Wednesday, September 20, 2006

the greatest contemporary christian songs ever

scott freeman posts the greatest contemporary christian songs ever.

He limits his list to CCM songs and stays away from the field of praise/worship songs. He also limits his list to one song per artist. So maybe his title needs to change. It's good timing for this list. September 19th was the 9th anniversary of Rich Mullins death. Below is his list & his comments.
What CCM songs would you have on your list?

10. Thank You–Ray Boltz: This is a sappy song, sure. But I can’t think of a Christian song that had a greater initial impact on me than this one. 15+ years later I still well up when he sings that line “Now, I know up in Heaven you’re not supposed to cry but I am almost sure there were tears in your eyes.” What we do on this earth matters. Boltz catches that beautifully here.

9. Two Sets of Jones–Big Tent Revival: Randy Williams, the guitar player, was a good friend of mine in high school. But that’s not the reason this song makes the list. It’s the strongest lyric BTR ever put out and does what a great story-song does: leaves an indelible picture in your head. I see this song in my head every time I hear a certain parable now.

8. He Came, He Saw, He Conquered–Petra: If you are a fan of Christian Rock at all, then you owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Petra. They are the pioneers of the field. This is nowhere near their best tune but it is the one that taught a relatively uptight 19 year old that Christians can rock to lyrics that extol God.

7. Secret Ambition–Michael W. Smith: I went through an intense, and necessary, period of questioning my faith between the ages of 19-21. When I emerged on the other side relatively unscathed this song was waiting for me. I’ll never forget a somewhat bizarre journey to Nashville with two good friends to catch a glimpse of Amy Grant. This song was listened to repeatedly on that trip. I still wasn’t sure why Jesus would die for me but I was sure glad he did.

6. The Robe–Wes King: When you leave behind a world of legalism, songs that capture the awesome grace of God become earth-movers. This song’s stirring lyrics continually remind me that it doesn’t matter what I look like, or where I’ve been. To Him, I am always loved.

5. Wedding Dress–Derek Webb: Webb is a gadfly and contemporary prophet in the world of Christian music. This song was too much for many Christian retailers. But we have played the whore too often. This tune, on his debut solo disk, was a sure sign that his music would shake the Christian community. And it’s still his strongest song.

4. Untouched by Human Hands–Wayne Watson: 18 years after first hearing this song, I still wrestle with the implications of it. Watson challenges us to dirty ourselves through our willingness to be “touched” by the least of these. This song, and much of Watson’s early work, serves as an appropriate forerunner to more socially conscious Christian artists today, such as Derek Webb.

3. Hold Me, Jesus–Rich Mullins: No Christian artist has had a greater impact on me than Mullins. He lived outside of the commerce of Christian music and made art that was unflinching and uncompromising in its honesty. No song captures that as vividly as this song of doubt, uncertainty and, ultimately, surrender.

2. Hands in the Air–The Waiting: Another timeless song of surrender, this tune acknowledges our propensity to fight against God, to resist what He calls us to do and be. How hard it really is to say “Have thine own way.” I mourn the passing of this band, whose self-titled album is one of the greatest in Christian music history.

1. Worlds Apart–Jars of Clay: I have a strong affinity for songs of weakness and struggle. We have this false notion that ministers are further along on the road to having it all together. I’m not. I am frail and fallen. I struggle with the chasm between what I live and proclaim. I’m a hypocrite proclaiming the mercy of God. I tremble at the notion that God can use even this jar of clay to do His good work. No song captures that struggle like this one.


michael lewis said...

Wow! What a sad list!

No Larry? No Keith?

Where are the artists who have stretched the line?

I could find all of those songs on one mix tape in my aunt's collection. And that says more to how limited and contrived it is than my whining about it.

Scott said...

I'll second that. A very sad list indeed.

Some things aren't worth the paper they're printed on. It's safe to say that list isn't worth the bandwidth.

No Keith, No Larry...

What about D&K, The Choir, Crumbacher, DC talk, The Altar Boys, David Meece, and Mylon? C'mon and crack the sky for me!!!

And of all the MWS songs to select - Secret Ambition? What about Whiteheart - we need to know that its God that makes the convertables.

Then there's SC squared. Wouldn't A Great Adventure deserve some merit?

And worlds apart as a Jars song - c'mon they have better stuff than that.

Maybe I just need to start my own blog, make my own list and set the world straight.

Then again maybe I should just go to bed...

(Right after I listen to When You're a rebel)

pastor mike said...

Rebel Scott's selections go a little beyond what is normally considered CCM.

The fact that there is no Larry & no Keith is indeed cause to start a real list of top songs. So what limits do we place on songs we will include?

Scott Freeman said...

Larry and Keith were pretty much before my time. Although I'm 38 I grew up in a very conservative environment that viewed any use of instrumental music with Christian lyrics as a sin.
Really these songs are ones that had the greatest impact on me. I could state that they are MY greatest songs of all time.
But I did not expect the vitriol based upon a list of my favorite songs. THAT is what is sad.