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THE YEAR THAT WAS
10 Christian Music Videos You Need To See Before 2014 Ends
NRT's Founder, Kevin McNeese, explores the best Christian music videos released this past year.
 


Every Monday night, I have the honor of updating NRT with the latest Christian music videos that I've scoured the interwebs for. That task has become increasingly easier as more and more artists come to us to premiere their videos to you, our visitors, (47 and counting this year alone), but even if I'm late to the viewing party, it's always a thrill to sit back and watch Christian artists in action.

The songs that we grow to love each year are full of spiritual and emotional passion and the art of the music video takes on new meaning when ministry is inserted into the equation. It's been exciting to see more and more artists take risks with their storytelling, break out of character (and, in some cases, into new characters) while having fun with their messages, and increase their overall missional reach with their videos.

I can honestly say I've watched the majority of videos that have come out this year. I could easily make this list a Top 30. But in the interest of keeping your interest, I've pared it down to my favorite 10 of 2014. As with any best-of list, I'm sure there are holes. I'd love to hear which videos you haven't been able to stop watching this year. Post yours in the comments below.

Finally, if you're looking for more videos, NRT has the largest Christian music video database online. Browse hundreds of featured videos or thousands by title, and who knows? You may wind up discovering a few new songs and artists in the process. After all, isn't that what's it's all about?

10. "Glorious Unfolding" by Steven Curtis Chapman
 

The last Steven Curtis Chapman video that made me cry while watching was "Do Everything," but it was for all the wrong reasons, and we'll just leave it at that. This time, it was for all the right reasons.

The beautifully shot video follows the journey of a young woman on an emotional adventure set up by her father who recently passed away. "This story," explains Chapman, "beautifully mirrors the meaning of the song itself. If we trust our Father, we'll be able to see Him unfolding this incredible story. Even in the hard chapters, the great stretches, we can see its glorious unfolding if we watch for it."

Cue all the tears.

9. "Keep Making Me" by Sidewalk Prophets



Animator Elizabeth Cardella spent more than a year working on this video for Sidewalk Prophets and 175 hours of stop-motion animation. Add in a bunch of flying paint and you have a great creative video. 

"I want people to feel something after watching, says guitarist, Ben McDonald. "That's really what the hope is with art. You want people to feel something."

Well, I feel like a lazy moron after watching this! People amaze me with their attention to detail and their craft. And directing art like this to God's glorification makes me rejoice even louder. 

8. "We Walk On Water" by Shonlock



Shonlock had me at the wild "run for your life" opening chase sequence through the forest with awesome slow-mo frames. And beautiful, fog-filled lake scenery with cliff-jumping and underwater shots. And boats on fire. FIRE! And actual walking on water. Which is kind of required when you're shooting a video for a song called "We Walk On Water." 

7. "Hope In Front Of Me" by Danny Gokey



After spending four weeks at No. 1, this hit song, fueled by Danny's unimaginable heartache over the passing of his first wife Sophia, needed an equally emotional visual punch. But instead of delivering his own story on film, Danny tells the stories of others finding hope in situations of hopelessness while he performs in the middle of the street in all his low, V-neck glory. Watch out for those country drivers, Danny! 

Added "cool-factor" bonus: NRT's very own, Caitlin Lassiter, who is finding hope daily while struggling with chronic illness and pain, makes an appearance in the fan version of the video around the 2:28 mark!

6. "VIP" by Manic Drive f/ Manwell



I remember my rollar skating rink days. The awkward parental drop offs. The backwards skate that produced many a bruised hip bone, elbow and ego. The awkward solitude during the couple skates. ... Why am I remembering these days, again?

Manic Drive actually makes roller skating look cool and they are having a blast doing so. Thankfully, I can watch and laugh in the comfort of my office instead of having to huddle in the corner wondering what compelled me to lace up in the first place. 

5. "Not Gonna Die" by Skillet



Directed by Joey Papa and produced by former Skillet guitarist Benjamin Kasica, Skillet's most recent video from their album, Rise, finds the band delivering a hard rocking performance against a white backdrop while a story unfolds centered on a woman in a series of different realities fighting for her life. Frontman John Cooper recently told Loudwire, "Filming 'Not Gonna Die' was especially cool because we have not done a video with such a surreal storyline. This is my personal favorite song on the record so I'm pleased that the video captured the drama of the music."

So what does it all mean? Well, um... it looks pretty cool! (But seriously, what does it all mean?)

4. "BZRK" by Family Force 5 f/ KB



There are few bands that have amassed a video catalog as high quality as Family Force 5's. "Zombie," "Cray Button" and "Wobble" were a video trifecta last year in my book, so I was excited to see what else they had up their neon colored, pin-striped sleaves for "BZRK." Disappoint, they did not.

Like one of Stefon's favorite New York night clubs, this one has it all. Trampolines. Bats. Crazy butlers. Smashed things. Plastic hair. Exercise bikes. Graffiti. A rapper. It also doesn't hurt that the song is one of the best-produced pop ditties to release this year.

3. "Ready, Set, Go" by Royal Tailor f/ Capital Kings



Earlier this year I had the honor of introducing Royal Tailor every night on The Rock & Worship Roadshow. I prepared the audience to be blown away by "some of the best performers in our industry." I wasn't joking. They are incredible, and front-man Tauren Wells has some of the best moves in the biz, with a voice to match.

Because this video is approaching 1 million views, there's no longer a need to educate the audience. This is definitely a page I'm excited to see we're all on. So excited in fact, I could do a back fli... aw, who am I kidding?

2. "When the Crazy Kicks In" by Francesca Battestelli



Katy Perry does it. P!nk does it. Lady Gag-me does it. It seems like the first thing they teach you in "Female Pop Videos 101" is the art of the costume change. But in Christian music, we're used to seeing our female artists put together in their Sunday bests, behind a mic or instrument, delivering a fine vocal performance like you'd see any night at their live show. 

So mad props, literally, to Francesca, who busts out of her on-stage personality and delves into real life, surrounded by kids, managers, photographers and media, all while in her morning slippers and curlers. It's a fantasticly fun video that depicts real life behind the glitz and glamour--and glitter. So much glitter. 

1. "Lazarus" by Bellarive



Simply put, you haven't seen a Chrisitan video like this. The song itself is beautifully haunting, telling the miraculous story of Lazarus and how it parallels our own salvation story. The video is a pure creative force that captures you on the first frame and doesn't let go. 

Lead singer Sean Curran spoke with NRT about the song and the video. "We had this premise that without Jesus, we're dead men walking, and we wanted to create some of that imagery. We had to learn how to play the song at half speed, and then when we sped it up, it looked a bit glitchy. At the end, we were busting out of graves and coming alive. We did it in our backyard. I guess it worked out ok."

Well, when playtime in the backyard results in the best video of the year, I guess it worked out OK as well, Sean. Now, sleep no more and knock out another one for us to watch over, and over again.
 

Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.

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