// sunday music: top worship albums of the past decade (part 2)

Okay, here’s the second part of the top worship albums of the past decade (you can find the first part here). Same principles apply as last time – i’m going in mostly alphabetical order, i’ve tried not to repeat too many artists, and if i’ve missed anyone, let me know!

* * *

Fling Wide – Misty Edwards: It’s a hard call choosing between this and Misty Edwards’ excellent Relentless (featuring what is probably her biggest song to date, “You Won’t Relent”), but Fling Wide is a great album. Misty Edwards’ passion is equalled by almost nobody, and she’s certainly pushed the boundaries of worship over the past few years, producing songs that are often alienating or bizarre, in contrast to the prevailing trends in worship.

Here’s Arms Wide Open, one of the best songs off Fling Wide. If you like it, check out “Soul Cry” and “Rend”, as well as “I will waste my life”, probably my favourite Misty Edwards song:

Singalong – Phil Wickham: It’s odd that Phil Wickham’s best album is the one that he gave away for free, but the energy and raw passion that he brings to this live concert makes it one of the best worship experiences of the past decade. If you were ever annoyed by the faux-love song lines that open “Beautiful” (“the colours of the morning are inside Your eyes”? Seriously?) then hopefully you’ll be converted back to Phil Wickham’s awesome talent by “True Love”, here. Sadly, Sony won’t let me embed it.

For the record, by the way, I love “Beautiful”. Don’t send me hate mail.

The Beautiful Letdown – Switchfoot: The very first post that I ever wrote on this blog was about Switchfoot, and Jon Foreman’s music has a very special place in my heart. Millions bought The Beautiful Letdown, and “Dare You to Move” was featured on One Tree Hill whilst “Meant to Live” was the official song of Spiderman 2, but for all of that, there’s a flair and an honesty to the album that’s pretty rare in mainstream worship.

“On Fire”, with its lines “when everything inside me | Looks like everything I hate | You are the hope I have for change | You are the only chance I’ll take | And I’m on fire when You’re near me…” is a contender for best song off the album, although it’s competing with the magnificent “Twenty-Four” for that accolade:

Of course, though, being another Sony-owned song, it won’t embed and so you’ll have to click here to watch it.

Happy Day – Tim Hughes: Controversially, I’ve chosen not to include Holding Nothing Back on this list, because in spite of the quality of the songwriting, I don’t actually think it’s an album that can withstand long-term listening. That said, live it is an incredible experience, and a recent live album captured that perfectly.

I’ve chosen “Here I am to Worship” from this album as, even in spite of the fact that it’s been basically played to death, this duet with Delirious?’s Martin Smith actually succeeds in re-invigorating it again, and it’s worth listening to for that alone. Other highlights include “Give Us Your Courage”, “God of Justice”, “Everything” and an amazing version of “When I Survey”, though, which is arguably even better than Bluetree’s:

All My Devotion – Kristene Mueller: Jesus Culture collaborator Kristene Mueller doesn’t subscribe to the same musical stylings as her contemporaries, preferring a thoughtful acoustic-folk instead – but her lyrics are tight and thought-provoking, and her melodies are really strong. In All My Devotion she crafted an appealing package that ended up being one of the worship highlights of the past few years, with almost every track being outstanding.

Check out “Redemption” here, with a surprisingly good video too, and if you like this be sure to look up “Praise the Lord”, “St Francis” and “Homeward Bound” as well:

Revolution – YFriday: I suspect many people will disagree with me that Newcastle rock band YFriday deserve to be on this list, but they are worthy of a place in the top worship albums of the past decade, having built up a whole series of tightly-crafted Christian pop tunes. They were the ones behind “Everlasting God”, co-written with Brenton Brown, and “Revolution”, their third album, is genius.

If you don’t believe me, listen to “Start of the Summer” here and then check out their “Best Of” album on Spotify here, being sure to pay particular attention to “Saved the Day”, “Revolution”, “Holy Holy Holy”, and “At the Cross”, and avoiding the moment on “Universal” where they rip Feeder’s “Seven Days in the Sun” off so shamelessly that they could be sued for it:

Organic Family Hymnal – REND Collective Experiment: A popular choice, the REND Collective Experiment have steadily been gaining momentum for the past couple of years, thanks in part to their creative videos and that iphone worship video that was watched by virtually everyone (and which North Point Baptist Church subsequently nicked). Organic Family Hymnal is quirky, creative and unlike much else out there, thanks in large part to the collective element, as well as the fact that they actually listen to music outside of the Christian sub-culture – or so i’m told.

The singles were great, but the high point for me is a beautiful reworking of Wesley’s “Love Divine” (which is on Grooveshark here). However, it’s not on Youtube, so you’ll have to make do with the great video from “You Bled” instead:

Which you can find here (of course, it won’t embed).

Blessed Be Your Name – Matt Redman: A little bit of a cheat, given that this is effectively a “greatest hits” album, but it’s all live, and nobody benefits from being in a live worship setting as much as Matt Redman (or maybe Bruce Springsteen). Recorded live, and spanning most of Matt Redman’s career, there’s a freshness to these arrangements that makes it one of the best worship albums I’ve ever heard. It’s one I come back to again and again.

Here’s “I will offer up my life”:

Awakening – Passion: Another Passion album, too, this time from the 2010 conference. Great live versions of a number of well known songs from the past year – including “You Alone Can Rescue” by Matt Redman and David Crowder’s version of “How He Loves” – but also additional tracks such as Chris Tomlin’s “Our God” and “Awakening”, or my particular favourite, Crowder’s “Like a Lion”.

Which you can listen to here:

Honourable mentions: There are others, of course, that have not been mentioned on this list. Delirious? have a great album called “Farewell Show” which is worth looking into. Lecrae‘s album “Rebel” is an amazing Christian rap album. And Brenton Brown should really feature on this list, but my church has overplayed his songs and so doesn’t…

Martyn Layzell’s “Turn My Face” is great, thoughtful music. thebandwithnoname and LZ7 deserve a mention. Hillsong‘s “This is Our God” and the “I Heart Generation” are good, too, and worth listening to. Casting Crowns’ album “Lifesong” in particular is one that deserves a wider shout-out, being amazing, prophetic songwriting, but time is short. Gungor did a great job covering Israel Houghton (who is also worth a look) on “Beautiful Things”. And Bethel Church‘s “Here is Love” is another superb album in the Jesus Culture mode.

* * *

However, that’s it for the top worship albums of the past decade! I’ll make a grooveshark playlist of these and post it later in the week so you can listen to a selection. Until then, let me know what I’ve missed and I’ll see you on Friday!

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  1. I’d have to put David Gate’s Unapproachable Light somewhere on here, Glo as my Delirious? pick, totally agree with Where Angels Fear to Tread, especially for the less-played songs…

    • I’ve not heard David Gate, so I’ll have to withold judgement on that one until I have.

      “Glo” is a good call too, though – i actually thought it was pre-2000, but apparently it came out in October of that year…

    • Dan
    • August 6th, 2011

    did you ever make that grooveshark playlist? if so where can i find the link?

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