I might be weirder than I thought you guys. I keep asking people what their favorite year is, and mostly I get blank stares. Is this not a thing? Do people not have a favorite year? Well, I do...and it’s highly likely that as a deeply nostalgia person who has loved music as long as he can remember that music may be the culprit. So here goes... another 90s music post. And yes, this was one of my formative years...let’s go all the way back to 1995. Also, in case you enjoy this post check out a few others like it here: 100 Greatest Christian Albums of the 90s, 100 Greatest Albums of Christian Music 1969-2019 Full List!!!, Every dc Talk Song Ranked
I was fourteen, barely into my music collecting years and all of the sudden my CCM pop listening palate expanded rapidly. Like many a teen in the 90s it was two particular albums that were largely responsible for that. They along with twenty-three albums are present on this list on what I am calling my overall favorite year in Christian music...1995. Hard to believe these are all celebrating 25 years this year, but here we are and boy do I feel old! Some have stood up better than others as far as sounding dated to their time but I’d be willing to hold these twenty-five up to almost any other year. I think it would stand toe-to-toe with any other contender. So without further delay here is a ranked list (because I must) of what I believe to be the strongest year in Christian music during the 90s, if not it’s entire history. But that’s a blog for another time...here we go!
25. Super Deluxe - Morella’s Forest
Never listened to this one at the time but it’s got a high reputation. Noise pop musically in the vein of Starflyer 59.
24. Arms Around the World - Code of Ethics
Perhaps the most dated sound of the bunch I also first heard these guys via radio, and it was probably the pop song “Well Done.”
23. Self-Titled - Tony Vincent
Radio played the heck out of “Out of My Hands” and “Simple Things” and they were my introduction to Vincent. I would later love his song “One Deed” as a top song of the decade.
22. No Doubt - Petra
Not much of a Petra fan, but I think this album when I think of them. “Right Place” and “No Doubt” are my go-to tunes.
21. Brothers Keeper - Rich Mullins
Title track and “Let Mercy Lead” are my favorites though “Quoting Deuteronomy To The Devil” is up there too.
20. Strip Cycle - Michael Knott
I’ve listened to this one a few times due to its reputation but it hasn’t clicked with me yet. Need to revisit.
19. Happily Ever After - Hoi Polloi
Aggressive and moody female rock.
18. Unplugged - The Kry
The Kry was a truly underrated band in my opinion. This live and unplugged album is one of the few exceptions to my no live albums rule.
17. Extra*Ordinary - Johnny Q. Public
Strong alt rock with the standout track “Body Be” the most well-known of the tracklist.
16. I’ll Lead You Home - Michael W. Smith
I still know the words to most of these and love to sing along at the top of my lungs.
15. Love Education - Jon Gibson
Love this dude’s voice, this is probably my overall favorite of his non-hits albums. Solid from top-to-bottom blue-Eyed Soul.
14. Lonely House – Grammatrain
Grungy Rock with growling baritone vocals from Pete Stewart. Excellent.
13. The Spark - Plankeye
College Alt-Rock with top notch lyrics.
12. Perfecta - Adam Again
Many would argue this as their best, and though I still think that album is Dig, this one is top-notch as well.
11. Self-Titled - Big Tent Revival
A bit of storytelling, country, pop/rock, ballads, alternative. All well done.
10. Delusions of Grandeur - Fleming & John
Man, that voice! “I’m Not Afraid” is worth inclusion alone, but listen to the whole album for sure. Vocally operatic and musically alt/rock at its finest.
9. Blue Belly Sky - The Waiting
Quirky, charming pop/rock that should have been huge. “Look at Me” is a top 25 song of the 90s Christian Music scene if you ask me.
8. Gold - Starflyer 59
Its predecessor has a bigger reputation but I prefer Gold as an entire album. Hazy, Shoe-gaze rock.
7. Way Before The Flood - Blackeyed Sceva
6. Love Is Against The Grain - Dimestore Prophets
Speaking of terrific alt/rock with top notch lyrics here’s another lesser known band and album of the era that should have gotten more love.
5. Teenage Politics - MxPx
Iconic punk rock. Fast, fun, and loud.
4. Mercury - The Prayer Chain
As weird of an album as you’ll find in the alt/rock “Chrindie” music scene, this one lives up to its reputation as one of the finest bands and albums that the more underground Christian music of the decade has to offer
3. This Beautiful Mess - Sixpence None The Richer
An album of contrasts I can hardly ever decide if I love this Sixpence album more than their self-titled. This one is raw and rough musically in all the right ways, and contrasted by Leigh’s angelic lilting voice. “Wishing A Room Somewhere” is their best song and it’s here.
2. Self-Titled - Jars of Clay
First in my heart, but second on this list of a incomparable year in CCM. Acoustic-based alt/rock with stirring string sections and poetic lyrics.
1. Jesus Freak - Dctalk
Buck it all you want, but this album cannot be equaled in its impact on CCM...it’s simply the best. Hit singles galore from the supergroup still on “intermission.”
What a year right?! Happy 25th to some of my all-time favorite albums in my all-time favorite year! What about you...what’s your favorite 1995 album? Why do you love it? Leave a comment and share if you think you know someone who’d enjoy the read!
Happy listening friends! – Josh Balogh