The Top 100 Christian Rock Albums (1980-2019): Part Five
- The Top 100 Christian Rock Albums (1980-2019): Part One
- The Top 100 Christian Rock Albums (1980-2019): Part Two
- The Top 100 Christian Rock Albums (1980-2019): Part Three
- The Top 100 Christian Rock Albums (1980-2019): Part Four
- The Top 100 Christian Rock Albums (1980-2019): Part Five
In a memorable episode of King of the Hill, Hank Hill’s son Bobby gets involved with a Christian rock group. I won’t recap the entire episode, but there is a key scene where Hank confronts Bobby about his involvement with the band. In this scene, Hank delivers this classic (and hilarious) line to the lead singer/pastor – “Can’t you see you’re not making Christianity better, you’re just making rock and roll worse?”
Unfortunately, many people both inside and outside the church would agree with Hank Hill’s assessment of Christian rock music. Sadly these critics are not entirely wrong. Much of what has been released under the broad heading of “Christian Rock” over the years is uninspired, copy-cat, second-rate, music.
Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. There has also been plenty of great rock and roll music made by Christians over the years and we have attempted to highlight some of it in this series of articles.
Thank you all so much for taking this journey with us. We know there will be disagreements with the list and that is great. Feel free to comment here on what we should have included, or what we ranked too low or too high. Before we get to the top 10 here is a recap of 100-11. Be sure to check out parts 1-4 of this series if you want to see our thoughts on each of these albums.
- Anberlin – Never Take Friendship Personal
- Mastedon – Lofcaudio
- The Call – Reconciled
- Dimestore Prophet – Fantastic Distraction
- Delirious? – King of Fools
- Sleeping Giant – Kingdom Days in an Evil Age
- Whitecross – Triumphant Return
- Whiteheart – Highlands
- The Violet Burning
- John Mark McMillan – Mercury and Lightning
- Bride – Show No Mercy
- Demon Hunter – War
- Emery – In Shallow Seas We Sail
- Switchfoot – Oh! Gravity.
- Stryper – Soldiers Under Command
- Nouveaux – And This is How I Feel
- Caedmon’s Call
- Relient K – Mmhmm
- Vigilantes of Love – Blister Soul
- Grammatrain – Flying
- The Brave – Battle Cries
- Small Town Poets
- Five Iron Frenzy – Upbeats and Beatdowns
- Steve Taylor – I Predict 1990
- Vigilantes of Love – Audible Sigh
- DeGarmo & Key – Commander Sozo and the Charge of the Light Brigade
- Tourniquet – Vanishing Lessons
- Phil Keaggy – Find me in These Fields
- Joshua – Intense Defense
- House of Heroes – The End is not the End
- The Waiting
- Poor Old Lu – Sin
- Mylon and Broken Heart – Big World
- Holy Soldier
- Audio Adrenaline – Some Kind of Zombie
- The Call – Into the Woods
- 63 John Mark McMillan – Economy
- The Prayer Chain – Mercury
- Room Full of Walters – Sleepyhead
- Shout – In Your Face
- King’s X – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
- Honey – Lost on You
- The Listening
- Galactic Cowboys
- Thrice – To be Everywhere is to be Nowhere
- Newsboys – Going Public
- Dimestore Prophets – Love is Against the Grain
- Plankeye – The One and Only
- Anberlin – Cities
- Steve Taylor – Squint
- Shaded Red – Red Revolution
- DeGarmo & Key – The Pledge
- Guardian – Miracle Mile
- Future of Forestry – Awakened to the Sound
- Third Day – Conspiracy No. 5
- The Choir – Chase the Kangaroo
- Audio Adrenaline – Bloom
- All Star United
- The Supertones – Supertones Strike Back
- The 77s – Drowning with Land in Sight
- Sixpence None the Richer
- Adam Again – Perfecta
- Switchfoot – The Beautiful Letdown
- DC Talk – Free at Last
- The Supertones – The Adventures of the O.C. Supertones
- Petra – On Fire
- Bride – Drop
- Jars of Clay – Good Monsters
- Jars of Clay
- The Elms – The Chess Hotel
- The Waiting – Blue Belly Sky
- Switchfoot – Hello Hurricane
- Petra – More Power to Ya
- Whiteheart – Tales of Wonder
- Josh Garrels – Love & War & the Sea In Between
- Fleming and John – Delusions of Grandeur
- Plankeye – Relocation
- The Prayer Chain – Shawl
- Adam Again – Dig
- Chagall Guevara
- Uthanda – Believe
- Reflescent Tide – Spring Catalog
- John Mark McMillan – Borderland
- Stryper – To Hell with the Devil
- Dryve – Thrifty Mr. Kickstar
- DC Talk – Jesus Freak
- The Violet Burning – Demonstrates Plastic and Elastic
- NEEDTOBREATHE – Rivers in the Wasteland
Now let’s get to the top 10:
10. NEEDTOBREATHE – The Outsiders (2009)
The Bona Fides: 1 top 10 vote, 4 top 15 votes.
From the review I wrote earlier this year: “Musically and thematically, The Outsiders was a declaration that the band had no intention of fitting in, being labeled, or taking the easy road. Their music had never sounded this fresh, authentic, or natural. This was the music that had been flowing in their blood from the beginning; it only took three albums to get it out.”
Honestly, I don’t have much to add to what I’ve already written. This is a great album. Period. It’s not a pretty good album or even a very good album. It is a GREAT album and it cemented NEEDTOBREATHE’s place in the pantheon of some of the best Christian bands of all time. There is a confident maturity in every note, every line. When a band is operating at the peak of their artistic abilities, it is a beautiful thing to hear. The Outsiders is a perfect example of that. (Phill Lytle)
Essential Tracks: The Outsiders, Through Smoke, Stones Under Rushing Water, Something Beautiful, Let Us Love
9. Bride – Snakes in the Playground (1992)
The Bona Fides: 1 top 5 vote, 2 top 20, 4 top 25, 5 top 30, and 6 top 50 votes.
This is definitely the “loudest” album to land in our top 50, I am a bit surprised that it ended up as high as number 9, but six of our ten voters placed in on their list and with good reason. This record flat out rocks. Vocalist Dale Thompson (the best “screamer” in rock music history) led the way in this pounding sonic attack. The band was not afraid to tackle social issues. With prophetic clarity and urgency, they took on topics like abortion, gang violence, drug abuse, illegal immigration, and suicide. Two ballads brought a much-needed change of pace from the rest of the album. Bride had several excellent records (a couple of others even made our top 100 list) but this one is special and definitely the best place to start for anyone wanting to explore their sound. (Michael Lytle)
Essential Tracks: Rattlesnake, Would You Die for Me, I Miss the Rain, Psychedelic Super Jesus, Goodbye
8. Plankeye – Commonwealth (1996)
The Bona Fides: 2 top 10 votes, 3 top 15, 4 top 25, and 5 top 30 votes.
I hope you know and love this album! Plankeye wasn’t as well known as some other bands of their era but they recorded some of the best rock of the 90s. Commonwealth is too original to compare. You will hear distorted guitar elements as well as high soaring melodies. It’s a mix of hard-hitting rock tunes alongside reflective and resonant tracks. Scott Silletta’s scratchy voice is the perfect sound for both kinds of songs. They capture an intimate feeling with a production that almost seems live. Everything came together to make this one of our favorites. Commonwealth is timeless and at the same time distinctly 90s. Plankeye had solid albums before and after this. However, this is a band at its un-self-conscious pinnacle. (Brandon Atwood)
Essential Tracks: Whisper to Me, B.C., Push me Down (Veiled), Beautiful, Who Loves You More
7. NEEDTOBREATHE – The Reckoning (2011)
The Bona Fides: 1 top 5 vote, 2 top 10, 4 top 20, and 5 top 30 votes.
This is the band’s best album. Well, that’s my opinion but since I’m writing this blurb we are going to stick with that. It’s more mature, more confident, and more fully realized than any of their other albums. It’s a 14 song tour de force that 99% of bands could only dream of pulling off. It has all the signature NEEDTOBREATHE elements but it adds complexity and depth to every song, every arrangement, and every lyric. From the fiery opening number, “Oohs and Ahhs”, to the contemplative closer, “Learn to Love”, the band delivers an album with no cracks and no weaknesses. To my ears, the band clearly set out to create their masterpiece when they wrote and recorded The Reckoning. Regardless of the behind-the-scenes tensions the band has admitted to since the release of this album, the music is what matters most. And in The Reckoning’s case, the music is better than any fan had a right to expect. Which is saying something as their prior album, The Outsiders is a masterpiece as well. Somehow, NEEDTOBREATHE improved upon perfection.
It’s long been my contention that creating crowd-pleasing rock and roll that doesn’t pander is a much tougher task than most people realize. NEEDTOBREATHE do that and so much more and The Reckoning is the crowning jewel in their catalogue. (Phill Lytle)
Essential Tracks: Oohs and Ahs, White Fences, The Reckoning, Tyrant Kings, Devil’s Been Talkin’
6. Cush (2000)
The Bona Fides: 3 top 5 votes, 4 top 10 votes.
The band Cush is comprised of various members of other bands: The Prayer Chain, Honey, and Michael Knott’s LSU to name a few. The music is what matters so they never tell us who plays what. And that’s fine by me. The music works. It’s all ethereal vibes and effortless jam sessions. I find something new to enjoy every time I hear it.
I have always struggled with fully articulating what I love about this album. You either hear it or you don’t. It’s beautiful stuff to me, though. From the opening note, I am transported. Musically, this album defies easy labeling. It’s dreamy guitar-driven rock and roll, with just enough punch when needed. My abilities as a writer are not sufficient to do this album justice. I think the best thing I can do is to attempt to convey how I feel when I listen. There is an overwhelming sense of contentment that permeates everything. That’s not to downplay the rock elements of the album. Those are fantastic and work as well as anything else the band attempts, but as a whole, Cush creates a space of peace and contemplation. My soul is refreshed every time I spend time with this album. Does that sound a bit melodramatic? Fair enough, but that doesn’t make it any less true. (Phill Lytle)
Essential Tracks: Heaven Sent, Arching Heart, Shining Glory, Good Times, Angelica
5. The Choir – Speckled Bird (1994)
The Bona Fides: 1 top 5, 2 top 10, 4 top 20, and 6 top 30 votes.
Most Choir fans rank Circle Slide or maybe Chase the Kangaroo as their best album. While both of those are great, Speckled Bird will always be tops in my book. In 1993 the band independently released an 8 song record called Kissers and Killers. It was the loudest and most raw the band had ever sounded. They took 7 of those 8 songs, polished up the rougher edges, and added 5 new tracks to create the masterpiece that is Speckled Bird. The music combined the more grunge influenced sound they developed on Kissers and Killers with the dreamy, ethereal sound that they are known for from their other records. The lyrics were an honest look at the strain marriages can sometimes come under, while still maintaining hope that they could come out stronger on the other side. There have been many high points in the 35+ year history of this band, but this record stands above the rest for several of our voters and it deserves a top 5 spot on our list. (Michael Lytle)
Essential Tracks: Love Your Mind, Amazing, Yellow Skies, Never More True, Speckled Bird
4. Petra – Beyond Belief (1990)
The Bona Fides: 1 first place vote, 2 top 5, 4 top 10, and 5 top 15 votes.
Here is part of what I wrote for our top 10 Petra albums that REO published in 2019:
I did not grow up in the United States so finding and purchasing music, especially Christian music, was often difficult. I had become a Petra fan during the mid to late 80s and had borrowed a few of their albums from friends and copied them onto cassettes. The sound quality of those cassettes was often terrible, but it was all I had and I loved it. In 1990 my family traveled to the USA for a couple of months during the summer. We met up with some friends at the airport and I was informed that Petra was releasing a new album in late June/early July called Beyond Belief. I convinced my dad to take me to a Christian bookstore the week of July 4th and I paid my hard-earned $10 to purchase the Beyond Belief cassette. I listened to it nonstop. I let my brothers and friends borrow it, but with strict guidelines on how many times they could listen to it because I did not want the cassette to wear out. (I promise that cassettes wearing out was a HUGE concern back in the day). It wasn’t the first or last Petra record I ever heard, but it will always be my favorite.
The band is clicking on all cylinders for this album. The same lineup and the same producers had been together for several records at this point and it showed. The album was certified gold and is still one of the bestselling Christian albums of all time.
The only thing I will add to what I wrote last year is that the guitar intro to the song “Beyond Belief” is absolutely perfect. It is timeless and more than holds its own with any iconic guitar hook from any era. (Michael Lytle)
Essential Tracks – Beyond Belief, I Am on the Rock, Creed, Seen and Not Heard, Prayer
3. The Choir – Circle Slide (1990)
The Bona Fides: 2 first place votes, 3 top 5, 4 top 10, and 6 top 50 votes.
Although it could be argued that other of The Choir’s albums are better in terms of the individual songs, Circle Slide stands out as their thematic masterpiece. Dan’s swelling saxophone sirens, the calm tenor of Derri’s vocals, and the precise and downright classy drumming of Steve Hindalong all mesh together perfectly. Thematically, they step into some interesting areas, juxtaposing a track with children laughing up against a final song of restoration. This is a top-tier, artistic album of the kind of Christ-centered hope that the world needs to see. A few years ago, I was able to see them play the entire album live in its entirety. I didn’t know at the time that it would be a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. (Daniel Speer)
Essential Tracks: Circle Slide, Merciful Eyes, Tear for Tear/About Love, Sentimental Song, Blue Skies
2. Whiteheart – Freedom (1989)
The Bona Fides: 2 first place votes, 4 top 5 votes.
I’ve written well over 2,000 words about this album already for Rambling Ever On. I’m not sure what else I can say. Actually, that’s not true. I could talk about this album all day. Freedom is my album. It’s my go-to anytime I need encouragement, recharging, or just to enjoy some absolutely pitch-perfect rock and roll. I will go to my grave firmly believing this album is perfection. It is the collective masterpiece of six incredibly talented musicians and one amazing producer. It (along with Circle Slide) received more number-one votes than any other album on our list, which says something. If you enjoy late 80s rock, with a strong emphasis on melody, and a rhythm section you can feel in your bones, this is the album for you.
Find a group of Christian rock fans online. Pose the question, “What is the best Christian rock album of all time?” You will get a number of great responses. You’ll even get some repeats like Larry Norman’s Only Visiting This Planet. But, don’t be surprised if the album that gets mentioned most often is Whiteheart Freedom. It happens every time I see this question pop up. If you know, you know. And for those of us who know Freedom, there is no other album that can stand up to it. (Phill Lytle)
Essential Tracks: Sing Your Freedom, Let the Kingdom Come, Over Me, The River Will Flow, Invitation, Let It Go
1. Common Children – Delicate Fade (1997)
The Bona Fides: 4 top 5 votes, 5 top 15 votes, 6 total votes.
The album begins with a melancholy weight that transcends its era. It miraculously maintains this vibe throughout 15 beautiful songs. Common Children’s second release is certainly a product of its time (1997), but the emotions captured belong to all time. I think we are a bit shocked that this album conquered all others on this list. While this probably says something about the mean age of the contributors, it also speaks to the impact this record has had on our souls. I truly do mean souls. When I listen to this album, it is as if it skips my ears and intellect and passes straight to my inner being.
Some of the contributors to this list ran into Marc Byrd (singer, guitar, songwriter) at the 2000 Cornerstone Festival. I am sure that I was a pathetically annoying admirer. Marc was gracious and talked to us about the band and their music. (He also introduced us to Cush. Praise God for Marc!) Marc told us the story of Delicate Fade. It was an album born out of the pain of his first wife leaving him. It was a lament that occasionally waived into rage (listen to “Burn,” and “Pulse”). Overall, however, the album puts life in divine perspective, “The Eyes of God.” All our pains, plans, and joys are seen for what they are–small realities that an infinite God, scandalously, still cares about.
Aside from the band’s willingness to lay their soul bare, they also played some amazing music. I have no complaints about how the album begins, but the reality is that it gets better as it goes. Each song doing something more than we had previously heard. The magic crescendos with the acoustic love song “Drift” and the epic and ethereal “Blue Raft.” As “Blue Raft” floats you through the recklessness of life, you will know that you are listening to a truly great album. (David Lytle)
Essential Tracks: Stains of Time, Indiscreet, Drift, Blue Raft, Whisper, Pulse, Storm Boy, Delicate Fade
As we have stated repeatedly, we fully expect disagreement with our choices. Each of our voters disagrees with some of this list. Each of us has our personal Top 100. None of us agree on our rankings. This list is a result of ten very different people putting their musical tastes together to come up with as comprehensive a list as possible. We are confident we missed some great albums – we all have our blind spots. If one of your favorites didn’t make the final cut, please let us know so we can track it down and give it a spin. This is and has always been about the music. That has been our driving passion from day one – over six months ago. We truly hope that this list will be an inspiration. Seek out albums you don’t know. Go back and find some albums you haven’t heard in a long time. Simply put, listen to as much music as you can. Contrary to what Hank Hill believed, not all Christian rock made rock and roll worse. A lot of it elevated a musical genre, adding layers of spirituality, creativity, and spark. We hope you feel the same.
Finally, we created a Spotify playlist with songs from every album that was available. Unfortunately, a good number were not, which is disappointing. Still, there’s a ton of great music included and we hope you will enjoy it.
- The Top Fifty Petra Songs of All Time - April 11, 2022
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe Top Ten - September 3, 2021
- Rambling Ever On Ranks The Chronicles of Narnia - January 29, 2021
40 thoughts on “The Top 100 Christian Rock Albums (1980-2019): Part Five”
I read this last installment with racing heart and quite a bit of anticipation, even though I wasn’t familiar with all the groups (Petra and White Heart, a definite yes; love them), and it isn’t my go-to music. Thank you again, folks!
Love this! NEEDTOBREATHE for life!! ❤️❤️❤️
Wow! I am pretty shocked about the top 10. A lot of justified praise for Needtobreathe but 3 in the top 15 caused me to raise an eyebrow, as great as they are. As always I enjoyed the list even if I disagree on a lot of it. They are recent discoveries for me as well but I’d encourage you to go and listen to Daniel Amos and The Lost Dogs…specifically Motorcycle, Darn Floor Big Bite by DA and Little Red Riding Hood and Scenic Route by Lost Dogs. Other misses to me were the exclusion of Into the Sea by Attalus (2015) Keep Quiet by SONS, and Behold by My Epic.
Also, I’d love to see y’all’s individual lists that you used to compile this ultimate one of you were up for sharing. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
Lastly, did I miss a sixpence inclusion? What the what?!
Sixpence made the list.
There was some love for My Epic but not enough to make the cut.
NEEDTOBREATHE was the rare band that made it in many of our lists.
Daniel Amos is a definite blindspot for our voters. We fully recognize that.
Thanks for following along.
DA is a band that I feel like I should love because of my love for the choir, Adam again and 77s, but I’ve never fallen in love. Maybe one of these days I’ll see the light.
Ditto on Daniel Amos.
Also, I like Lost Dogs, and I definitely recognize that they are comprised of guys that can rock out (see below), but the actual Lost Dogs catalog feels a bit too folksy/bluesy/country for this list.
That said, I was at a The Choir + Mike Rowe concert a couple years hence where Derri and Mike were doing some acoustic stuff, including some Lost Dogs methinks, and were getting drowned out by metal band next door. They finally said screw this, plugged in, let Steve loose on the drums, and I never heard a sound from that other band the rest of the evening.
I’ll take Horrendous Disc over 90% of your top 100. Great album with powerful lyrics.
If we are technically accurate, it was recorded in 1978 so it wouldn’t qualify.
I appreciate this list. It gives me a bunch of new artists to explore. I am, however, surprised and a little sad that Skillet and Disciple didn’t make the list.
I know Disciple flies under the radar a lot, but they’re seriously one of the most amazing bands I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. Unapologetic in their beliefs and unstoppable in their rock. If you took the time to read this comment, please take some time to check them out.
I will give them another spin.
I voted for Skillet. More than one album, IIRC. But I think I was the only one; and, honestly, they were pretty far down on my list.
I’ve certainly listened to Disciple a fair amount but never really got into them. I’ll give them another shot though.
One word: MewithoutYou
That is all!
Great List! Although I’m 51 now, some of these bands in the 90’s I had heard of but was still going through my 70’s & 80’s CCM phase (still am actually). I WAS big on Jars Of Clay (Got the interactive debut CD) and “The Eleventh Hour” (2002), Six Pence, Dogs Of Peace and a few others. Nowadays I find myself going back and looking at the 90’s.
A FEW of my favorites not here but are still worth noting:
Burlap To Cashmire’s “Anybody Out There” (1998)…I absolutely loved this album and so did my oldest daughter who was two years old when this came out!
Whiteheart’s “Powerhouse” (1990) A great follow up album after “Freedom” (1988).
Whiteheart’s “Redemption” (1997) Musically and lyrically masterful to me…got it and wore it out while deployed to the middle-east.
Phil Keaggy’s “Sunday’s Child” (1988), “True Believer” (1995) and “Crimson And Blue” (1993).
Burlap got some votes. Not enough, unfortunately. It’s a really good album.
My personal list would have included most Whiteheart albums!
I agree with additions of VOL on the list. It was some of the best CCM in the 90’s.
I agree as well with Sixpence non the RIcher.
Some clear bands missing from the list that should be there like Daniel Amos Alarma or Doppleganger, LSU- Grace Shaker, Leslie Phillips and Over the Rhine.
You have been panned for some of the choices like Need To Breathe overkill in voting and the barely known choice at #1.
Overall, a difficult list to generate as the decades are so different in regards to Christian music.
We have been panned? Good to know.
Well, yes a few people commenting have questioned NTB placement and frequency in the top 15.
A few. Out of 1,000’s who have read it. We’ll take that ratio.
Thanks for the comment. I will definitely give Daniel Amos another chance.
I place DA kind of in a category of people love them or not. They were unique in style. They may be in a category like Frank Zappa, unique enough you either like them or not.
Add another from me! 🙂 Way to much NTB…they are good, but not that great.
Our voters disagree, obviously. Thanks for the comment!
This series was fun to follow! I enjoy seeing what albums stand out to fellow listeners. With over half of your selections coming from the 90s that was definitely your panel’s definitive era. We older folks would likely have a few more 80s albums on our personal lists.
I like to compare lists like this to HM’s Top 100 from 2010. While some of their picks were likely excluded for their secular market focus I was surprised at the overlap of only 16 albums. A couple of selections on their list that I prefer are King’s X “Faith Hope Love” over GGTN and Bloodgood “Detonation” over S/T. I also would have included some Deliverance (either S/T or Weapons of Our Warfare), Undercover “Balance of Power” and Allies “Long Way from Paradise”.
As a Needtobreathe fan, I applaud their inclusion but feel they are over represented (as others have pointed out). I personally wouldn’t have included more than 2 albums from an artist unless they were a pillar of the genre with work that spanned several decades.
Some albums I was glad to see included on your list were Freedom, Chagall Guevara, HoH The End Is Not the End, and King of Fools. There were many I was unfamiliar with and will definitely be checking out!
Long way from paradise was on my list. I’m bummed it didn’t make it.
Great list. I have at least two thirds of the albums on the list. I’m a fanboy of Gene Eugene and Adam Again and many of the bands he produced. John Mark McMillan is a recent find for me, and I love his artistry. I’m glad he is represented multiple times on the list. Your list makes me want to go through my CD’s and tapes and make my own Top 100. Because of my ADD, my family may not see me for a couple of days and may have to bring food to me in the basement.
Nothing by Rez, or Keaggy, Mark Heard, Ashley Cleveland or Larry Norman.
Keaggy made the list.
Jesus Freak should be top five.
Only one Third Day?
I need to listen to Whiteheart, The Choir and Petra.
Thanks for the comment, Doriano! I think Third Day received more votes for other albums but not enough to make the top 100.
Yes, you need to listen to those bands. Start with the albums on our list.
I have some “honorable mentions” I’d like to list:
(Since you’re including King’s X) – Collective Soul “Hints, Allegations, & Things Left Unsaid” (1993/1994) I know they later indicated they weren’t really Christians and kind of went out of their way to make that clear in their next album, but Ed Roland’s Christian upbringing comes through in the lyrics of this album. Most people know the leadoff hit “Shine” (due in part to the blistering lead guitar solo), but this album has many other great songs too: “Love Lifted Me”, “Reach”, “Breathe”, and “Burning Bridges” stand out.
Superchick “Regeneration” (2003) You may need to be a fan of the band’s other work to fully appreciate this one, but my jaw hit the floor when I heard how Max Hsu changed “So Bright” into “Stand Up”. The reimagining (remix is too confining a term for what he did) of that song sounds like a cross between Linkin Park and Evanescence. Most fans of modern Christian Rock at the time were familiar with “Barlow Girls”, and they remixed it nicely into an acoustic number with an assist from KJ-52. Another standout from the album is the remix of “Hero”, which tackles the uncomfortable topics of bullying and school shootings.
PFR “The Late Great PFR” (1997) I really got into PFR in high school with the “Goldie’s Last Day” album. I know the title track is a campy song, but I enjoy bands who don’t take themselves too seriously. Listen to the leadoff song “Walk Away From Love” (also present on the greatest hits album I’m listing) and tell me they’re not a rock band! Other notable songs are “Great Lengths”, “Forever”, “Spinnin’ Round”, “Pray For Rain”, “The Love I Know”, “Do You Want To Know Love”…I could go on & on!
Thousand Foot Krutch – Any album. Notable songs: “Supafly”, “Unbelievable”, “Rawkfist”, “Move”, “Welcome to the Masquerade”. They really need a greatest hits album!
Hawk Nelson “Letters to the President” (2004) I’ll the be first to agree that this is not their tightest album musically, but I think it is their best when you add in the lyrics. It starts off on a fun note with “California”, brings in some social commentary in “Things We Go Through”, talks about a restored relationship in “Every Little Thing”…I could explain every song but will move to the end in the interest of space…and wraps it up with the heartfelt “36 Days” about the difficulties of a life’s dream of being on the road. I think of “Long and Lonely Road” as more of an epilogue/hidden track-type song.
I’ll probably have more to mention with more time to think. I have to say that I like the Needtobreathe mentions but feel the album places should be reversed. I saw the band on tour for both albums (House of Blues-Myrtle Beach for “The Outsiders” & Gardner-Webb University for “The Reckoning”) and thought “The Outsiders” was their best effort at the time–and still do.
Good comments, Joel. “Hero” – the remix is a really good song.
I appreciate the effort it must have taken to put this list together. Thanks for doing that. Curious omissions though. Curious as to why you don’t have any Daniel Amos, Servant, Rez Band. Also, DigHayZoose, Dakota Motor Company, Flyleaf. And only 1 Keaggy album? Thanks again for doing this though. it brings back lots of memories.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Those bands received votes but didn’t make the cut. Daniel Amos is the band we have received the most pushback about, fwiw.
One more: no Margaret Becker? Soul (album) was amazing.
Thanks for putting together the list! As always, these should generate great conversation and opportunities to discover new music. I was born in 1972. Own 10,000+ CDs and have passion for these genres. Surprisingly I didn’t have 13 of the titles on your list. I kept your rules…therefore no U2 – Joshua Tree or Amy Grant – Lead Me On. However, I had to include Michael W. Smith – I (2) Eye…a classic rock album. I’ll let list below speak for itself…but notable artists that were missing include AD, Daniel Amos, David Meece, Deliverance, Glenn Kaiser/Rez, Mark Heard/Ideola, Neal Morse, Steve Camp, Theocracy and Undercover.
Loved to see White Heart – Freedom at #2. A great album that is criminally under rated by most critics.
In no order…and 5 over my limit:
AD/Kerry Livgren – Seeds of Change
AD/Kerry Livgren – Time Line
Adam Again – Dig
Affector – Harmagedon
Altar Boys – Gut Level Music
Anberlin – Cities
Arkangel – Warrior
Ashley Cleveland – Big Town
Attalus – Into the Sea
Avion – Avion
Barnabas – Approaching Light Speed
Barren Cross – Atomic Arena
Bloodgood – Detonation
Bride – Snakes in the Playground
Caedmon’s Call – 40 Acres
The Call – Reconciled
Chagall Guevara – Chagall Guevara
The Choir – Chase the Kangaroo
The Choir – Circle Slide
Chris Eaton – Vision
Crowder – Neon Steeple
Daniel Amos – ¡Alarma!
Daniel Amos – Darn Floor, Big Bite
Daniel Amos – Doppelgänger
David Meece – Candle in the Rain
David Meece – 7
DC Talk – Jesus Freak
DeGarmo & Key – Commander Sozo and the Charge of the Light Bri…
Deliverance – Deliverance
Deliverance – Weapons of Our Warfare
Demon Hunter – Summer of Darkness
Disciple – Disciple
The Elms – Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll
Fair – The Best Worst-Case Scenario
Falling Up – Falling Up
Fleming & John – Delusions of Grandeur
The Front – The Front
Galactic Cowboys – Galactic Cowboys
Geoff Moore – Foundations
Glenn Kaiser & Darrell Mansfield – Trimmed and Burnin’
Guardian – Fire & Love
House of Heroes – The End is Not the End
iDEoLA – Tribal Opera
Jars of Clay – Jars of Clay
Jennifer Knapp – Kansas
Jerusalem – Warrior
John Elefante – On My Way to the Sun
John Mark McMillan – Mercury & Lightning
Josh Garrels – Love & War & the Sea in Between
Joshua – Intense Defense
King’s X – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
King’s X – Out of the Silent Planet
L.S.U. (Lifesavers Underground) – Shaded Pain
Leslie Phillips – The Turning
Lost Dogs – Scenic Routes
Mad at the World – Mad at the World
Mae – Everglow
Margaret Becker – Immigrant’s Daughter
Mark Heard – Satellite Sky
Mark Heard – Second Hand
Mark Heard – Victims of the Age
Mastedon – Lofcaudio
Matthew Ward – Armed & Dangerous
mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister
Michael Anderson – Sound Alarm
Michael W. Smith – I 2 (Eye)
Neal Morse – One [Morse]
Neal Morse – Sola Scriptura
Neal Morse – ?
The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude of a Dream
Needtobreathe – Rivers in the Wasteland
Over the Rhine – Drunkard’s Prayer
P.O.D. – Satellite
Petra – Beat the System
Petra – Back to the Street
Petra – More Power to Ya
Rez Band – Colours
Rez Band – Silence Screams
Rick Elias – Rick Elias and the Confessions
Russ Taff – Russ Taff
Scaterd Few – Sin Disease
Seventy Sevens – All Fall Down
Seventy Sevens – Seventy Sevens
Sixpence None the Richer – Sixpence None the Richer
Steve Camp – Fire and Ice
Steve Camp – One on One
Steve Taylor – I Predict 1990
Steve Taylor – Meltdown
Stryper – To Hell With the Devil
Stryper – Soldiers Under Command
Switchfoot – The Beautiful Letdown
Switchfoot – Vice Verses
Theocracy – Mirror of Souls
Thieves & Liars – When Dreams Become Reality
Third Day – Conspiracy No. 5
Thrice – Vheissu
Undercover – Balance of Power
Undercover – Branded
Vengeance Rising – Human Sacrifice
The Violet Burning – Strength
What If – What If
White Heart – Don’t Wait for the Movie
White Heart – Freedom
Whitecross – Whitecross
4-4-1 – Mourning into Dancing
Thanks for the response and including your list. I really like your list, even if I don’t agree with all your choices. Good variety of styles and artists.
Out of curiosity, which albums did you not own?
Actually had never even heard of your #1 choice. Will add the titles below to the collection….
Audio Adrenaline – Some Kind of Zombie
Common Children – Delicate Fade
Drive – Thrify Mr. Kickstar
Future of Forestry – Awakened to the Sound
Honey – Lost on You
Luxury – Luxury
Plankeye – Relocation
Phil Keaggy – Find Me in These Fields
Nouveaux – And This is How I Feel
Reflescent Tide – Spring Catalog
Room Full of Walters – Sleepyhead
Shaded Red – Red Revolution
Uthanda – Believe
A few of those are among my favorites on our list. I hope you enjoy them, if you can track them down.
I would love to see your Top 100 in order at some point. You can email it to us or post it here – your call. email@example.com
I could cut and paste all day long…but have to stop at some point. Below is my list of top 100 albums. Not simply a list of my favorites…but I tried to merge objectivity with subjectivity. Albums ranked based on musicianship, lyrical content, originality, impact on industry, cover art, etc.
My favorite of this time period was left off the list….Neal Morse Band – Similitude of a Dream.
Too many great ones were left off the list…
Hope there’s a few that you can discover or give a closer listen!
1. Daniel Amos – ¡Alarma!
2. Petra – More Power to Ya
3. Neal Morse – Sola Scriptura
4. King’s X – Out of the Silent Planet
5. Thrice – Vheissu
6. Seventy Sevens – Seventy Sevens
7. White Heart – Freedom
8. The Choir – Circle Slide
9. Jars of Clay – Jars of Clay
10. DC Talk – Jesus Freak
11. Switchfoot – The Beautiful Letdown
12. Stryper – To Hell With the Devil
13. Steve Camp – One on One
14. Affector – Harmagedon
15. Steve Taylor – I Predict 1990
16. Daniel Amos – Doppelgänger
17. Deliverance – Weapons of Our Warfare
18. Leslie Phillips – The Turning
19. L.S.U. (Lifesavers Underground) – Shaded Pain
20. Mark Heard – Victims of the Age
21. Michael W. Smith – I 2 (Eye)
22. DeGarmo & Key – Commander Sozo and the Charge of the Light Brigade
23. Theocracy – Mirror of Souls
24. The Call – Reconciled
25. Neal Morse – ?
26. Russ Taff – Russ Taff
27. The Violet Burning – Strength
28. Thieves & Liars – When Dreams Become Reality
29. David Meece – 7
30. Undercover – Branded
31. Fleming & John – Delusions of Grandeur
32. Josh Garrels – Love & War & the Sea in Between
33. Bride – Snakes in the Playground
34. Rez Band – Silence Screams
35. Altar Boys – Gut Level Music
36. Chagall Guevara – Chagall Guevara
37. The Choir – Chase the Kangaroo
38. AD/Kerry Livgren – Seeds of Change
39. King’s X – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
40. Glenn Kaiser & Darrell Mansfield – Trimmed and Burnin’
41. Galactic Cowboys – Galactic Cowboys
42. House of Heroes – The End is Not the End
43. Scaterd Few – Sin Disease
44. The Front – The Front
45. Barren Cross – Atomic Arena
46. P.O.D. – Satellite
47. Steve Taylor – Meltdown
48. Neal Morse – One
49. Deliverance – Deliverance
50. Caedmon’s Call – 40 Acres
51. John Mark McMillan – Mercury & Lightning
52. Ashley Cleveland – Big Town
53. Adam Again – Dig
54. Crowder – Neon Steeple
55. Geoff Moore – Foundations
56. iDEoLA – Tribal Opera
57. Daniel Amos – Darn Floor, Big Bite
58. Jerusalem – Warrior
59. Bloodgood – Detonation
60. Petra – Beat the System
61. Undercover – Balance of Power
62. Third Day – Conspiracy No. 5
63. What If – What If
64. John Elefante – On My Way to the Sun
65. Needtobreathe – Rivers in the Wasteland
66. Rez Band – Innocent Blood
67. Joshua – Intense Defense
68. Anberlin – Cities
69. Mark Heard – Satellite Sky
70. Avion – Avion
71. Seventy Sevens – All Fall Down
72. Mastedon – Lofcaudio
73. Rick Elias – Rick Elias and the Confessions
74. AD/Kerry Livgren – Time Line
75. Petra – Back to the Street
76. Switchfoot – Vice Verses
77. Steve Camp – Fire and Ice
78. Attalus – Into the Sea
79. Whitecross – Whitecross
80. Sixpence None the Richer – Sixpence None the Richer
81. The Elms – Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll
82. Mae – Everglow
83. Margaret Becker – Immigrant’s Daughter
84. Mark Heard – Second Hand
85. Stryper – Soldiers Under Command
86. mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister
87. Vengeance Rising – Human Sacrifice
88. Arkangel – Warrior
89. Chris Eaton – Vision
90. Fair – The Best Worst-Case Scenario
91. Falling Up – Falling Up
92. Jennifer Knapp – Kansas
93. Lost Dogs – Scenic Routes
94. Matthew Ward – Armed & Dangerous
95. Demon Hunter – Summer of Darkness
96. 4-4-1 – Mourning into Dancing
97. Michael Anderson – Sound Alarm
98. Mad at the World – Mad at the World
99. Guardian – Fire & Love
100. Barnabas – Approaching Light Speed
I would have added Free Flying Soul by The Choir.