Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Albums of 2013

I'm taking a short break from the top moments of the year countdown for a look at the top albums of the year. The #1 Top Moment will be crowned tomorrow!

Before I look at the top overall albums, let's look at what I consider to be the top albums from different categories. For this countdown, I'm only looking at albums I've reviewed this year that are mainstream releases from artists not specialty projects.

Top Soloist Albums -
1. Jason Crabb - Love Is Stronger
2. Devin McGlamery - Love is a Verb

Top Mixed Group Albums -
1. Bowling Family - Safe After the Storm
2. Karen Peck & New River - Revival

Top Trio Albums -
1. Beyond the Ashes - Living in the Moment
2. Greater Vision - For All He's Done

Top Quartet Albums -
1. Triumphant Quartet - The Greatest Story
2. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound - Glorious Day

When I review projects, I listen to it over and over and over. One of the defining aspects of a really great album is when I still want to keep listening to it. So here's what I consider to be the top 5 overall -

5. Revival by Karen Peck & New River - This album is full of great songs, several of them written by Karen Peck Gooch. The title song is one of my favorites that was released this year. Highlights include "Revival," "Everybody's Going Through Something," "You Did It Anyway," "Dancing Like Lazarus" and "I've Been Broken."

4. For All He's Done by Greater Vision - Only one song on this project was not written by a member of Greater Vision. There's not a weak song of the 10 songs on the project. It's solid and strong, exactly what fans have come to expect from this beloved trio. Highlights include "Looking for the Grace," "This Is Mercy," "I Can Trust You," "Seeking for Me" and "For All He's Done."

3. Safe After the Storm by The Bowling Family - This is the group's first project with Hope Bowling and Troy Peach as vocalists. The project speaks to the core of where this group is and how they have made it through the storm. Highlights include "Somebody's Believing," "I Know Enough," "I'm Glad I'm Saved," "That's What I Miss the Most" and "Just What I Need."

2. Living in the Moment by Beyond the Ashes - This is the first album review I did for this year, and this is one project I kept coming back to. It set the bar high with great ballads and uptempo numbers and even taking a nonsecular song and putting a Southern Gospel spin on it. Highlights include "Living in the Moment," "Over for Good," "When Love Whispers Your Name," "Peace in the Midst of the Storm" and "Oh the Thought that Jesus Loves Me."

1. Love Is Stronger by Jason Crabb - This project truly has something for everyone with many different genres being represented with the song selection. It shows the versatility of Jason as an artist and how he can widen the appeal of Southern Gospel with his reach. "That's What the Blood Is For" is one of the strongest songs released this year and is one of the more Southern Gospel songs on the project. While stylistically it might be different from strictly Southern Gospel, the messages of the songs are all gospel and all come together to show that "love is stronger." Highlights include "That's What the Blood Is For,""Love Is Stronger," "Let Mercy Hold You,""Satisfied" and "God's Up to Something."

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