Although I no longer claim Christianity in any way, I grew up listening to Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) and still have a fondness for some of those artists I listened to in the 90s and early 2000s. To be honest, I was never a fan of deeply theological songs—they are inherently tired in their metaphors and imagery—but I often gravitated to artists' more theologically neutral tracks. A few of them remain on my cell phone to appear in my shuffle. Unfortunately, their isolated industry leads to a limited audience. These songs deserve a little more recognition.
Here are a few tracks I remember with particular affection.
THE SEVENTY SEVENS: "INDIAN WINTER"
Although they certainly have better songs, this one's possibly the most enduring of the Aaron Smith on drums era for the band. Although tom tom Blues, as an album, is better than Drowning with Land in Sight, this track on its own is packed with 6/8 goodness.
THE CHOIR: "WHAT YOU THINK I AM"
One of their more recent songs, this track features some of Derri Daughtery's best effect-laden guitarwork. It sounds amazing on headphones.
STARFLYER 59: "I WIN"
Lyrically, this catchy track is irresistably hilarious—a perfect snapshot of confusion and adulting despair, long before "adulting" became a word in our cyberspeak.
THE LOST DOGS: "DANCING ON THE DEVIL'S ELBOW"
Although The Lost Dogs have had dozens of amazing songs, and this one isn't their best, I think it's their most representative post-Gene Eugene song. I love singing along, and so do my daughters.
LARRY NORMAN: "THE SAME OLD STORY"
I've already written about how I grew disenchanted with Larry Norman, but So Long Ago the Garden still holds up after all these years. Again, this isn't his best song, but I've enjoyed singing along to it recently. I have a cassette with a better mix of the song on it.
RANDY STONEHILL: "THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY"
Like Larry Norman, I loved Randy Stonehill for a bit, but then realized that I only liked a couple of his incarnations. His 70s music is pretty good, and "Through the Glass Darkly" is his best-written song from the era. I loved Wonderama as well, but most of his other music hasn't stuck to my bones.
DANIEL AMOS: ""MY FRONTIER"
Motor Cycle was the first Daniel Amos album I ever owned, and it remains my favorite. It's by far their most lushly-produced record and has a gorgeous unity in its diversity. "My Frontier" is a delicately-written ditty with a gorgeous overall sense of tone.
MICHAEL ROE: "ACHE BEAUTIFUL"
I feel a little cheap putting such a crowd-pleaser on this list, but "Ache Beautiful" is a genuinely perfect track, even in its synthesized studio version. He's re-recorded it many times, but this version, despite its dated production values, remains strongest.
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