Music has changed quite a bit in twenty years. The year 2000 was a year to remember for many reasons. Christian music had its share of landmark releases in the early months of that nascent decade. Now, those albums are about to turn 20 this month!
Here's a look at nine releases that turn the big 2-0 this February. Join the conversation here and let us know what you remember from these releases!
It's hard to believe that in just a few short years, this quirky little industrial rock band would become the single biggest thing in Christian rock and one of the most successful crossover acts of all time. Before the likes of "Monster" and "Feel Invincible" make Skillet a household name, we find 2000's Invincible (including a title cut very different from the 2016 hit single of a similar name). Fans who only know the band from their 2006-onward albums may have to do a double (and maybe quintuple) take when they hear the electronic beeps of "Best Kept Secret," or the crazy pop/synth goodness of "Come On To The Future."
While one can still see the traces of hard rock energy that would manifest a few years down the road in songs like "You're Powerful" and "The Fire Breathes," these songs feel like a world away from the Skillet that sells out arenas. Still, there's merit to be found in the raw honesty of these songs. Without an established mainstream audience, vocalist and songwriter John Cooper was bold and unfiltered in his proud and blatant declarations. While the dated sound of these songs might be a bit jarring as the album turns 20, it's definitely a worthwhile early chapter in one of the great stories of Christian rock.
Michelle Tumes Center Of My Universe
Michelle Tumes came at the end of what could be described as a golden era for the Christian female solo vocalists. With a style that could be compared to heavyweights like Margaret Becker and Amy Grant, Tumes was mostly Christian music's answer to the popular sounds of mainstream artist, Enya. Center of My Universe is a quintessential release from Tumes that perfectly exemplifies the sound of its day.
PAX217 blended a bunch of different styles into quite a unique package that attracted them some attention in the early 2000s. Mirroring the early success of mainstream acts like 311, Sum41 and Limp Bizkit (thanks to Cameron B for those suggestions!), this debut release from them was the first of two on Forefront records and was part of a wave of new sonic releases that helped usher in a new era of Christian music for the new millennium.
Don Moen I Will Sing
I Will Sing is an album of contemporary worship music recorded by Don Moen, a pioneer of the worship movement who later went on to helm the popular Hosanna series from Integrity Music. Recorded live in the CBN studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the album was produced by Paul Mills, and includes the vocals by Lenny LeBlanc and guitar by Chris Rodriguez. The album also includes narrations that contain Bible verses. Moen recorded this album to encourage other worship leaders to lead worship in front of small audiences.
Homeschool siblings Phillip and Natalie LaRue formed a quiet pop duo in the early 2000s that had a slew of moderately popular hits. I remember seeing several of these on music video stations and thinking that they possessed a quiet talent. While the band only recorded together for a few years, and both artists would eventually pursue a solo career, this album marked a commendable start for the two.
Between Thieves Water
Embracing the raw rock sound which was in a popular phase in the late 90's Christian rock scene, Between Thieves was another wielder of this energetic sound. They didn't hang around long, but 2000 saw them release Water, which would introduce some Southern influence into their pop/punk stylings.
The Kry Let Me Say
I remember The Kry was coming to a local church a few times a year back during this era. They were always a popular and well-liked band but yet they never managed to break into the A-list. Still, they put out consistent quality music. This album continued their signature brand of Christian rock, with a powerful closer in "Cassie's Song" based upon a poem written by Cassie Bernall, who was tragically killed in the Columbine school shooting that at the time still cast a shadow over the nation. The Kry played a huge part in Jeremy Camp's early artist discovery and is explored in the upcoming film, I Still Believe.
The Insyderz Paradise
The 90's had a lot of really unique genres take the reigns in the rock scene, including ska. The Insyderz were one of the notable ones of Christian music, alongside the O.C. Supertones and The W's. 2000 found them releasing an EP called Paradise, fueled by the title single, a song called "Our Wars"with Star Wars references (they were in the middle of the prequel trilogy back then), and a cover of "Just What I Needed" by The Cars.
The Elms The Elms EP
With a sound often compared to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Elms were a bluesy rock band from the 2000's. This year found them releasing an EP via Sparrow Records. While flying under the radar a bit, it was a precursor to a decade long career that rode the fringes of Christian music.
J.J. Francesco is a longtime contributor to the NRT Staff. He's published the novel 'Because of Austin' and regularly seeks new ways to engage faith, life, and community.
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