I have now been writing with JesusWired for one year. It’s crazy to think it’s been that long, but it’s also crazy to think it hasn’t been that long. I’m so thankful for Iain and the team here working so hard to make this a great resource for Christian music fans. I’ve had a blast this past year writing about music I love, but even more than that, I’ve had a blast listening to so much great Christian music. And boy was there some great stuff to listen to.
I started writing more here, but then I realized this is a listicle, which means you’ve already skipped ahead to my list of albums. If you actually read this, let me know and I’ll poke you on Facebook or something.
Anyway, here are my picks.
#10: Team Callahan – Afterglow
Why it’s on the list: This is just solid female-fronted rock and roll. The songs are catchy and memorable, and they have just enough of a classic feel that the rough recording quality sounds intentional.
Recommended listening: The Apartment, Turn The Cheek, Point Doom
Buy Afterglow on iTunes here
#9: Abandon Kansas – alligator
Why it’s on the list: I’ve always been a fan of Abandon Kansas’s work, and alligator is my favorite thing they’ve done so far. Lead singer Jeremy Spring wrestles pretty honestly with his own issues of depression, addiction, and broken relationships. It’s a cathartic listen, but you almost wouldn’t know it from the catchy, fun music.
Recommended listening: one foot in the grave, get clean, alligator
Buy alligator on iTunes here
#8: We Are The City – Above Club
Why it’s on the list: If you like this album, you’ll describe it with words like “unique,” “experimental,” and “innovative.” If you don’t like it, you’ll use words like “pretentious,” “weird,” and “I don’t like it.” I happen to fall in the first camp, but I’d probably also call this one weird – only in a good way.
Recommended listening: Kiss Me Honey, Keep On Dancing, Lovers In All Things
Buy Above Club on iTunes here
#7: The Oh Hellos – Dear Wormwood
Why it’s on the list: The Oh Hellos’ 2015 release has it all: Lushly complex folk arrangements, beautiful and poetic lyrics, and a song called Exeunt so you can feel deep and artsy when you listen.
Recommended listening: Exeunt, Pale White Horse, Dear Wormwood
Buy Dear Wormwood on iTunes here
#6: The Ember Days – Valitus
Why it’s on the list: The Ember Days’ typical ethereal beauty coupled with their most vulnerable lyrics to date make this arguably the best album of their career and one of my favorites of 2015. It is a powerfully emotional listen from start to finish.
Recommended listening: Walking While I’m Blind, Fire, Come What May
Buy Valitus on iTunes here
#5: Come Wind – Move In Place
Why it’s on the list: It’s such a broad term, but indie rock is one of my favorite genres. The new album by Come Wind fits what I think of when I think indie rock to a T. There are jangly guitars, energetic drums, and passionate vocals. What really put this album over the top for me were the lyrics, where you see a songwriter very clearly writing about his faith while managing not to sound preachy at all.
Recommended listening: Vacant, Found, Blessing
Buy Move in Place on iTunes here
#4: Children 18:3 – Come In
Why it’s on the list: The power trio lives! Children 18:3’s final studio album shows a band that’s refined its sound while still retaining its raw energy. The guitars are huge, the drums are crazy, and the vocals are edgy and raw as ever. I dare you to listen to this one without pumping your fist.
Recommended listening: Afterall…, Bethlehem, Great Big World
Buy Come In on iTunes here
#3: Josh Garrels – Home
Why it’s on the list: Josh Garrels does what Josh Garrels does best on what feels like his zillionth release. The acoustic guitars and strings work very well, but as always, it’s Josh’s unique voice and poetic lyrics that carry this album and honestly had me considering putting it in the number one slot.
Recommended listening: The Arrow, A Long Way, At the Table
Buy Home on iTunes here
#2: Ravenhill – Soul
Why it’s on the list: I’ve honestly questioned several times whether this album even belongs on my top ten list. There’s nothing experimental or groundbreaking about it. I’ll be thinking about it, and I’ll be like, “It’s only rock and roll!” But then I’ll listen to it again, and I’ll be like “But I like it!” So it stays on my list, because it is hands down the best Christian rock and roll album of 2015. No frills. No nonsense. Just rock.
Recommended listening: The Thrill, Witches, Soul
Buy Soul on iTunes here
#1: Son Lux – Bones
Why it’s on the list: The latest album from Son Lux swings constantly from lush beauty to weird cacophony and back again, but the thing that holds it all together is frontman Ryan Lott’s attention to detail. Each song is intricately arranged and executed. This album is similar enough to classics like OK Computer and Kid A to make this Radiohead fan happy, but different enough that it sounds like its own animal.
Recommended listening: You Don’t Know Me At All, Change Is Everything, Flight
Buy Bones on iTunes here
And there you have it. My top 10 albums of 2015. Here’s hoping for a 2016 with just as much awesomeness. What were your favorite albums of the year? Let me know in the comments!