This is my last installment of the year. Want to check out my most anticipated albums of 2016? Read on to find out!
- Steven Curtis Chapman– Worship and Believe
Steven Curtis Chapman has been one of my favourite artists of all time. Releasing what I reckon by far is his finest in The Glorious Unfolding in 2013, lyrically and musically, this chief of singer/songwriters is back with a new album, his first worship album in his whole career. And to think that this veteran in on the other side of the big 5-0, the best from Steven is I reckon still ahead of him. Just by listening to his first single from the album, “Amen”, and I can tell this album will be a favourite of mine in 2016. Listen to “Amen” below. Are you going to check out Worship and Believe come March 2016?
- Rachel Platten– Wildfire
A mainstream artist on my list of anticipated albums? Stranger things have happened. Rachel’s hard work for over a decade has led her to where she is today- about to release her debut signed album on New Years Day. And if songs like “Fight Song” and “Stand By You” are of any indication, this is going to be an album that’ll connect with millions of listeners worldwide, on many different levels. Sure, the album may not be declaring anything to do with Christianity, yet I believe (and I truly believe this) that God can still use this album for His glory. Check out the music videos of “Stand By You” and “Fight Song” below, the album drops 1/1/2016.
- The Afters– Live on Forever
One of the albums on my anticipated list that has been kept under wraps, The Afters haven’t released any new material since 2013. Yet if this new album is anything like lead single and the title track “Live on Forever”, then fans of The Afters, myself included, would most likely hear their most refined and lyrically ingenious album yet. While the band has valued quality over quantity (rather than churning out albums, what they’ve written and released, though spaced apart, is golden musically and lyrically), lead singer Josh Havens and the band are sure to deliver an album certain to be within my top 30 albums list come this time next year…is it February 2016 yet? Album releases February 12th.
- Joy Enriquez– The Call
With a career expanding more than 15 years, Joy Enriquez has ventured into Christian music after starting in the mainstream media. Realising that what she was singing about wasn’t directed to her calling, to be an instrument and vessel for Christ, this is what she has worked upon, to be released in January 2016, to show us all her step of faith. The Call, just from listening to first single “Hallelujah” alone, ought to be a powerhouse of fun, emotion, poignancy and heartfelt messages. Add to the fact that Joy sounds strikingly similar vocally to CCM artist Mandisa, you can be forgiven to think that this new song is the first radio single from Mandisa’s new album (which I reckon could be coming in 2016). Watch out for Joy’s album January 15th 2016. Will you be getting yourself a copy? I know I would!
- Audrey Assad– Inheritance
Another album from Audrey, even though last year she announced she’d be stepping away from solo work to focus on her band material? This time Audrey releases a hymns record, also on New Years Day. Like The Afters’s album, this new one from Audrey is under wraps- the album cover and tracklisting haven’t even been publicised until a few days ago. Nevertheless, with Audrey’s heartfelt voice and ability to create music that transcends all boundaries, maybe even including religious ones; this is an album to definitely pick up if you are a fan of Audrey and her previous music.
- Jody McBrayer– Keep Breathing
An album from an ex-Avalon-ian? Count me in. Melissa Greene’s solo album back in 2009 was quite possibly one of the most underrated albums of that year, and Jody’s comeback into the musical hemisphere has been nothing more than intriguing and interesting to say the least. While the band Avalon hasn’t made any more music since their 2009 album Reborn, what Jody I’m sure tends to fill is the gap created by him when he left the band in the mid-2000s. I’m sure this new album will have a lot of musical similarities to that of Avalon during the 1990s/early 2000s, which is why I reckon this album will sure to do well both critically and commercially. Who doesn’t like a throwback every once in a while?
- Meredith Andrews– Deeper
Grouped with Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant, Kerrie Roberts and Rebecca St. James has one of my favourite female vocalists ever, Meredith’s heart for worship is evident in her albums The Invitation, As Long as It Takes and Worth It All. Deeper, dropping February 19th, is her forthcoming album, and also one that’ll be anticipated by me, all the way up until the release date. Not only are her songs honest, powerful, enjoyable and heartfelt, but she has become a worship leader and singer/songwriter that is by far the most underrated, perhaps in all of the modern CCM era. And with artists like Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, Matt Maher, Jesus Culture, Paul Baloche and Bethel Music to name a few, who’d think twice about Meredith and her music? With one listen of “Soar”, I’m sure you’d agree that Deeper is an album you don’t want to miss if you love all things worship!
- Michael W. Smith– Hymns 2: Shine on Us-
A new album from Michael W. Smith, quite possibly the ‘father’ of modern CCM? Yes sir! With albums like Live the Life, This is Your Time, Sovereign, Healing Rain and Stand becoming milestones in the lives of millions, myself included, Michael’s ability to break down generational walls by making his music relevant to different generations, yet still maintaining the message it always has is something genius. Nearing 60, Michael has no intentions of slowing down his ministry. And when January 29th comes around, I’m sure what I hear from Hymns 2: Shine on Us will confirm this fact- that Michael and his music, like Steven’s, is by far some of my favourite artists (and collection of songs) that I’ve heard for a very long time. Here’s to the end of January, and may this release through the Cracker Barrel Store be the continuation of an era where Michael still stays relevant, no matter how old he becomes!
- Lacey Sturm– Life Screams
Flyleaf has never been the same since ex-lead singer Lacey Sturm stepped down a little while ago. Ever since then, Lacey has released two hauntingly refreshing and heartfelt singles in “Mercy Tree” and “The Reason”, both of them making it clear that this new album from Lacey is sure to be checked out by anyone who loved the original version of Flyleaf. Just like how fans of the Newsboys loved Peter Furler’s solo material, same with Lacey Sturm with Life Screams. Releasing early 2016, Life Screams will be an album either loved or loathed by critics and the everyday listener unanimously. Though I have hardly listened to Flyleaf’s previous material, I am still intrigued by the album. Are you?
- TIE: TBAs from Group 1 Crew, Newsboys, 1 Girl Nation and Britt Nicole
While each of these artists do not have a release date yet for their albums, I am looking forward to each of them. G1C just released their new song “Wake Me Up” while Newsboys are set to coincide their album to release at the same time as God’s Not Dead 2. 1 Girl Nation, after having 2 of their 5 members leave the band, have their new album Cinema on hold (in fact, they have been promoting Cinema for a while now). Britt Nicole’s latest album was in 2012, a whole 3 years ago, which continues to make her new album all the most intriguing to hear whenever it drops. Each of these four have had chart-topping success in years gone by. Each of them, I’m sure will release new material in 2016. Here’s to each of these artists- can’t wait for Group 1 Crew TBA, Newsboys TBA, Cinema and Britt Nicole TBA releasing 2016. Which of these 4 artists are you excited for?
There you have it, my most anticipated albums of 2016. What are yours? Which albums from this year have come from left field, to impact you more than you thought the album would? Let us know in the comments.