now their original vocalist is back.
This album stands out with amazing vocals, in depth, personal lyrics and a great heavy, yet melodic at times, sound.
Currently it's bittersweet to listen to this album, so not something i am able to hear much for now.

[video=youtube;UjjUYFn_g4c]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjjUYFn_g4c[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#7
The Altar Billies - Head'n Out West
A newer genre for me to enjoy, rockabilly, i'd heard some songs i started enjoying, but this was the first album i really enjoyed. There are a few stinkers on it, in my opinion, but i'm not deeply into the scene. Those more into the genre as a whole may enjoy the few i dislike.
Really this music is fun and that's what i like. Somewhat surprising i enjoy something with such a country influence, as i think country is one of the worst forms of music. But being an influenced by an older sound of country (as opposed to the bile of modern 'country') is probably why it's more easy to enjoy. Lyrics are mostly encouraging as well. So it's a good pick me up album. Not to mention a fun video.
Vocalist is also the former vocalist of the old Christian 'punk' (i never viewed them as punk) band The Altar Boys. So the play on words with the name is pretty clever.

[video=youtube;GTRmUxTmed8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTRmUxTmed8[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#8
The Indyderz - The Sinner's Songbook
Ska. Got huge in the Christian scene in the 90s. I kind of enjoyed a few, but musically and lyrically so many bands sounded so teeniebopper. Cheesy lyrics and too pop sounding. So as the 90s passed, so did my interest in ska.
Years later, as an adult this old band released this album. 'Ska-core' is the listed genre. A huge improvement, soundwise, from the repetition of regular ska. This album was more mature lyrically and musically, yet still maintained a few fun songs. So it had variety.
I probably listened to this album 300 out of 365 days the first year i heard it. Sometimes many times a day. It had some bittersweet connections to it at one point, but fortunately those are dissolved and i'm free to enjoy it again, though it does still stir some memories up.
One thing i liked was a sense of unity and acceptance found on this album. Kind of an everymans Christianity in contrast to the religiousness we see so often anymore, sometimes within ourselves even.
Fun fact, the vocalist is a cop.

[video=youtube;S2iDkmyf_Vw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2iDkmyf_Vw[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#9
King Shon and the S. S. M. O. B.
Yes, rap. Old gangsta rap, but Christian. As a teen, and still now, i loved the sound of gangsta rap, but couldn't handle the lyrics. This was one of the few Christian releases that had that West Coast sound. A few other groups tried, but none came close to doing it as well as this.
Back then the 'N' word was used often in Christian rap, particularly among the gangsta rap. This album was no exception. Used it frequently, but was not the one to use it the most haha. I believe this song doesn't have it though.

[video=youtube;yHJZ1t_P2-M]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHJZ1t_P2-M[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#10
The Crucified - Full Discography
Originally a punk band of young teens with a series of demos and live recordings in the 80s to 90s. They went on to be hugely popular in the Christian metal scene once they transitioned to more of a crossover sound. Their first label release had obvious punk influences with touches of metal. Their second label release the metal was much more prominent, while still maintaining that crossover sound. A style barely ever touched in Christian music.
This song was never officially released, having been recorded after their second (and final) album.
This was just good music to jam to. Over the span of their existence the lyrics ranged from end times to tv preachers and the pope to suicide.
Their logo, the nail cross with thorns shown in the video, was probably one of the most tattoo'd images in the Christian metal/punk scene at the time.

[video=youtube;dfTpjgJmyk4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfTpjgJmyk4[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
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#11
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra

Closest, that i know of, that ever came to a Christian swing band. They had some great swing songs. But tended to vary in their styles so there was never a full swing album. They had some bluesy stuff, and even a Dixieland jazz song. Sometimes they were just a bit of a bland CCM. Last i remember they went in a more CCM with slight rock influence. Very boring. But for making some great swing songs, and even some other good songs not quite swing, they are still a standout.
My only complaint about their overall sound is the singer. He seems as though he's barely passable in his singing. More like he can carry a tune, rather than be a lead singer. A better singer could've made this way better. But, in his defense, he does some good scat and is a solid trumpet player.

[video=youtube;FGS3Yhp_Uso]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGS3Yhp_Uso[/video]
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,839
811
113
#12
Ethereal Scourge - Judgement And Restoration
Great album. 90s Christian death metal. I always found this album beautiful, in an odd way. I think the lyrics, almost poetic and inspiring. And the music so flowing and natural, even for the genre. They spent 4 years making this album and it shows. Greatly underrated band from Australia.
Lyrics under the video.

[video=youtube;0f1-fwLIg0g]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f1-fwLIg0g&index=3&list=PLAD5809039292A608[/video]

My life i lay it down
And bow before your throne
My life i give to you
By sacred blood i am your son
You're the fire that heats my veins
The power in my soul
By Christ the serpent's bane
You are all the life i know
Be warm my heart of stone
Glowing by your hearth of grace
As my life is not my own
My darkened past you laid to waste

And my life is not my own
My corpse you sank without a trace

So let it be
Now and forever
Sovereign King
So let it be
I'm yours Almighty Lord
Send me where you may
I praise your mercy touch of love
Breathe and i will fly

And i will worship you
When the moon it bleeds and the sun is black
And i will worship you
When the earth breaks and the sky it cracks
All glorify your name