Release Date: August 19th 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
So it’s been around 3 and a bit years since I started a blog series that would, for lack of a better term, revolutionise my life in terms of the music I would listen to, as I understood over the last few years, the vastness of music out there for one, but also, the notion and understanding as I grew up as a Christian in the 1990s, that mainstream music was downright ‘evil’, was totally false. Throughout my teen years, that notion of mainstream music = bad started to become undone, and it was this blog series that really stretched me in terms of what was deemed to be ‘mainstream’ and ‘Christian’, especially when over the last few years, there had been many collaborations in music between Christians and…well, everyone else. for KING & COUNTRY’s ‘Together’ was collaborated with Kirk Franklin & Tori Kelly, Tori herself also lent vocals to the smash-hit Cory Asbury penned ‘Reckless Love’, country singer-songwriter JoDee Messina also recorded her own version of the powerful (yet controversial) worship hit ‘Reckless Love’; while Lecrae collaborated with artists like John Legend (Drown) and Ty Dolla $ign (Blessings), whilst his song ‘Comin’ in Hot’, a collaboration between himself and fellow CHH artist Andy Mineo, has gained the most traction and popularity (out of all of Lecrae’s songs) amongst the mainstream music media space…ever.
In 2020, Chris Tomlin collaborated with a whole bunch of country artists (Lady A, Brett Young, Cassadee Pope, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line) for the country/CCM crossover album Chris Tomlin & Friends, while not too long ago, Tauren Wells and H.E.R. unveiled one of the unlikeliest of collaborations…ever. ‘Hold Us Together’ has been a powerful song since it’s unveiling as just a H.E.R. song as the end credits to the Disney + movie Safety, but the song took on new life when it was re-released around six months later with the injection of Tauren’s vocals, making the song, that already had a gospel feeling, become more worshipful…who am I kidding. The song was already worshipful. TobyMac and Sheryl Crow came together just this year to re-record Toby’s most recent single hit, ‘Promised Land’, and who knows, that could release on country/folk/Americana radio in the future…maybe. Christian and mainstream continued to collide over the years, with for KING AND COUNTRY & Echosmith collaborating on the duo’s chart-topping radio hit ‘God Only Knows’, while Joel & Luke also collaborated with one of Country music’s OG artists, Dolly Parton, for said same song. Dolly also lent her vocals to another CCM artist’s track, Zach Williams’s ‘There Was Jesus’, to much critical and commercial acclaim, while country music’s representation within CCM didn’t end there, with up and coming country artist Carly Pearce delivered a duet with Matthew West on the track ‘Truth Be Told’, a song that I reckon, sounds better as a duet. Up and coming country artist Lauren Alaina and up and coming CCM/pop artist Riley Clemmons created what I reckon is one of my favourite duets in recent memory, ‘Over and Over’, around a couple of years ago (a song that could’ve succeeded in country radio, but was never given a chance), and let’s all not forget that all those years ago, needtobreathe collaborated with pop icon (at the time) Gavin DeGraw (who’s still making music now, but not as popular as before) on the 2014 CCM-pop crossover hit, ‘Brother’? I say all this to say, that over the years, the lines between Christian and gospel music, and everything else, seems to be blurring together. And that is ok.
I think I’ve confidently asserted this statement many times throughout the years, but I think I will say it again. The year of 2021, like the year of 2020, has delivered time and time again, in terms of presenting to us some pretty inspiring and thought-provoking albums and songs. Though hectic, chaotic, seemingly out of control and messy; 2021, more than 2020, was the year in which I have grown the most in my musical tastes, and it’s the year that I have found more albums and songs that has resonated with me. But maybe that’s because I was more aware of releases this year than any other year. Partly because of me branching out into different types of music because of my own accord due to me being more at home due to COVID-19, and also partly because of me and Jon writing our blog series about influential artists of all time- and us being exposed to more different types of music that way.
Hey everyone… guess what! It’s the end of 2020… already! It’s been such an eventful and crazy year in and of itself- with COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Warner Brothers announcing 2021 films will be debuting in the cinemas and on HBO Max at the same time, India being rolled for 36 all out in Test cricket, and everything else in between! Amidst the hustle and bustle though… we’ve realised that it’s time for another Best Of 2020 post! So let’s dive back in through the past 6 months- as we now let you all know our favourite songs of 2020 from the back half of the year. All 40 of them! So sit back, be inspired, and let these songs minister to you during this time of uncertainty! Let us remember that even though this year is uncertain, that music is constant, and that these songs can comfort, inspire and encourage as we navigate through life.
Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: October 2nd 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Hey everyone… guess what! It’s the middle of 2020 already. A crazy year in and of itself- what with COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and everything else in between! Amidst the hustle and bustle though… we’ve missed posting the last installment of Best Of 2019. While we have posted our favourite songs from each quarter of 2019 here, here, here and here; let’s dive back into the year that was, and rewind 6 months ago- as we now let you all know our favourite songs of 2019. All 40 of them! So sit back, be inspired, and let these songs minister to you during this time of uncertainty!
The time has come everyone. Even though we are more than 3 months late, I reckon Easter Sunday is the perfect time for us to reveal our 50 most inspiring albums of 2019- also especially since we all need our albums to help us get through this whole quarantine process. So… without further ado, here is our list of 50 albums which have inspired and encouraged us!
Is there any criteria for what determines an influential artist? Influential albums- sure we can figure that one out. Just think about an album that has changed you from the inside out, or one that has sentimental value to you, or one that you’d just know has shaped you beyond the shadow of a doubt (you wouldn’t be the person you are today if that particular album wasn’t recorded and released!); and that’s it. Maybe there are around 20 or 30 albums that you hold dear, that you believe to be higher above all others. But as for the extent of influence an artist has over society as a whole or individuals, across time, all genres and transcending countries, religions, beliefs, value systems and creeds; that’s a big, big mouthful to fully grasp and a gigantic pool of artists to choose from. I guess you’d say that the criteria is different depending on what you value in an artist, whether it is lyrics or music or the artist’s private lives and if it matches up with what they’re singing about… and that’s probably the reason why Jon is in the midst of writing about 100 artists, and even then it’s not a perfect list. The other day though, I started to think about the artists that were not part of Jon’s list, whom were deemed to be seemingly not influential enough. There were obviously some older artists whom Jon found others to be more influential for one reason or another; however if we’re only thinking of influence in the regard that an artist has to be a veteran of x amount of years or x amount of albums, then I’m certain we’d miss out on exploring and listening to a number of up and coming artists whom in the future could be equally as influential or even more so than The Beatles, Queen, Abba, Elton John, Whitney Houston and others. So, I’ve started up a mini-list of 20 artists (note, as of November 2019, this list has expanded to 50 artists!). By no means is it perfect, but it’s a snapshot of artists whom I reckon will take the world by storm in the coming years. Artists whom I reckon may not necessarily be popular, but still impact in a society where listeners are bored with songs at the drop of a hat. Maren Morris is the first artist that I’ll be delving into and exploring, and boy does she have plenty of remarkable songs that are relevant to society that need to be shared with the whole world!