Music: 2016 in review
by Kevin Pollard
Hillsong Young & Free: Youth Revival
Three years ago we were introduced to Hillsong Young & Free with their debut album that brought together passionate worship and electronic beats. Highlights on their sophomore album Youth Revival include dance-worthy tracks like “Where You Are”, “Real Love” and last year’s hit “This Is Living”. While songs like “Never Alone”, “When The Fight Calls,” and “Passion” lead the listeners in stirring worship.
Jordon Feliz: The River
Feliz’s first full length project with Centricity Music, comes less than a year after his stunning digital debut EP Beloved that featured the hit single “The River”. Seven new tracks were added to that EP for this offering blending soulful vocals, infectious melodies and grounded lyrics on this R&B/Pop debut.
The Afters: Live On Forever
The Afters’ fifth studio album emerged out of a season of trials for the band and serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and strength in our moments of weakness. This pop/rock effort finds them exploring a bit of a techno side. “Legends” and “Battles” are highlights found on this solid effort.
Switchfoot: Where The Light Shines Thru
For their 10th album, Where the Light Shines Through, Switchfoot has reunited with the producer of their first major label album, John Fields.
Steven Curtis Chapman: Worship and Believe,
After 30 years as an artist and 22 studio albums you may wonder if there is anything new for Steven Curtis Chapman to try. With his latest release Worship and Believe he ventures out with his first complete worship album. This veteran artist and respected song-writer offers up 11 original self-penned songs, with the help of a few friends. The results are refreshing as Chapman’s heart for worship is showcased on a duet with Chris Tomlin “One True God” a song they wrote together with Matt Redman, the rousing “Amen” co-written with Rend Collective, the duet with Canadian worship artist Matt Maher “Hallelujah, You Are God”.
NEEDTOBREATHE: Hard Love
South Carolina’s Grammy Nominated band NEEDTOBREATHE follows up their hit “Brother” from Rivers in the Wasteland with Hard Love that features their number one song “Happiness” and the standout songs “Money & Fame,” “No Excuses,” “When I Sing,” and “Testify.”
Tenth Avenue North: Followers
After their critically acclaimed 2014 release Cathedrals, Florida natives Tenth Avenue North return with an engaging set of polished contemporary pop/rock originals. Highlights include the lead singles “What You Want” and “Afraid” plus other thought-provoking songs that make it one of the best albums of the year.
Casting Crowns: The Very Next Thing
The Georgia-based band, fronted by youth pastor and lead singer Mark Hall, released their 11th studio album The Very Next Thing, giving fans the worship songs that have become a signature for the band, but also introducing more of a southern/bluegrass influenced sound.
Stand outs include the first single “One Step Away”, “Hallelujah” and the title track that is sure to continue to solidify them as Christian music’s number one selling band.
Hillary Scott & the Scott family: Love Remains
The 13-track collection of faith-based songs is a combination of hymns Scott grew up singing in church, newly-written originals and songs made popular by other artists. With the help of producer Ricky Skaggs, the forthcoming album blurs the lines between gospel, bluegrass, country and pop. At the center of the mix are the rich, entwined voices of the Scott family, who take turns harmonizing and singing lead.
Crowder: American Prodigal
Since his debut with the David Crowder Band, the native Texan has set the bar for progressive, forward-thinking church music, with a servant’s heart and poet’s pen. This 2016 release returns Crowder to his roots-and-rock origins with a set of thought-provoking, worshipful original songs. American Prodigal includes the singles “Run Devil Run” and “My Victory” plus “Promised Land (Glory, Hallelujah),” “All You Burdens,” and other innovative originals.