CHRISTIAN MUSIC reviews
Best Chrisitan Albums of 2011
By Hannah Goodwyn
CBN.com Senior Producer
Let's take a look back at some of CBNmusic.com's favorite albums of 2011. From pop tunes to rock records, each collection features great melodies that entertain and inspire. Below you'll find a list of the website's highest rated reviews.
Imagine what Mary, a teenager, must have been thinking when she came to grips with the reality that the Messiah was actually growing on the inside of her. Can you imagine the wonder? Can you imagine the fear? Can you imagine the uncertainty for the future? Singer/songwriter Nichole Nordeman delved into her own soul to try to understand what was going on in the soul of this young Jewish girl 2,000 years ago. The lyrics she penned from this exploration are truly remarkable; along with orchestration of Bernie Herms, she wrote "Be Born in Me" for their newly released project titled Music Inspired By The Story. - craig von buseck
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The human voice is the most captivating instrument ever created. This fact has never been more apparent than with the debut album by Committed, the six man group that won Season 2 of NBC’s hit a capella singing competition show, The Sing Off. This self-titled album will give you goose bumps. - jae rae
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Remember "Fireflies" - the catchy song that dominated the airwaves last year? Well, the synthpop singer/songwriter behind that tune is set to make another music wave with his new album, All Things Bright and Beautiful. Aptly named, Owl City's refreshing record is filled with summery, bright tunes that create beautiful imagery and are backed by great dance beats. It showcases a familiar sound, one you could easily pick out of a summer radio lineup. Adam Young (the talented guy behind Owl City) proves his lyrical prowess with fun and funny songs that are far from superficial. In fact, his optimism and faith shine right through, making this new project one you’ll want to add to your collection. - hannah goodwyn
Written from her own personal trials, Laura Story sings of finding hope in Christ and a life dedicated to God in a style similar to Chris Tomlin (a CCM artist for whom she wrote "Indescribable") on her new record, Blessings. Trials will come, but songs such as the title track remind us that God is faithful and our hope can be found in Him. Story's lyrics remind us to look for blessings in raindrops. "Blessings" has more of a meditative worship feel to it while the rest of the album is more contemporary. Regardless of the style, these songs of praise and surrender to God will encourage you to fall in love with Him all over again. - lisa webber
After three indie releases, Ashes Remain have now recorded What I've Become, their major label debut. And it's great. The Baltimore rockers move seamlessly between driving rock and ballads with strings, piano, and more in between. They practically channel Skillet for "On My Own" and Thousand Foot Krutch fans will really dig "End of Me" among others. Fans of Jeremy Camp and Daughtry will also get down with this album, especially "Everything Good". These songs consistently remind us that there's always hope for the broken. By the time "Change My Life" played, I knew this one could get comfortable in my CD player for a while. Ashes Remain will become a favorite of many fans seeking a message of hope that rocks. - clay morgan
Right out the gate and without resistance, a rich and bolder Building 429 emerges into view with their latest release Listen to the Sound. Without question, this album releases the sounds of a band that emanates the maturity of “life experience” with God. Profound singable anthem tracks resonate nearly back to back with a lyrical insight that only comes from enduring trials walking out ones faith in Christ over time. The CD’s self-titled track “Listen to the Sound” brings a hopeful bold pop/rock anthem that is catchy and profound. This joyful anthem illuminates the painful transition from the old in life to the beauty of God’s new beginnings. You’ll find yourself bobbing your head to this one while singing its revelatory hopeful hooks. “One Foot”, an upbeat rhythmic rock tune, takes you on a lyrical journey exploring the truth of discovering hope and encouragement in following the path “less taken”. The entire album is a completed work. Listeners without fail will engage with Building 429’s tracks while enjoying profound lyrical transparency wrapped in the sounds of musical excellence. - jae rae
Fusing equal parts rock, folk, and some blues scattered in the mix, Matt Maher has crafted a gem on his third release, The Love in Between. Anchored by the radio hit, “Turn Around”, Maher builds upon his success as a praise and worship artist, but with a slightly harder edge. Songs such as “Rise Up”, “Woke Up in America”, and “Write Your Love on My Heart” should open up a new audience for the Newfoundland native. The only song that doesn’t really resonate is the ballad “My Only Love”. However, it should be noted this track is a love song Maher wrote for his new wife so it is likely included for highly personal reasons. The Love in Between definitely shows significant growth over previous releases, a bold statement considering the success of 2009’s Alive Again (“Hold Us Together”). - chris carpenter
Leeland's The Great Awakening, without reserve and with great creative clarity, will stir spirits to awaken out of spiritual slumber. Once again, the band's lyrical prowess and fiery passion for God's presence challenges the body of Christ to shine its light to the world. Each song, in its signature way, takes you on a journey, searching the heart while seeking a deeper understanding of God. This is especially evident in "All Over the Earth"; you can sense the band's authentic response as God's presence descended. The spontaneous praise on this track is reminiscent of worship leader Jason Upton and legendary songwriter Michael W. Smith. This anthem emanates the awe and majesty of our holy and powerful God. The spontaneity of worship is definitely an added bonus. The Great Awakening remains true to Leeland's musical talent and leanings toward profound lyrics of great spiritual resolve. Unlike their past CDs, this one is Leeland's coming-of-age story, one that will ignite the passion of the listener to be a part of God's "great awakening". - jae rae
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