Best Christian Albums of 2004: Sara Groves, Derek Webb, Steven Curtis Chapman, James Clay...
Christian Music Today announced the Best Christian Albums of 2004 on Monday, Nov. 22, on its popular Web site, Christian Music Today. The fifth annual list, featuring the top 12 albums of the year, was chosen by six editors and writers who worked from a list of nearly 50 nominees.
Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Sara Groves, who twice finished as a runner-up in Christian Music Today's 2001 and 2002 lists, broke through to claim the No. 1 spot this time with her remarkable CD, "The Other Side of Something" (INO Records).
"The fact that she's placed highly three albums in a row is testament to what a consistently fantastic songwriter she really is," wrote Christian Music Today, calling Sara Groves "an artist stretching her sound without straying, settling on a good balance of Folk and Progressive AC Pop... Sara Groves is the rare Christian artist able to successfully juggle all that she can be-introspective, creative, worshipful, secular, intelligent, and approachable."
Derek Webb, another thoughtful singer/songwriter and Sara Groves' labelmate at INO Records, finished No. 2 on the list with "I See Things Upside Down". Of the former Caedmon's Call member's project, Christian Music Today wrote that Derek Webb now "joins the ranks of convicting songwriters like Keith Green, Mark Heard, Steve Taylor, and Rich Mullins... He doesn't just peel back layers of the heart with candid insight; he breaks it wide open to expose our shortcomings... Derek Webb has truly arrived with another album of incredible songwriting depth." Derek Webb's solo debut, "She Must and Shall Go Free," had finished No. 5 on Christian Music Today's 2003 list.
Finishing third was the brand-new album from punk rockers Relient K. Of mmHmm (Gotee), Christian Music Today wrote, "This band gets better with every album. We've always enjoyed this band, but now we respect them. The songs are still fun, but the themes are more mature and spiritual than ever... While the band embraces a more aggressive rock sound on mmHmm, their addition of piano in the mix allows for dramatic shifts in mood that help embellish the music instead of to define it. In other words, it flat out rocks."
Rounding out Christian Music Today's list of 2004's Best Christian Albums are:
No. 4. Toby Mac, Welcome to Diverse City (ForeFront/EMI)
No. 5. Caedmon's Call, Share the Well (Essential)
No. 6. Salvador, So Natural (Word/Warner)
No. 7. Sanctus Real, Fight the Tide (Sparrow/EMI)
No. 8. Fernando Ortega, Fernando Ortega (Curb/Warner)
No. 9. Rachael Lampa, Rachael Lampa (Word/Warner)
No. 10. James Clay, James Clay (Inpop)
No. 11. Steven Curtis Chapman, All Things New (Sparrow/EMI)
No. 12. Buddy Miller, Universal United House of Prayer (New West)
Sarah Groves "The Other Side of Something" CD: ORDER IT NOW.