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Reason by Unspoken Reason by Unspoken
What You Need To Know:
From the opening seconds of their debut album in 2014,...
Beyond by Teressa Beyond by Teressa
What You Need To Know:
With a passion for music that traces all the way back...
Surrender by Dawn Surrender by Dawn
What You Need To Know
As the lead singer for Grammy-nominated band Fireflight,...

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Unspoken At Their Very Best | Posted June-18-2019
What You Need To Know:

From the opening seconds of their debut album in 2014, Unspoken captured my attention--and they haven't lost it since. A band who has crafted a unique blend of soulful pop and heartfelt worship, Unspoken has long been a fan favorite at radio with hits like "Who You Are," "Good Fight," and recently, "Just Give Me Jesus." Continuing to raise the bar with each new release, the guys in Unspoken are back at it again with their first full-length project in three years, Reason



What It Sounds Like:

One thing is for sure-- though Unspoken has found their signature sound with soulful pop vibes and aren't straying from it anytime soon, every record is still fresh thanks to creative and fun sounds. Songs like "Can't Even Love Myself," "Already Won," "Human Condition," and "Never Would've Made It" showcase those sonically-intriguing elements, while "Let It Be Love," "If We Only Knew," "You've Always Been" and "Wasted Time" all tap into gospel and soul influences. 



Spiritual Highlights:

With the themes of this record being born from seasons of hardship and trial for the band, every song carries a message that points back to the goodness of God. The importance of love is discussed in "Let It Be Love" and the title track, while the value of grace in our lives is brought up in "Human Condition" and "Mistakes." "You've Always Been" focuses on the faithfulness of God, and radio hit "Just Give Me Jesus" is a beautiful declaration of longing for the Lord above all else. 



Best Song on the Album:

There are so many songs on Reason that could take the number one spot when picking favorites (a testimony to the high quality of this album), but the one that consistently rises to the top for me is "Help Is On The Way." The song is Unspoken at their very best, with it's energetic pop tendencies and hope-filled message of redemption: "You are not alone / all of Heaven's on your side / every prayer is heard / your rescue's coming just in time.



For Fans Of:

Sidewalk Prophets, The Afters, Building 429



Final Word:

With each passing release over the last few years, Unspoken has hit nothing but home runs--and Reason is no different. Their ever-evolving sound still captures my attention within seconds of a song beginning, and the lyrical content is as impactful as ever, wrapping timely messages of encouragement and praise inside melodies you'll have a hard time getting out of your head. Unspoken continues to be one of the most remarkably strong and consistently high quality bands CCM has to offer listeners, and Reason sees them at the very top of their game.





Buy Reason on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


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A Promising Follow-Up | Posted June-14-2019
What You Need To Know:

With a passion for music that traces all the way back to her childhood, new artist Teressa Mahoney has been a singer/songwriter for most of her life. After taking a brief hiatus to raise her family, Teressa returned to the music scene in 2017 with her indie/folk debut album Made New. Now, two years later, Mahoney offers her highly-anticipated sophomore follow-up, Beyond



What It Sounds Like:

Imagine the vivid storytelling qualities of Andrew Peterson's songwriting, the tender passion of Audrey Assad's piano melodies, and the soft sweetness of JJ Heller's voice all colliding together--that gives you a good preview of what you'll hear from Beyond. With her captivating voice and style, Teressa is sure to draw your attention within seconds of pressing play on this album. 



Spiritual Highlights:

From singing Scripture in "Restore (Psalm 23)" to a breathtaking look at the story of Abraham and Isaac in "Let Go," Beyond visits spiritual topics in creative, moving ways. Teressa dives further into Scripture with "Save Me O God (Psalm 69)" and the benediction of sorts found in "As You Go" that borrows from Philippians 1:3. 



Best Song on the Album:

"Restore (Psalm 23)" is a highlight on Beyond, both for its peaceful, lullaby-like melody and the beautiful way Teressa weaves the promises of the well-known Psalm into a singable declaration. 



For Fans Of:

Andrew Peterson, Audrey Assad, JJ Heller



Final Word:

With a sound that is beautifully reminiscent of the aforementioned artists yet ultimately it's own creation, Beyond feels both familiar and brand new, in all the best ways. An album that fills the space of both storytelling and scripture-speaking, Beyond is a promising addition to Teressa Mahoney's discography. 





Buy Beyond on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


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A Different Side of Dawn | Posted May-22-2019
What You Need To Know

As the lead singer for Grammy-nominated band Fireflight, Dawn Michele is no stranger to creating projects full of passion and grit. Now preparing to release her first full-length solo worship album, Dawn looked to fan support through crowd-funding website PledgeMusic to make Surrender a reality. Called an "organic extension of her creative ministry," the debut release seeks to display the artistic reach of the highly-celebrated rock vocalist. 



What It Sounds Like

Quite the shift from what fans are used to hearing from Michele, Surrender offers worship tunes with a pop flair. Featuring EDM elements on songs like "Overcome" and "Kingdom Come," the album covers a range of styles, all executed well by Dawn's powerhouse vocal. Taking on popular worship tracks "Is He Worthy" (Andrew Peterson), "Great I Am" (Phillips, Craig & Dean), and the classic hymn "How Great Thou Art," Dawn breathes new life into some of the genre's most moving songs. 



Spiritual Highlights

The whole of Surrender is crafted around a foundation of praise, finding roots of worship in every song. Bringing in themes of surrender ("I Surrender All [feat. Tim Timmons]), the holiness of God ("Holy One"), God's sovereignty ("God and God Alone") and His eternal glory ("Now and Forevermore"), this album houses a spirit of reverence from beginning to end.



Best Song on the Album

Dawn adds her own pop stylings to every song on the record, but the sound really pops on her take of the classic hymn "How Great Thou Art." The song is beautifully redone, bringing a modern and fresh feel to a song that stands among the greats. 



For Fans Of

Fireflight, Holly Starr, Sarah Reeves 



Final Word

Dawn Michele has long proved her status as one of the best vocalists in Christian music, but with the release of her debut solo record, she reinvents herself to show a different side of her growing artistry--a side that thrives in the worship realm. While we all are glad to see Dawn continue in the rock world, with Surrender, she moves into a new sound all her own that is sure to be a hit with fans.

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The Best Yet | Posted April-12-2019
What You Need To Know

When Danny Gokey broke through in 2014 with his debut single "Hope In Front of Me," the CCM community knew something special was happening. With a deeply personal story of finding hope and healing after a season of loss and heartbreak, Danny's passion for his music from day one has been to spread that message of hope with others walking through their own seasons of difficulty. The Grammy-nominated artist has well accomplished that goal over the last five years with songs like the aforementioned "Hope In Front of Me," "Tell Your Heart To Beat Again," "More Than You Think I Am," "Rise," "Masterpiece," and more. Now with his highly-anticipated fifth studio album Haven't Seen It Yet, Gokey continues to offer his signature encouragement with heartfelt ballads and high-energy tunes that come together to create his best record yet. 



What It Sounds Like

It wouldn't be a Danny Gokey album if we didn't have both the uptempo dance jams that are perfect for those windows-down feel-good kind of days ("New Day," "Craziest Thing," "Fighter") and the heart-gripping tracks that hit us right in the feels and give us a good cry ("Haven't Seen It Yet," "Wanted," "Better Because Of It," "More Than I Could Be"). Gokey has obviously found a sound (or combination of sounds, rather) that works for him, and while he doesn't stray far from what we've heard sonically on past records, he finds innovative ways to keep it sounding fresh, creative and new. 



Spiritual Highlights

This whole album is one huge dose of encouragement--per usual for anything we hear from Gokey. He truly has a gift for creating quality music that also carries messages of great significance. From reminders of the importance of love ("Love God Love People") to moments that spur you on in your faith ("Finish Strong") and a call to just be yourself ("No Pressure"), the topics on this album cover a wide variety of struggles. The overarching theme though, as it has been in past releases, is hope in times of suffering. From the bold declarations of the title track to the positive outlook of "Better Because Of It" and the profound motivation in "Fighter," these songs are anthems for anyone walking through a season of hurt.



Best Song on the Album

There are so many home-run songs on Haven't Seen It Yet, but when it comes to picking the standout moment, I just can't get away from the title track. With its confident promise of better things still to come, it feels like a brilliant follow-up to "Hope In Front Of Me" as it infuses captivating hope into every lyric: "You're closer than you think you are / only moments from the break of dawn / all His promises are just up ahead / maybe you just haven't seen it yet.



For Fans Of

Jordan Feliz, Matthew West, Mandisa



Final Word

From his powerhouse vocal skills to the masterful production and chart-topping songwriting, Danny Gokey just never stops getting better. Hope In Front of Me was a remarkable debut album, followed by the equally noteworthy release of Rise, proving that Danny continues to raise the bar with each new offering-- Haven't Seen It Yet continues that trend and presents itself as his best work to date. A must-listen for anyone in need of an album to soundtrack a difficult season with encouragement, Haven't Seen It Yet is yet another winner from one of the most hope-filled artists in music today. 

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Authenticity At Its Best | Posted March-26-2019
What You Need To Know 

A group that has more than made their mark on the CCM community since their 2016 debut, We Are Messengers has become known for their powerful live show, vulnerable ministry, and life-changing authenticity. Fronted by former The Remission Flow member Darren Mulligan, the desire to offer listeners something real has played a vital role in We Are Messengers' music from the very beginning. Three years after radio hit "Everything Comes Alive" shot them to an unexpected place as leaders in their genre, Darren and the crew are back with new music that declares God's healing, freedom, and nearness through an EP with a title that clearly states what their entire career has been about: being Honest



What It Sounds Like

The bold pop/rock sound that quickly became signature for We Are Messengers is present in every bit of the six tracks on Honest. Energetic moments that will keep you moving make their appearance in the first notes of the opening title track, flowing over into rock-influenced "The Devil Is A Liar" and electronic-vibed "Gold and Glory." A We Are Messengers record wouldn't be complete without a few emotion-stirring ballads, and that's exactly what we get in the remaining half of the EP with laid-back "Abide," a heart-cry for intimacy with God, followed by a moving message to Darren's wife in "Wolves," and finally beautifully transparent lead single "Maybe It's Okay." 



Spiritual Highlights

Everything about this EP points us back to the truth of scripture and a God who desires honesty in our relationships, both with Him ("Abide," "Maybe It's Okay") and with others ("Honest," "Wolves"). With bold challenges about choosing the glory of God over the treasures of this world ("Gold and Glory") and declarations that shed light on the enemy's schemes ("The Devil Is A Liar"), Honest captures the perfect balance of being personally relatable while still being vertically worshipful. 



Best Song on the Album

For an EP carrying the title of Honest, "Maybe It's Okay" is everything the community of music-lovers longing for something boldly genuine needed it to be. A radio hit that's been impacting the lives of thousands of listeners since its release last fall, the song offers a safe space for people to admit that they are broken and hurting, backed by a chorus that promises the resounding truth of God's grace: "Maybe it's okay if I'm not okay 'cause the One who holds the world is holding onto me.



For Fans Of

Jordan Feliz, Unspoken, Tauren Wells 



Final Word

For a Christian music culture that wrestles with vulnerability and desires something real in the songs they sing along with, Honest is authenticity at it's best. These six tracks are packed with the truths of Scripture and wrapped in encouragement for the weary listener who longs to be seen, heard, and ministered to. This EP goes above and beyond in accomplishing its mission to be Honest, and yet again proves that We Are Messengers are in a class of their own when it comes to crafting music that is both carefully genuine and creatively brilliant. 



Buy Honest on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


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A Story of Perseverance | Posted March-25-2019
What You Need To Know:

The songs that you hear from Natasha Owens are born from a journey that has held both great joy and great sorrow. With her debut album, I Made It Through, she chronicled the devastating loss of her father, the crippling depression that held her in the aftermath, and the hope she found as Jesus led her to emotional healing through music ministry. Award-winning We Will Rise, a sophomore release that offered soaring encouragement in times of hardship, followed in 2017. With a lot of life behind her since her last release, including a near-death experience during a diagnostic procedure, Natasha is taking her story of overcoming hope and sharing it in her third full-length album, carried by a title that sums up the artist perfectly--Warrior



What it Sounds Like:

Warrior, as suggested by its name, sounds triumphant from the opening notes of "Escape." With upbeat moments that offer melodic encouragement ("Warrior," "Race To Be Run," "Get Behind Me") alongside worshipful tracks that make space for reverent praise ("Fear Less," "Rock Of Our Salvation," "Surrender"), this album covers all the bases on the sonic landscape. 



Spiritual Highlights

Owens touches on a variety of topics with Warrior, from the importance of love in our lives ("Just Love") and the authority we have in Christ over our doubt and anxieties ("Get Behind Me," "Fear Less"), to the faithfulness of Christ when we put our trust in Him ("Surrender," "Rock of Our Salvation"). With the attitude of a triumphant overcomer, songs like "Best Days of My Life" and the title track offer encouragement for listeners in need of spiritual uplifting. 



Best Song on the Album:

With hope and encouragement spilling out of every song, the title track stands tall as the best song on Warrior. Lyrically, the song is both honest and victorious: "I am beat up and bruised, but I see glimpses of glory when I stand with You / I'm a warrior.

 


For Fans Of

Hannah Kerr, JJ Weeks, Mandisa 

 

Final Word

Natasha Owens has always been an artist determined to spread a message of hope with her work--Warrior definitely continues that effort successfully. The album offers truths of Scripture wrapped in both fun and worshipful melodies, creating an uplifting listen for fans as Owens continues to make her mark on the CCM community with her story of undying perseverance in the face of difficulty. 





Buy Warrior on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


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Profound, Personal Worship | Posted February-11-2019
What You Need To Know:

When The City Harmonic came to an end in 2016, fans mourned the loss of what had been an impactful voice in the CCM/worship community. Much to their excitement though, founding member and frontman Elias Dummer is ready to carry on the spirit of worship with a voice and vibe all his own. Now stepping boldly into his solo debut, Elias releases The Work Vol. 1



What it Sounds Like:

An album that is primarily worship-focused in content, the sound can't be contained to one specific category. Some songs are acoustic-driven and laid-back ("Enough," "Heartbeat") while others are energetic and engaging ("What Are We Waiting For?"). Elias's unique voice carries each song in a way that automatically captures the listener's attention and keeps them hanging on every word. 



Spiritual Highlights:

Elias describes The Work Vol. 1 as his "wrestling with prayers [he's] needed to sing for a long time." With that in mind while listening through the album, it becomes all the more moving as Elias fills these songs with profound lyrical content while still keeping the overall tone worshipful in nature. Substance and reverence seem to be a hard balance to find these days, especially in the worship genre, but Elias tackles it here with brilliance. 



Best Song on the Album:

"Enough" kicks off the album with deep theological truths from the opening lines: "I am not what I make / I am what You make me to be." Backed by its simple yet bold acoustic sound, the powerful lyrics that declare Jesus' sufficiency get their chance to shine as Elias' raspy vocal brings the song to life. 

 

For Fans Of:

The City Harmonic, Iron Bell Music, Pat Barrett 

 

Final Word:

The Work Vol. 1 is absolutely a worship album, but not the kind of worship we've grown to expect from that label. These songs intentionally shy away from being big and congregational–-instead, they are profound and personal, wrestling with questions of faith and offering resolve in gentle moments of reverence. Elias Dummer has crafted a one-of-a-kind debut album with The Work Vol. 1, and it will no doubt leave listeners ready to hear what creativity flows next from the now-solo artist.  

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Anthems Of Redemption | Posted February-06-2019
What You Need To Know:

The voice and pen behind fan favorites such as "Just Say Jesus" and "God Is On The Move," anthemic declarations of faith wrapped in bold pop/rock vibes have become the signature for BEC group 7eventh Time Down. Now heading towards their fourth studio release, Brand New Day, the band offers an evolution of the sound we've come to love from them, paired with lyrics of freedom, mercy, and redemption.



What it Sounds Like:

Brand New Day hangs in the realm of the defining 7eventh Time Down's pop/rock sound, often wandering more into the electronic/pop side of things. That being said, 7eventh Time Down brilliantly avoids making an album that sounds the same track after track, creatively adding elements and mixing things up enough to leave us feeling like we've heard a nice spectrum of sounds. From heartfelt ballads to empowering declarations, Brand New Day offers a sound that will suit every listener. 



Spiritual Highlights:

No matter the sound of the track, one thing is constant from the beginning of this album to the end–the way it lifts up the name and message of Jesus. Themes span from the relentless grace of Jesus ("The 99") to His faithfulness ("Trust," "Can You"), then jump over to proclamations of our own faith ("I Have Decided," "Let Me Tell You") and the importance of living our lives well ("Make It Count," "Brand New Day"). 



Best Song on the Album:

Captivating my attention from its opening moments with frontman Mikey Howard's soulful vocal, "The 99" is a true highlight. Melodically, this track stands tall with a powerful beat and catchy chorus. With a message that speaks of redemption and grace, the song uplifts listeners while also being an enjoyable listen on the sonic front. 

 

For Fans Of:

Sanctus Real, The Afters, Hawk Nelson

 

Final Word:

Brand New Day is another success from the 7eventh Time Down crew. From sound to content, this release offers something fresh while still keeping some of the elements that are trademark to 7eventh Time Down's music over the past few records. Anthems that speak a message of redemption with every line, fans are sure to be encouraged by Brand New Day

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Making Their Mark | Posted November-17-2018
What You Need To Know:

With a soulful pop sound that no one else has quite crafted, Unspoken has long been one of the most underrated bands in Christian music. From the very beginning of their career, these guys have been making art that rivals the quality of artists who have been in the industry for decades, keeping fans excitedly looking forward to each new release. The follow up to their 2016 homerun sophomore album Follow Through, Unspoken now offers their Just Give Me Jesus EP. 



What it Sounds Like:

An often energetic mix of soul, pop and folk influences blend to create the signature Unspoken sound--and it honestly gets better with each release. Sonically, this EP stays in the same field as their previous work, but there's still a growth in the quality and production that continues to evolve their carefully-crafted sound. Lead singer Chad Mattson's vocals are as smooth and intriguing as ever, drawing listeners into each lyric and always leaving us wanting to hear more. 



Spiritual Highlights:

While not a worship album entirely, all of these five tracks have some sort of worship element thrown in. With topics ranging from the greatness of God's grace in our mistakes and human brokenness to His sovereignty in our lives and our eternal need for Him, this EP is overflowing with more of the brilliant songwriting depth that has also become standard from the Unspoken crew. 



Best Song on the Album:

There's not a single track on this EP that doesn't deserve a listen, but from the first time I heard "You've Always Been," I deemed it the album highlight. The song mixes pop elements with a worshipful spirit and anthemic lines that declare the faithfulness of Christ to create a powerful moment. As if that wasn't already enough, the key change at the end seals the deal with an extra dose of creativity and talent.

 

For Fans Of:

Tenth Avenue North, Matthew West, Sidewalk Prophets 

 

Final Word:

For a band that started out so strong, one might wonder just how much more they can raise the bar. However, the Just Give Me Jesus EP is yet another win for a band who keeps proving that they genuinely get better every time we hear them. From production and vocals to melodies and songwriting, this EP shines as Unspoken continues to make their mark as one of the best bands CCM has seen in quite a while.





But the Just Give Me Jesus EP on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.

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Pop and Worship Collide | Posted October-18-2018
What You Need To Know:

It's been a whirlwind of a career for pop artist and worship leader Sarah Reeves. What started as a major label debut almost a decade ago soon turned to a few years of riding the waves as an independent artist with her popular YouTube covers, all leading up to her return to a major label in 2016. Now with a new sound that continues to mature with every song, Sarah offers her full-length album Easy Never Needed You



What it Sounds Like:

The first era of Sarah Reeves music showed us the strength of her pop sensibilities, while the "covers" era showed more of her heart for worship. The beautiful thing about her current record is that it combines the best of both of those sides of Sarah's talents, blending pop melodies ("Something About You," "Right Where You Want Me," "Details") with worshipful prayers ("Just Want You," "Fall Afresh," "Faithful") for a project that carries a matured sound all her own. 

 

Spiritual Highlights:

Whether the moment is high-energy or reverent praise, the lyrical content on this album is all vertical and pointing back to Christ. With messages of the faithfulness of Christ and His sovereignty to lead us where He wants us, the whole record is a breath of fresh air that encourages listeners on a spiritual level.



Best Song on the Album:

There are many noteworthy tracks on Easy Never Needed You, but one that stands out in every area of production is "Right Where You Want Me." With an uplifting and positive message of confidence, Sarah's unique vocal carries this song with grace as the vibrant beat invites fans into a fun listen. 

 

For Fans Of:

Francesca Battistelli, Hollyn, Meredith Andrews 

 

Final Word:

Easy Never Needed You is a home-run of an album. As Sarah Reeves makes a bold return to the forefront of Christian music, this project makes it clear that she's raising the bar for her fellow artists and songwriters. A high-quality collection of songs that bring out the best of her abilities in both the pop and worship worlds, this is Sarah Reeves at the top of her game.  



Buy it on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.

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Showing 1-10 of 186 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews

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