Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jay's Musik Blog's Top Ten of the Year!

2011 has been an amazing year for Christian music! Besides so many amazing releases, there have been many amazing tours, debuting bands, exciting music news, and more. Jay's Musik Blog is pleased to present you a personal countdown of my personal top ten albums, singles, and music videos of the year! Following each is a short recap on why the album reaches the top of my list. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to leave your feedback or your personal favorites in the comments!

Top Ten Albums of 2011:
10. Downhere -- On The Altar of Love
Downhere has been one of my favorite bands since I first heard their single "A Better Way" on K-Love. I've been blessed by their fun and worshipful style ever since, and even had the chance to see them live and interview them in November. They are great guys, and On the Altar of Love is another amazing project!

9. Manic Drive -- Epic
Manic Drive's album Blue was so excellent, I didn't really think it could get any better. But EPIC proved me wrong! "Halo" is one of the most fun songs I have ever heard, and the message is awesome, yet playful. Kudos to Manic Drive for a wonderful fourth album!


8. Robert Pierre -- I'm all In
Robert Pierre is such an inspiration to me. At 18, he has already released three albums, and his mature vocals are phenomenal. I'm All In is an inspiring album, encouraging the listener to step out of the boat and trust God to lead them every step of the way.

7. RED -- Until We Have Faces
RED's Until We Have Faces will rock your face off! I highly admire the humbleness of the rock foursome! Their music reaches the mainstream audiences, while encouraging Christians to find their identity in Christ. Plus, I had the chance to meet their drummer, Joe Rickard, when they played in Jermyn, PA on their Kill the Machine Tour. What an honor!




6. Press Play -- World Anthem
An amazing dance/pop record! That being a genre I particularly enjoy, World Anthem was an instant sensation for me, and I love Press Play's mix of fun, catchy music with powerful, touching worship tracks. The guys somehow managed to step up a notch from NY2LA, delivering a phenomenal project.

5. Anthem Lights -- Anthem Lights
I don't think I have ever heard any better singers than the guys of Anthem Lights! Besides their outstanding vocals, their confrontational lyrics are inspiring, and you can't beat the wonderful music!

4. Icon For Hire -- Scripted
Since the release of their Scripted album in August, Icon For Hire has become my favorite Christian rock band. Though I don't totally know what the guys themselves stand for, the lyrics of Scripted are honest, raw, and amazing. Ariel's forceful yet soft vocals and the exploding rock are awesome! Definitely one of my most listened to projects of the year.


3. Beckah Shae - Destiny
What a blessing Beckah Shae is!! Her downright AWESOME pop mixed with her Scripture-packed lyrics and PHENOMENAL vocals make her one of the best artists in the Christian music scene, in my opinion. Destiny is definitely her best project to date, and "#putyourloveglasseson" is one of my most played songs this year.

2. Aaron Shust -- This is What We Believe
Is there even a way to share how much Aaron Shust's music means to me? I have all four of his albums, and early this year some of his songs really hit home with me and encouraged me. This Is What We Believe does it again! "Wonderous Love," "Never Been A Greater Love," the title track and the #1 song "My Hope is In You" are all so worshipful, and you can't beat Aaron's amazing vocals. :)

1. The City Harmonic -- I Have A Dream
Congrats to The City Harmonic, as my #1 pick for album of the year! I had the chance to meet the guys back in June and hear some of the new songs off the record during their live set. Let me tell you... I could not WAIT for this album, which was also my #1 most anticipated album of the year. "Manifesto" was an amazing song, and I knew that I Have A Dream could only be even better. I was not let down. "Fell Apart," "Spark," and "Wedding Day," and the other nine tracks off the record are some of the most heavenly and real, down-to-earth music you will ever hear. If you don't yet have this album, you will not want to miss it!

Here's a quick recap of my top ten albums from 2011:

1. The City Harmonic -- I Have A Dream
2. Aaron Shust -- This is What We Believe
3. Beckah Shae - Destiny
4. Icon For Hire -- Scripted
5. Anthem Lights -- Anthem Lights
6. Press Play -- World Anthem
7. RED -- Until We Have Faces
8. Robert Pierre -- I'm all In 
9. Manic Drive -- Epic
10. Downhere -- On The Altar of Love

Honorable mentions to the following! Though they didn't make it to the top 10 list, they are definitely encouraging and must haves:

Jason Gray -- A Way to See in the Dark
Dara Maclean -- You Got My Attention
Satellites & Sirens -- Frequency
Beckah Shae -- Scripture Snacks Vol. 1
Mandisa -- What If We Were Real?

Top Ten Singles of 2011:
Favorite singles are much harder to pick out then albums, because you may have a favorite song from a band or album that may not necessarily be at the top of your list. That, or you love the band so much, that all their singles are your favorites! So let's begin my favorites countdown with Robert Pierre's "Light the Way"!

10. Robert Pierre -- "Light the Way"
I was blown away the first time I heard the stream of this single on Robert's website. It's so real, and a hopeful song reminding us that God will guide out every step if we let Him.

9. Manic Drive -- "Halo"
"I rock my halo" is one of the coolest, most innovative rhetorics I've heard in a while. Speaking of shining your lights brightly to the world, "Halo" is a blast! So is EPIC by Manic Drive.

8. RED -- "Never Alone"
I almost want to cry when I hear this song. Though RED's Until We Have Faces CD is mostly hard rock, this single is so encouraging, reminding us that Jesus will never leave or forsake us. As I mentioned, I had the chance to see the band play this song live back in October, and it was a blessing!

7. Satellites & Sirens' -- "Ready to Save"
Same goes to Satellites & Sirens! Their independent project Frequency is amazing, but "Ready to Save" is a big blessing. There IS a love, there is a Healer who's ready to save you at all times, and that's the message of this powerful song.

6. Anthem Lights -- "Can't Get Over You"
The first time I watched the acoustic version of this track, I was simply blown away! The lyrics are so heartfelt and worshipful, the lead vocals amazing, and the background vocals just as amazing! I love Anthem Lights for so many reasons, and the above are just some of them.

5. Jason Gray -- "Remind Me Who I Am"
I had the chance to see Jason Gray on the Called to Love Tour back in November. Honestly, I walked in liking his music but not knowing a ton about him and walked out being so blessed! "Remind Me Who I Am" speaks of how we are all beloved in God's eyes. And after he signed my poster "Jay is beloved," the song means a million times more to me than when I first heard it.

4. The City Harmonic -- "I Have A Dream"
Off my favorite record of the year, "I Have A Dream" is the title track. A track of longing for the day when we see God's face and live in perfect peace and harmony, this single is so heavenly, as is all of TCH's music!

3. Icon For Hire -- "Get Well"
This is one track that gets me moving like none other! The extreme honesty, the techno effects, the explosions of rock, and Ariel's super vocals help make this one of my top three singles of the year!

2. Beckah Shae -- #putyourloveglasseson
When I know all the words to a song, it tells you just how much I love it, and #putyourloveglasseson is a song that you will often hear me singing. :) Besides being a catchy song, the message of seeing the world through God's eyes are a standout. I loved this song ten times more after watching the great music video.

1. Aaron Shust -- "My Hope Is In You"

And my #1 single of the year is Aaron Shust's "My Hope Is In You"! Apparently it's many other people's #1 as well, as it has been an AC #1 single for many weeks. This is my favorite off his new record, and has helped me keep my focus on God even through troubled times. This is one of the most amazing songs I have ever heard!

Here's a recap of my top ten singles of the year before moving on:

1. Aaron Shust -- "My Hope Is In You"
2. Beckah Shae #putyourloveglasseson
3. Icon For Hire -- "Get Well"
4. The City Harmonic -- "I Have A Dream"
5. Jason Gray -- "Remind Me Who I Am"
6. Anthem Lights "Can't Get Over You"
7. Satellites & Sirens' -- "Ready to Save"
8. RED -- "Never Alone"
9. Manic Drive -- "Halo"
10. Robert Pierre -- "Light the Way"

Honorable mention to Dara Maclean's "Suitcases", an amazing song that reminds us to cast our care upon God.

Top Ten Music Videos of 2011:
10. Anthem Lights -- "Can't Shut Up"
It's fun when you love a band to actually watch them sing, and such is the case with Anthem Lights. The video for "Can't Shut Up" definitely accentuates the message of the track, but watching the guys sing is the highlight. (Watch here!)

9. Cortni -- "The After Party"
Cortni's CD The After Party was some really great stuff, but the "The After Party" music video was probably my favorite from her musical career so far. Speaking of how we've all been invited to partake of heaven, the video opens up with her checking her mailbox and calling all her friends -- something that is so relatable and fun. (Watch here!)

8. Francesca Battistelli -- "This is the Stuff"
I wasn't a big fan of the fan-made video for her runaway single "This is the Stuff," but her second and more recent one was awesome. Her disappointed expressions while she searches for her keys and reluctantly receives a police ticket are priceless. (Watch here!)

7. Manic Drive -- "Halo"
Again, it's so fun! The music video shows how much Manic Drive can rock, and gives you a peak at what their live shows must be like!! (Watch here!)

6. Downhere -- "Let Me Rediscover You"
Marc's vocals are phenomenal, and Downhere is totally a blast in concert. These reasons make music videos from Downhere special in my book, so "Let Me Rediscover You," about finding our faith is again one of my favorites. (Watch here!)

5. Jason Gray -- "Remind Me Who I Am"
This is one of those videos that made me love the single even more. Jason has such a heart for letting people know that they are loved by God, and this video means so much more after you actually hear him speak. (Watch here!)

4. The City Harmonic -- "I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)"
This was a real cool video! To be honest, I think the main reason I enjoy this one, is because it accurately depicts the fun of The City Harmonic's shows. The guys are amazing, Elias' vocals are amazing, and the orchestra they brought in for the filming makes it totally perfect. (Watch here!)

3. Icon For Hire -- "Get Well"
As mentioned, "Get Well" is one of my favorite rock singles of all times, so this video is naturally one of my favorites. I wasn't a huge fan of the lack of colors but I love watching the band rock out. The blowing papers, screen shakes, light flickers, and more, make this video totally enjoyable. (Watch here!)

2. Icon For Hire -- "Make a Move"
Two Icon For Hire videos back-to-back! In the video, the band graphitees an inner-city wall with messages depicting the garbage we've been indoctrinated with until a police offer sees them and chases them! But he flees when he sees a group of supporters there for the band. Police sirens, chasing, and graphitees in one video is way cool! Plus, it also shows how Icon For Hire can rock out... which they do! (Watch here!)

1. Beckah Shae -- "#putyourloveglasseson"
I have watched this video so many times! There are many things I like about it, mostly I think, the fact that the video shows Beckah's love for people. God is using her ministry so mightily, so it's fun to watch a video where she walks down the street and hands people love glasses, telling them to see the people around them through God's eyes. It also makes me want to see Beckah live! And lastly, the fact that Beckah actually played several of the characters is totally cool. :) (Watch here!)

Here's a recap of my top ten music videos of the year:

1. Beckah Shae -- #putyourloveglasseson
2. Icon For Hire -- Make a Move
3. Icon For Hire -- Get Well
4. The City Harmonic -- I Have A Dream
5. Jason Gray -- Remind Me Who I Am
6. Downhere -- Let Me Rediscover You
7. Manic Drive -- Halo
8. Francesca Battistelli -- This is the Stuff
9. Cortni -- The After Party
10. Anthem Lights -- Can't Shut Up

Hope you enjoyed my selection! And here's to another great year of music in 2012!!


10 comments:

  1. Cool! I like a lot of your suggestions, though I'm sure you'd know I would have moved Red up a few notches (6 to be exact). ;) But, I can definitely tell you put a lot of thought into it. Congrats on completing that post! (I would never have finished it!) :)

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  2. Cool Top Ten! Glad to see Aaron Shust towards the top (if not at the VERY top) of all the lists! :)

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  3. @Mike: Haha, I bet you would have! This post actually took me a few hours to get together, even after I had written it up and decided my favorites -- formatting, uploading pictures, etc. Glad you enjoyed the post!!

    @Justin: Thanks, man! There are no words to say how much Aaron's music has blessed me, so I hoped that having his single as my #1 favorite of the year would depict that! :)

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  4. I love Icon for Hire too! I can't stop listening to this album, "Get Well" is my favorite song and they also have become my favorite rock band. If you don't know much about them, I would recommend you to check out the "Anvil & the Hammer" podcast on itunes where Ariel talks more about her faith and their mission as a band. Just type "icon for hire" on itunes and look for the podcast. I think this interview was before they were signed. :D

    On a side note, I would add Royal Tailor's "Black & White" to the top albums list. ;)

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  5. Thanks! I will definitely be checking out that podcast! :) And to be honest, Royal Tailor's new CD was actually in my full list of favorites for the year, but I had to narrow it down to ten... definitely a great and creative album!

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  6. Great choices! Especially with Icon for Hire. They have to be my fav new band; Make a Move is currently my fav song.

    I was surprised not to see Anthem Lights' EP among the top albums. If I remember correctly, it was one of the albums, if not the only album all year that got 5/5 stars.

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  7. Yup, though I did also rate Beckah Shae and The City Harmonic's albums a perfect 5. All are must-haves!

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  8. Oh, I'm sorry! I just looked back at the albums and saw that Anthem Lights *was* there. I must not have looked very well. It's such a great album.

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  9. A very good, and very detailed series of lists. My first ever Top 10 List coincides in only 2 points, but that seems to be my average. I have a much wider ranging list, including some not widely regarded as CCM.
    10. Red - Until we have faces
    9. The Rocket Summer - bryce Avery: His instruments, your voices
    8. Denver & The Mile High Orchestra - Groovy
    7. Jackie Evancho - Dream With Me
    6. Mandisa - What if we were real
    5. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
    4. Music Inspired By The Story
    3. Switchfoot - Vice Verses
    2. Beckah Shae - Destiny
    1. Evanescence - Evanescence

    Honorable Mentions to Chevelle, TFK, Stryper, Wolves at the Gate, and Heather Williams.

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  10. Where is John Mark McMillan?

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