Can you believe 2011 was 10 years ago? That's A full decade. Somehow, these songs don't feel quite so old, and yet they are. I remember when each of these songs was new. Do you? Take a trip down memory lane and relive 11 of the top songs in Christian music for 2011.
Matthew West - "Strong Enough"
One of the first of several albums to be inspired by stories sent in by fans, the 2010 album, The Story of Your Life kicked off a successful new chapter for popular artist Matthew West. The album's second big single, "Strong Enough," resonated with fans: Hands of mercy won't you cover me/Lord right now I'm asking you to be/Strong enough/Strong enough."
I think we've all been at the point where we can't deal with something in life on our own, so we give it over to Christ, who's strong enough. For those of us coming of age 10 years ago, this theme probably hits home more and more with each passing year.
Aaron Shust - "My Hope Is In You"
Contemporary artist Aaron Shust was a source of above-average quality contemporary worship music. And, his move to Centricity Music for his 4th album, This Is What We Believe, proved this point. While singles like "Risen Today" and "We Are Free" would prove notable in their own right, it was the smash hit "My Hope Is In You" that would cement itself as a new signature for Aaron. Definitely, a long-term classic.
Tenth Avenue North - "You Are More"
The second single from contemporary band Tenth Avenue North's 2010 sophomore album, The Light Meets The Dark, "You Are More" was an encouraging hit for many listeners. Addressing the things that many of us struggle with and how we're more than those things was a theme that was more than relevant to a hurting generation. We've never needed that message more than now, so give this album a listen.
Casting Crowns - "Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)"
A true modern Easter classic. There are thousands of songs for Christmas, but not quite as many for this ever-important Good Friday and Easter observance. "Glorious Day" served as a song to touch on all of the major points in the life of Christ: his birth, his death, his resurrection, and his second coming. The song had hymn-like qualities mixed with Casting Crowns' signature melodies. Of all of the band's hits, this one seems to have one of the biggest and strongest legacies for the Church.
Chris Tomlin - "I Will Follow"
Chris Tomlin is arguably one of the most successful—if not the most successful—contemporary Christian artists of all time. His name is almost synonymous with the genre. Songs like the peppy "I Will Follow" demonstrate the Tomlin template well and show why he's such a powerhouse in worship and contemporary music.
Brandon Heath - "Your Love"
Another in a long line of successful hits for the then-up-and-coming contemporary artist, "Your Love" further established Brandon's sound and strong presence within Christian music. We talked about this single and many others from Brandon in our recent retrospective on his career thus far.
Chris Tomlin - "I Lift My Hands"
Yes, Chris is such a powerhouse—and possibly even more so back in 2011—that he got two songs in the Top 10. "I Lift My Hands" is a slower and more contemplative worship option than the aforementioned "I Will Follow." But, no less Chris and no less iconic in his discography.
Mandisa - "Stronger"
Mandisa's songs of encouragement have made her music famous in both Christian and mainstream circles. "Stronger" was one of the Christian pop artist's most notable hits that sung about how God will make us stronger through our greatest trials.
Jeremy Camp - "The Way"
"The Way" was another in a nearly nonstop run of contemporary Jeremy Camp's successful singles. From his second worship project, this song combined Jeremy's signature vocals with a worshipful message that made it a winning choice for radio and a surefire standout in his ever-growing discography.
Laura Story - "Blessings"
One of Laura Story's most successful songs, the simple and gentle melody made for an instantly recognizable song that made for one of the year's most classic songs. For a world faced with struggles, the song musing about how God's blessings might come through our trials was a relevant and powerful psalm.
Sidewalk Prophets - "You Love Me Anyway"
After the success of their debut single "The Words I Would Say," the way was paved for a follow-up hit from the debut album of this up-and-coming contemporary powerhouse band. "You Love Me Anyway" was a powerful reminder of how God loves us— despite our sinfulness. It's become one of Sidewalk Prophet's signature songs, with a message with immense staying power sure to make it a classic for years to come.
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. He is currently working on releasing a brand new novel.
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