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GGFG’s Five Albums of 2015
By Abby Phillips
2015 has really been a banner year for Christian music. We have seen some great new artists with stunning styles and sounds, and older artists transforming their sounds into fresh, relevant tunes. Thus, I wanted to summarize my top five album picks of 2015. Some of these artists are widely popular; others you may not recognize. However, of the many albums that came out this year, a few really distinguished themselves. As we are approaching the holiday season, you may also find that these records make great gift ideas. Enjoy!
#5: Sound of the Saints - Audio Adrenaline
A name often associated with big hits such as "Kings & Queens" and "Big House," Audio Adrenaline still making strong, relevant music. Their latest album, Sound of the Saints, suggests that this band is not finished making great music. This album is a solid blend of both Praise and Worship and harder Christian Rock songs. I would suggest this album for the basic Contemporary Christian Music lover. See my full review of this album at: http://www.godlygirlsforgod.com/AudioA.html
#4: Blanca - Blanca
Blanca is better known as one of the lead singers of the popular band, Group1Crew. However, this last year she felt called by God to step out in faith and start a new band. The result is her spectacular first album, Blanca. Both male and female listeners will find much to admire in Blanca's spirited, piercing music that takes pop to a new level. This lengthy record (containing 14 tracks) features famous guest artists: Christian rappers Lecrae and Tedashii. As these artists' presence would indicate, Blanca also has some rap/hip-hop styles present in her music. With touching lyrics, energizing sounds, and quite a bit of flair, Blanca has created a masterpiece of an album. This would be a perfect gift for the pop lover in your family!
#3: This Is Not a Test - tobyMac
Christian music giant tobyMac is back as strong as ever with his seventh studio album, This Is Not a Test. I consider this album to be one of tobyMac's best works yet, as it blends his old styles and newer sounds successfully. Listeners get a taste of Toby's original style from his older albums, as well as a sampling of jazz, pop, rock, and rap. This album also features Toby’s two radio hits, "Beyond Me," and "Feel It (feat. Mr. Talkbox)". A testimony to Toby's dedication to the Christian music genre, This Is Not a Test is true to the positive messages he has always projected.
This album in particular is filled with messages of hope and encouragement. One thing I also liked was the specific topic of this album: that we as Christians should keep serving, and "...run with endurance the race God has set before us (Hebrews 12:1 NLT). This message is presented in "Til the Day I Die (feat. NF)." In this song, Toby presents this attitude, telling his fans that he is going to keep serving "till the wheels fall off, till the spotlight fades." You can read the full review here: http://www.godlygirlsforgod.com/TobyM.html
#2: Something Different - Sidewalk Prophets
Sidewalk Prophets was, for quite a while, a pretty basic CCM band that wrote a couple of radio hits. Conversely, the music industry received a shock when Sidewalk Prophets released their third studio album, Something Different. Something Different is, quite honestly, something very different from Sidewalk Prophets' previous works. This album is a smorgasbord of sounds, with many different genres and styles contained within it. It is completely the opposite of a one-sound, record, containing: hard rock, peaceful Hawaiian songs, 80's rock, soft soulful music, and tasteful R&B tunes.
This album ranked 2nd because it is an extremely solid and well-planned piece of music. All of the songs fit together, even with their different styles, and the tracks are developed pieces of music that could stand alone. Even if you were not a fan of Sidewalk Prophets in the past, I highly recommend giving Something Different a try. If you want to read more about this album, check out my review at: http://www.godlygirlsforgod.com/Sidewalk.html
#1: Diamonds - Hawk Nelson
Diamonds is, perhaps, the best hidden treasure of 2015 in the Christian music world. This colorful, unassuming little album actually is a treasure trove of astounding, artistic songs. Hawk Nelson has shown themselves to be highly skilled at creating Christian Pop with this awesome record. Although they have been a band for many years, Hawk Nelson recently drew attention in the CCM genre when their single from Diamonds, "Drops In The Ocean," spent a solid nine weeks at the top of the Billboard's Christian AC Indicator chart.
Far from being a one-hit wonder, however, Hawk Nelson expertly crafted every other track on this record. Many of the songs on Diamonds are energetic, enthusiastic, and just plain fun. Some examples include, "Diamonds," "Sold Out," "Thank God for Something," and "Straight Line." The theme of Diamonds is also one of the best I have seen in 2015. It is that Christians are being refined by hard times into better people. As Hawk Nelson says, "The Joy of the Lord... will be my strength. When the pressure is on, He's making diamonds." This spectacular record will capture the attention of music lovers with its impressive tracks. For more about Diamonds, here's my review: http://www.godlygirlsforgod.com/Diamonds.html
There are GGFG's Top Five Albums of 2015. I hope you have enjoyed these records as much as I have like reviewing them. As 2016 approaches, I look forward to another amazing year of Christian music. I can't wait to see what the CCM genre holds in these upcoming months. Stay tuned for more music reviews!
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