Unlike many of my fellow bloggers, I’m not a hipster at all. And when it comes to music, despite the generally terrible musicianship as well as lyrics, I mostly listen to worship music. This is not because I don’t think Christians should listen to “secular” music – I don’t think this at all. Anyway, I don’t follow worship music as closely anymore as I used to when I led worship, but I’m still aware of pretty much all the major releases. 2014 wasn’t a great year for new worship music; whereas my 2013 new music playlist had around 400 tracks, my 2014 has 195 tracks comprising 18 albums. Below are my two favorite albums of the year and two miscellaneous favorite songs.
All Sons & Daughters – All Sons & Daughters
Though I’m not a hipster, I’d like to say that I loved All Sons & Daughters before they were cool, when no one had heard of them. Season One is still one of my favorite Christian albums. And while I don’t like their self-titled release as much, it still was one of my favorite releases of 2014. My favorite tracks on this album are “You Will Remain” and “We Give Thanks.”
O Happy Fault – Audrey Assad
Because most worship music is male-led and guitar driven, I’ve always taken extra notice to female-led, keys-driven worship music. I didn’t really like Audrey Assad until 2013, when her lyrics seemed to take a turn from being more implicit to being more explicitly worshipful. I love O Happy Fault not just because it came out after this seeming shift, but also because it’s an acoustic album (I’ve always loved acoustic music; I think a lot of my stylistic preferences reflect my BC music preferences) with just her on keys. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite track on this album because they’re all so good; and it’s an EP, so it’s short. And none of these are new songs (most appeared on her 2013 release Fortunate Fall), but I still count it as one of my favorite albums of the year because of the musical style. If you like mellow, contemplative worship music, I highly recommend listening to this EP. If I have to pick one favorite track, it would be “I Shall Not Want.” Earlier last year I posted a live video and a chord chart here. My second favorite would be “You Speak.”
“Fix My Eyes” by Kings Kaleidoscope from their EP Live in Color is one of my favorite songs of the year. I like the style of their music to begin with, but what made this song really resonate with me is that the lyrics are real and raw. Christian music tends to be so saccharine and fake and rarely explores the painful, difficult parts of the journey of faith. I don’t need more “happy dappy, everything is awesome” music; I need music for those moments when nothing makes sense and everything falls apart and I feel I can’t go on. It’s in those moments that I’m most tempted to go back to the music of my BC days that would allow me to wallow in my misery; but there’s no hope in those lyrics. I need music that will meet my pain with the hope of the God who is holding on to me and will never let go. It is for similar reasons that I love “It Is Well” by Bethel from the album You Make Me Brave.