>It’s that time of year again, where everybody likes to compile their top ten list. These lists usually comprise items that have affected the writer in on way or another. People like lists. They like to see if what they think should be number 1, is what somebody else agrees with as well. I think more than that, people like to argue when there is no agreement.

This year I am going to write a list of the top “whatever” for the last nine years. some people consider this the end of the decade, while other more technical people believe we have another year left. However you cut it, here’s my list.

Nate’s Top Ten Album Picks of the Decade

10. Thousand Foot Krutch-Art of Breaking
In Christian music, it is hard to find good rock and roll. Most of it is contrived and frankly, crappy. Most bands try to use too many stale cliches that need to be laid to rest. Enter Thousand Foot Krutch. These gentleman from Toronto Canada started out as a rap-core band back in the late 90’s. With the release of their second album, “Phenomenon”, they left the Limp Bizkit stuff behind and just became full blown metal. On TFK’s third album, “The Art of Breaking”, all of the pieces seemed to have come together with a smooth production of readily accessible songs.

9. Delirious? – Glo
Americans were first introduced to this British worship band in the mid 90’s. They have recorded worship standards such as I Could Sing of Your Love Forever and Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble. This album, is full of smooth songs that sing of God’s love in a fresh way. Disregarding all the comparisons to U2 (although that’s not a bad band to be compared with), Delirious has been on the forefront of creative and inspiring worship music for over a decade. They have decided to call it quits and will perform their final concert in Britain. They will be missed.

8. Michael W. Smith-Freedom
Those of us who have been around the Christian music scene for a while, have been screaming for Smitty to do a complete instrumental album. He finally listened to his fans and did just that. This album, albeit a little simplistic, is one of the best instrumental albums done by a Christian artist. It is not contrived, and it isn’t full of all the obligatory hymns etc. I have been a big fan of this album since it came out a few years back.

7. TobyMac-Welcome to Diverse City
The Christian music industry was saddened when they heard the news of DC Talk’s demise. They knew that the cash register would be a lot more quiet without this trio producing albums. All three of members went on to pursue solo careers. Toby Mac has been the only one to do it with much success. With “Welcome…” he captures a perfect blend of hip-hop, rock, and coolness. Although his wrinkles may be starting to show, there is no doubt that Toby is still the king of coolness in the Christian Music Scene.

6. Daughtry
The first of my non-christian albums on the list comes from an American idle runner up. Chris Daughtry was asked by the band Fuel if he wanted to be their lead singer. He turned them down and created his own group. With first class production, and original songs written by Chris, this album is first rate. It is accessible to young and old with hooks that stick with you after the album stops. It is, in my opinion, the best album made by any AI contestant to date.

5. City on a Hill
I was working at a Christian bookstore when this album was released. I was excited to hear that it was being produced by Deri Daugherty (the Choir) and was looking forward to a top rate album. I became even more stoked when I heard that it would feature people like Mac Powell, Leigh Nash, Dan Haseltine, and the Newsboys. I bought it on the first day of release and stuck it in my cd player on the way home from work. When I heard God of Wonders, I was blown away and knew it would become an instant classic. Beyond that first track, the rest of the album is amazing, filled with soul searching tracks that go beyond simplistic worship.

4. Switchfoot-Beautiful Letdown
Um not much to say hear except simply brilliant. If you don’t have it, get it.

3. U2-How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
U2 managed to mix great music, great lyrics, and great songs about faith. This album is amazing. Plus, I get to see these guys in Seattle in June!!!!!!!

2. Jars of Clay-Long Fall Back to Earth
Jars has never been one to shy away from controversial topics. And on this album, they continue with the themes that were developed on Good Monsters. If you get a little disappointed with the drivel that is played on most Contemporary Christian music stations, then don’t shy away from Jars of Clay. They have been making great music for 15 years, and they are only getting better.

1. Jars of Clay-Good Monsters
I know I have created the ultimate sin and put two albums by the same group next to each other on the list. But they deserve it. These albums are not easy listening, but they are well worth it. If your faith goes beyond just going to church and bible study. If you find yourself struggling with social justice, and how Jesus loves people, and whether or not God cares about any of this stuff, then do yourself a favor and buy these two albums. They will make you think. They are in a word….outstanding.

I would love to know what you think! Leave your comments here if you would!!!! Love you all