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year end review

CBNmusic's Best Contemporary Christian Albums of 2005

By CBNmusic

CBN.comThe following are the best albums released in 2005 as voted on by the CBNmusic and staff. This year, the veterans of Christian music industry received high honors with only one debut artist making it to the top ten.


Redemption Songs Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay
(Essential Records)
In a sea of hymns projects, their's rose above the rest. Jars of Clay worked pure magic on such classic songs as "God Will Lift Up Your Head" and "Jesus, I Lift My Eyes." Ever innovative, the foursome expanded their sound to include fiddles and steel guitars and were smart enough to enlist the help of the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama. Album Highlights: "I'll Fly Away" and "Nothing But the Blood"

'Beauty from Pain'Beauty from Pain by Superchick
(Inpop Records)
In between the pop hooks and catchy riffs, Superchick shows a real maturity in their latest album. Born out of heartache, Beauty from Pain is an emotional roller coaster that shows that they're more than just a teen band. They tackle everything from ditching dead-end guys to battling anorexia and wrap it all up in an hip-hop/pop/rock fusion that still makes you want to dance. Album Highlights: "Anthem" and "We Live"

Until My Heart Caves In Until My Heart Caves In by Audio Adrenaline
(Forefront Records)
In '05, Audio Adrenaline proved they can hold their own amongst the flurry of new rock bands. From Mark Stuart’s trademark growl to Ben Cissell’s thundering sledgehammer drumming on “Clap Your Hands,” it is clear Audio A’s intention is to recapture the classic rock sound. The power groove continues on the title track, and the boys don't stop until their missionary message is heard around the globe. Album Highlights: "Clap Your Hands" and "Light of the Sun"


Add to the Beauty Add to the Beauty by Sara Groves
(INO Records)
If any album could top The Other Side of Something, Add to the Beauty would be it. This time Groves highlights the traces of God one can see in everyday life – from heartache (“Rewrite This Tragedy”) to the complexity of relationships (“Loving a Person”). She offers comfort in “It’s Going to Be All Right,” and she gets a little gospel near the end of “How Can I Tell?” Lyrically, she's never been better. Album Highlights: “It’s Going to Be All Right” and “Loving a Person”


'The Imposter' The Imposter by Kevin Max
(Northern Records)
Like a fine wine, Kevin Max only gets better with age. His second album holds nothing that’s typical and everything that’s relevant about the new wave/rock scene of 2005. Without compromising his trademark vocals, Max showcases great rock’n’roll flare and thought-provoking lyrics: (“I find your beautiful mind in everything / And everything is all I need” in “Beautiful Mind”). Album Highlights: “Confessional Booth” and “When He Returns”


Lifesong Lifesong by Casting Crowns
(Essential Records)
Mark Hall still aims for right between the eyes with his lyrics on this second release. Songs like “Does Anybody Hear Her” and “While You were Sleeping” go straight to your heart and pull you into deeper levels of loving your neighbor. Still able to surprise us musically, they show their diversity in “Prodigal” with a beautiful classical guitar. The songs where Casting Crowns go off the beaten CCM trail are worth the second time around. Album Highlights: “Set Me Free” and “Does Anybody Hear Her”


StereoStereo: The Evolution of Hiprocksoul by 4th Avenue Jones
(Lookalive/Gotee Records)
Who knew that six urbanites from LA could revolutionize the way we listen to music? Blending hip-hop, rock and soul in a distinctive yet harmonious flow, Ahmad Jones and his crew blur the traditional genre boundaries lines. They rap, sing and even add a wicked violin.Stereo was the most innovative debut of '05, and we predict it will continue to break ground in '06. Album Highlights: "Fabulous Dramatics" and "Unhappy Birthday"


'A Collison' A Collision by David Crowder Band
(sixsteps/Sparrow Records)
DCB takes worship to a whole new level on A Collision. While still serving up the simple, get-the-youth-group-jumping praise like “Here is Our King,” they dabble in country twang with the help of the fabulous Marty Stuart and his mandolin on "I Saw the Light." A Collision is an experience piece that should be listened to in its entirety with headphones on and hands lifted high. Album Highlights: "Foreverandever" and "You Are My Joy"


'Nothing is Sound'Nothing is Sound by Switchfoot
(Sparrow Records)
Switchfoot's '05 release was far from a letdown. This spiritual journey set to music reveals a sense of vulnerability and the fears with which we all wrestle. Playing off the album’s title, the lyrics touch on a deep desire to understand what it means to be free from moral defect and worthy of confidence. Powerful lyrics and great riffs aside, Switchfoot continues to compels us to accept our brokenness and use it for God’s glory. Album Highlights: "Stars" and "Happy is a Yuppie Word"


'Strong Tower' Strong Tower by Kutless
(bec recording)
You can't argue with record sales. Kutless was big in 2005 thanks to Strong Tower flying off the shelves. They caught the tail end of the worship trend and blew it out of the water. Kutless applied a thick layer of rock to such worship songs as "We Fall Down" and "Better is One Day" and made some of them almost better than before. Jon-Micah Sumrall's vocals display a certain yearning even on the most familiar songs. Album Highlights: "Strong Tower" and "Take Me In"

Best Remix Album

Sunsets & Sushi Sunsets and Sushi by David Crowder Band
(sixsteps/Sparrow Records)
In the last few years, Christian musicians have timidly tipped their toes into the pool of techno, trip-hop and acid jazz. DCB is among the first headlining artists to dive right in. The tricked-out versions of your favorite Crowder worship songs are worth the downloading price. Great for working out or electrifying your morning worship. Album Highlights: "Revolutionary Love (Neo-Mechanical Mix)" and "Open Skies (Dirty Beats Mix)"


Read last year's list.


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