Here are my favorite albums released in 2010:
7. The Band Perry - The Band Perry - This album had to make the list since the father of the band members is our pediatrician. Kimberly, Reid, and Neil Perry have called Greeneville home for nearly the last decade, and in 2010 they started getting national recognition for a song Kimberly wrote called “If I Die Young.” It’s the best song on the album, but my favorite is “Independence.”
6. Backatown - Trombone Shorty - I had never heard of Trombone Shorty until 2010, when this album was released. I listened to the samples on iTunes, and knew immediately this would be a winner. A fast-paced, loud jazz album with just a few vocals thrown in, I found myself searching for Trombone Shorty clips on YouTube (like this one in which he takes Wynton Marsalis on in a trumpet competition at The House of Blues) in order to get better acquainted with the artist. Best track: “Hurricane Season.”
5. A Beautiful Exchange - Hillsong Live - I don’t know if this would have made the list were it not for a single track: “Like Incense/Sometimes By Step.” Brooke Ligertwood (formerly Brooke Fraser) wrote verses and used Rich Mullins’ chorus to make a gorgeous modern anthem for the church. Sometimes I will put my earphones on, set this song on repeat on my iPod, and lose myself.
4. Beautiful Things - Gungor - After John Mark McMillan (see below), Gungor is my favorite current worship singer/songwriter. Fresh lyrics with arresting melodies. Favorite song: “Dry Bones” with an honorable mention to “Call Me Out.”
3. Tonight - Tobymac - This album ranks this high not necessarily because it’s good, but just because it’s fun. “Funky Jesus Music” wins my vote for funnest song of the year. Great, clean grooves.
2. The Medicine - John Mark McMillan - By far the best worship album of the last few years, not because it contains the best version of “How He Loves” (by the writer and composer of the most popular worship song of the past five years), but rather because it’s different than everything else that has come down the pipe. I read somewhere that McMillan is as popular in Charlotte clubs as he is in churches. His songs are that raw and honest. And absolutely great. Favorite song (besides “How He Loves”): tie between “Dress Us Up” and “Death in His Grave” and “Skeleton Bones.”
1. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum - By far, the album I listened to most during the year. No sophomore slump for this group - in fact, they improved their sound. Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott sound nearly always understated, yet it works to near perfection. “Need You Now” got all the attention, but in my opinion “Hello World” is the top song on the disc, a powerful anthem to gratefulness and honor for life and the creator of life.