Music notes – The year in review
by Kevin Pollard
Danny Gokey: Haven’t Seen It Yet
American Idol alumni Danny Gokey on this, his fourth album, once again offers lyrics of hope set to a pop/R&B soundtrack all with his signature soulful vocal delivery that help make this my favourite album of the year. Standout tracks include the chart topping title track, the danceable “New Day,” the inspiring “Fighter,” and the powerful ballad “Wanted”.
Hillsong United: People (Live),
Following the bestselling studio album Wonder, Hillsong UNITED returns with a stunning live worship event that was just honoured with 2019 Worship Album of the Year at the Dove Awards. People features all new music from the band’s exceptional current lineup, including the potent lead singles “Good Grace,” “As You Find Me,” “Another In The Fire,” and “Whole Heart (Hold Me Now)”.
TobyMac: The St. Nemele Collab Sessions,
Toby has regularly followed up his studio albums with remix albums through the years, but this time around he got to do something he has been wanting to try ever since dcTalk disbanded. For his fifth remix album, called The St. Nemele Collab Sessions, he has brought in producers and guest vocalists to offer a fresh take on ten of the songs from his 2018 album and has included one all-new song, “Heart Of My Beat.” The quality of production and the remixes here give fresh life into these songs but it’s the guest vocal collaborations that make this album one of the best of the year.
Kirk Franklin: LONG LIVE LOVE,
Fourteen-time, GRAMMY Award winning artist, songwriter and producer, Kirk Franklin released his thirteenth studio album LONG LIVE LOVE, his first since 2015’s Losing My Religion. Showcasing Franklin’s signature sound, the album’s lead single “Love Theory” held the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart for 17 weeks straight, was also a crossover hit and received a Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year.
Citizen Way: Love Is A Lion,
Fair Trade, 2019
This third album from the trio is by far their strongest from the rousing “The Lord’s Prayer”, the anthem of “Love Has Won,” the piano-based ballad, “Be Still,” and the joyous Bart Millard-assisted gospel rave-up, “WaveWalker” make this an album not to miss.
SWITCH: Symphony EP,
Dream Records, 2019
One of my most played new artists of the year was Switch from Life.Church, thanks to their youthful pop sound and groove laden tracks like the title track, “Lifeline” and “Higher and Higher”. This 6-song EP makes a solid first impression, leaving me looking forward to what’s next for these newcomers.
Zach Williams: Rescue Story,
Breakout star, Zach Williams, follows his award-winning debut that featured “Chain Breaker” with a stirring Rescue Story, showcasing his southern rock, country and gospel-influenced anthems. This ten-song set includes his duet with Dolly Parton on “There Was Jesus”, “Walk With You,” “Heaven Help Me,” and the chart topping title song.
Local Sound: The Free World Vol.1 EP,
Another newcomer to watch is Integrity Music’s Local Sound. Their 5-song EP features standouts “Heaven”, “On My Side” and the chart topping “Nobody.”
Jammie Kimmett: Prize Worth Fighting For EP,
Singer-songwriter Jamie Kimmett offers truth-fueled songs on his debut EP. Growing up in a small town in Scotland, he found faith while pursuing a music career in Los Angeles. Highlights found here include “Since I Met You”, “Burdens” and his radio hit “Prize Worth Fighting For”.
Kanye West: Jesus Is King,
Def Jam, 2019
Only God knows his heart but after my daughter played me this album and I listened to Kanye speak about his faith on television interviews, it was clear to me that this a changed man that wants to proclaim that “Jesus Is King”. Only time will tell whether Kanye will sustain his current level of Christian conviction in the years to come but it’s undeniable that this album and his proclamation of faith is being heard by millions. It is because of that that this album must be included on my Top 10 Christian albums.