It’s time for another yearly retrospective! Here’s my picks for what a Top 10 would have looked like had I been making them twenty five years ago. Of course, I have the benefit of hindsight, but to be fair at least seven of the ten were favorites then and I still count them as such. The other three I missed at the time or was slower to warm to, though I have now “seen the light.” After you read through be sure to leave a comment of your own Top 10 or give me a hard time about one that I missed here.
Here we go!
10. Skillet – Self-Titled
The very beginning for Skillet was this raw and grungy nirvana-like debut. “I Can,” “Gasoline” and “Saturn” are the ones I return to most.
9. Big Tent Revival – Open All Nite
I thought that BTR would be hard pressed to match their debut, but they very nearly do it, and only a year after. Top-to-bottom this album is rock solid.
8. Sarah Masen – Self-Titled
Incredibly catchy melodies in the vein of Sheryl Crow abound. “All Fall Down” will get stuck in your head for hours, which for me is no problem at all.
7. Seven Day Jesus – The Hunger
While your appreciation of this short-lived band might be whatever album you heard first, it’s undeniable that The Hunger is a gem. While their follow up was a pop-rock leaning ear worm, The Hunger leans more raw, indie, grungy and unique. Frustratingly, this one is still not available on streaming platforms but worth tracking down a physical copy to hear it in its entirety.
6. Steven Curtis Chapman – Signs of Life
There’s still a special place in my heart for my overall favorite SCC album. I found him to be at his most interesting when he leaned into the country blues type guitar that he does here. “The Walk,” “Lord of the Dance,” “Signs of Life,” and “Free” hold up well, as does the rest of the album.
5. Third Day – Self-Titled
What a start! Perhaps only Jars of Clay came out fully loaded with hits on their debut. Top track is “Consuming Fire,” but there are hits and memorable tunes aplenty.
4. PFR – Them
At the time it was a bittersweet farewell, but even after reuniting for another album and a few songs Them remains in the conversation of their overall best. “Pour Me Out” and “Anything” are the standouts.
3. Mxpx – Life in General
Put this one up against any punk-based album of the era and I think it can hang. It’s my pick for the most memorable work of MxPx’s long and prolific career.
2. Audio Adrenaline – Bloom
So many great guitar licks on this absolute classic. “I’m Not The King” and “Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus” still get regular plays for me.
1. Newsboys – Take Me To Your Leader
It’s simply their best and most complete album. “Lost the Plot” “Breakfast,” “Take Me To Your Leader,” and “God is Not a Secret” make this an album to be reckoned with in the 90s if not all-time.
There you have it! Of course there are plenty other albums released this year, these were and are simply my favorites. What about you? Leave a comment below with your favorite from the year!
As always, happy listening!