1999 was an incredible year for Christian music as the effects of dc Talk's Jesus Freak in 1995 continued to impact the entire industry. For the next decade, Christian music would morph from it's Jesus Movement roots, to a massive money-making industry as mainstream record and entertainment companies invested resources to break some of the biggest bands ever in Christian music.
Twenty years ago saw debuts from artists like Sonicflood, Chevelle and Bebo Norman and also found bands in the middle of their creative best. Jars Of Clay, Newsboys, Switchfoot, Audio Adrenaline, Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day released albums that remain some of their best albums to date.
If you were listening to music in 1999, this two-part article should take you right back to a year packed with some great albums. And if you're younger, or newer to the Christian music scene, take some time to revisit these new classics. They are all worth your ear and together, capture one incredible year in Christian music history.
1. Knowdaverbs - The Syllabus (Released Feb. 9, 1999)
Nineties hip hop was defined by two subgenres–there was East Coast and West Coast. Knowdaverbs fell firmly in the East Coast camp. Moving on from being a backup dancer and feature artist for GRITS, Verbs delivered a classic of CHH. The album was produced by Toby, Joey and Todd from Gotee records and featured many of the artists that were on the Gotee label at the time including GRITS, Lisa Kimmey (Out of Eden) and Pigeon John. Given the fact that GRITS and Out of Eden also released albums that same year, it is safe to say that Gotee had a firm grip on the summer playlists of many Christian music fans. –Mark Ryan
2. The O.C. Supertones - Chase the Sun (Released Feb. 11, 1999)
The ska genre was at its peak in the late '90s, and the Supertones were there to lead the charge. Blending a Rap and R&B influence in with their signature ska sound, Chase the Sun built on the breakout success of its preceding album. I love the artistry that blends several divergent styles into a single cohesive album. From punk to jazz, from reggae to rap, R&B to punk–whichever direction the song goes, the transitions are seamless. Each song on this album is unique to itself, making this album a great listen from start to finish. –Jake Frederick
3. Sonicflood - Sonicflood (Released Feb. 23, 1999)
Sonicflood was a pioneer in popularizing the modern worship genre. A lot of the worship standards that were popularized around the turn of the century were helped along by Sonicflood. We see examples of this here in their debut with "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" and "I Want To Know You." While membership issues would cause turbulence in the coming years, this is a notable start for one of worship pop's signature acts. –Jonathan Francesco
4. Avalon - In A Different Light (Released March 11, 1999)
Avalon's third album continued to prove that the group had staying power. They hit the number one spot seven times before this release, and this album produced number eight with "In And Not Of," a catchy tune that reminds us to be in the world, but to stay out of its temptations. Although there are still the catchy tunes and awesome lyrics that make Avalon who they are, some of the ending tracks seem to drag. Nonetheless, this album continues the quest for a life lived under the light of God's grace and admonishes us to deepen our daily walk with Him. –Kevin McNeese
5. Switchfoot - New Way To Be Human (Released March 11, 1999)
Throwing it back to the groundbreaking band's second studio album, Switchfoot's New Way to Be Human celebrated its twentieth birthday on March 11th of this year. Twenty years and nine albums later, these songs still hold up. True to Switchfoot's unwavering standard of art, their sophomore release featured the signature alt-rock sound that has evolved over the years, strong and full of passion as ever. New Way To Be Human made its mark on the band's lengthy discography, producing memorable tracks "Company Car," "I Turn Everything Over," and "Only Hope," which was featured in the movie A Walk To Remember. –Caitlin Lassiter
6. Caedmon's Call - 40 Acres (Released Apr. 13, 1999) 40 Acres, the 1999 album by Caedmon's Call is totally brilliant–every song. From the opening catchy melody of "There You Go" and Derek Webb penned "Thankful," "Faith My Eyes" (my personal favorite), "Somewhere North," the moving "Table for Two" and "Shifting Sand," and then closing with "40 Acres," this album is timeless in its melody, lyrics and is the best overall album by Caedmon's Call, one of my favorite bands of all-time. –Kevin Davis
7. Delirious? - Mezzamorphis (Released Apr. 12, 1999)
The title of this album is a melding of two songs: "The Mezzanine Floor," that "in-between" place, and "Metamorphosis," meaning change. With more creative tension than anything before it, Mezzamorphis, is an album about the passion, failure, and successes of life. A theme of heaven runs throughout the album illustrating we are not home here, we long to be complete in heaven. Trailing on the huge success of King Of Fools, this album continues with the rock side of the band. It is a well-produced album that still takes me back to this golden era of Christian rock and worship. –Kevin McNeese
8. Plumb - Candycoatedwaterdrops (Released Apr. 13, 1999)
Throwing it back to 1999, Plumb released her second album Candycoatedwaterdrops. This isn't the Plumb that you're used to today. This album reminds me of a Christian version of Alanis Morissette. Songs such as "Damaged" and "Lie Low" made this album a hit back in the day. Each song offers something different for the fans. You will really enjoy this 90's pop rock style of an album that will still satisfy fans of Alanis Morissette, Natalie Imbruglia, and No Doubt! –Brendan Burke
9. Chevelle - Point #1 (Released May 4, 1999)
Before Chevelle went mainstream, Squint Entertainment only produced one Chevelle album, which is this one. Point #1 is a great progressive metal album for anyone that enjoys heavier music. It reminded me of a Tool album with all the unique styles. Two big singles came from this release–"Mia" and "Point #1," both of which won DOVE awards in the following years. I really enjoyed this album from the start to the end and would still be enjoyed by fans of Tool, Soundgarden, and Nirvana. –Brendan Burke
10. GRITS - Grammatical Revolution (Released May 18, 1999)
Allow us to hop into our Delorean and travel back in time to 1999 for the Grits sophomore release under Gotee Records, Grammatical Revolution. During the nineties, the genre of Christian Hip-hop (CHH) started to excel pegging the Grits as one of its pioneers. The project included featured artists from the label, Knowdaverbs, and Out of Eden. The track “They All Fall Down” won a Dove award the following year (2000). Other standouts were “Ima Showem” and “C2K.” The content was synonymous with the CHH genre at the time with lyrics drenched in theology, scripture, and the name of Jesus. Lyrically, the Grits were always a step ahead of the masses interweaving political, relevant issues of the culture with biblical stances. Nearly 25 years later, the duo remains a part of the hip-hop culture as they released an EP in 2017 titled, Saints & Sinners and a single featuring J. Isaac dropped last March. –Joshua Galla
KEEP READING: Part 2 looks at the last six months of 1999 as we examine albums from Michael W. Smith, P.O.D., Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Audio Adrenaline, Bebo Norman, Jars of Clay, Newsboys and more! Read here
The NRT editorial staff is scattered across the United States and Canada, unified by our love for Christian music and editorial excellence.
NEW! A WAYBACK EDITORIAL
20 Albums Turning 20 in 2019: Part 1 Sonicflood, Caedmon's Call, Avalon, Switchfoot...
NEW! BEHIND THE SONG DEVOTIONAL
Hillsong Worship "Touch Of Heaven" Kevin Davis speaks with Aodhan King...
NEW! LIVE EVENT
NRTrivia Ninja Premieres First Episode New Christian music trivia game launches...