I mentioned a few weeks ago in the Be Thankful Challenge that one of the things I’m thankful for in 2015 was all the wonderful music I was exposed to. Today, I thought I’d list the top five artists, songs, or albums I discovered. I’m so excited to share them with you, and I’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed music-wise this year.
- Andrew Peterson’s The Burning Edge of Dawn
This was undoubtedly the biggest musical event of the year for me. I discovered AP last year—or, I guess, now it’s two years ago, in 2014, and I was thrilled to hear that he had a new album coming out. It was the first time I’d actually anticipated a new CD, and this one didn’t disappoint. Although its sounds differs rather dramatically from his previous albums, I enjoyed hearing him experiment with a new feel that still complemented his lyrics beautifully. And his lyrics. Deep, poignant, touching, moving, full of truth and poetic beauty—AP’s words have ministered to my soul more than I can describe.
The Burning Edge of Dawn favorites: All of them. Okay, fine. If I had to choose: “The Dark Before the Dawn,” “Every Star is a Burning Flame,” and “Rejoice.”
2. Celtic Thunder
I just bought my first CD of theirs, Mythology, and I’m loving it, simply loving it. Their voices and the instruments and the songs. It’s all so well done; there’s no other way to describe it, just all-around beautiful. Each singer’s voice is incredible by itself, and I love hearing solos that showcase their individual talents. Yet, together, they sound even better, and the harmonies are stunning. The instrumental parts are gorgeous as well, and while there is a variety in songs and styles, they all contain the same Celtish sound that makes it perfect for contemplation, writing, even doing chores.
Celtic Thunder favorites: “Heartland,” “Sound of Silence,” “Now We Are Free,” “Turning Away,””Voices,” and “Always There.”
3. Jason Gray
I really haven’t listened to much of Jason Gray, so I feel like I’m cheating a little by putting them on this list. However, a few specific songs of his have ministered to me powerfully throughout this year, so I felt like I had to mention him. His “Nothing is Wasted” promised hope and peace during my weeks of being unable to write, “The Sound of our Breathing” helped me look at God in a new way and refresh my relationship with Him, and “I Will Find a Way” helped me rediscover the beauty, love, and awe of the Christmas story. I hope to discover even more of him this year—and if you have any favorites of his, definitely let me know below!
Switchfoot, too, I had listened to in 2014, but it was only last year that I really began to explore what they have to offer. And oh my, do they have a lot to offer. I’m not a fan of all of their songs, mostly because I just don’t like the sound as much, but the vast majority has captured my heart. The fresh, insightful lyrics and unique, euphonious instrumentals make an irresistible combination. And I couldn’t discuss Switchfoot without mentioning Jon Foreman, the lead singer, whose solo EPs are less rocky but just as—if not even more—lyrically moving and evocative.
This is so tough, but here are some Switchfoot favorites: “Love Alone is Worth the Fight,” “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine,” “This is Home,” “Meant to Live,” and “Dark Horses.” And some Jon Foreman: “You Don’t Know How Beautiful You Are,” “Your Love is Enough,” and “Inner Peace.”
5. Castings Crowns’ Thrive (& Concert)
I have to admit, at first I was a little disappointed with Casting Crowns’ newest CD, Thrive. It was just a little too—what’s the term in the musical world—cliche? Just your typical CCM, I suppose. Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s because I’ve branched out into more unique-sounding bands. However, as I listened to it more, it grew on me, and I discovered much of their trademark convicting, powerful lyrics and appealing sound. Plus, for my birthday, my mom and I went to a Casting Crowns concert—my first concert ever—which was a wonderful experience, one I hope to repeat soon.
Here are my favorites from Thrive: “Heroes,” “Dream for You,” and “This is Now.”
Honorable mentions go to RED, Starset, Josh Groban, and Sara Groves.
If you like any of these, let’s chat about them in the comments! I love discussing music with fellow fans (or those who don’t like the music but have insightful reasons why). Of course, I’d also love to know what other artists you enjoyed this year.