2010: Top Albums

The number ten is so last year. Below are my 9 favorite albums 0f the year 2010.

I got this one for free at a conference. Of the ten songs, there are five that I never listen to. The other five are excellent and some of my favorite worship songs.
Imagine if Bruce Springsteen, Wilco and Johnny Cash all raised a kid and made him go to church. This album would be the outcome. DNA tests on McMillan are inconclusive.
Very diverse mix tape highlighting the talents of popular as well as lesser known gospel rappers. A sample from Dr. Eric Mason sets the tone of the record from the very first track. “You don’t just do missions. You are a missionary.”
Trip Lee gets better with every album. This one seems to have the most commercial appeal and, as is the case with all Reach Records artists, presents the gospel in a very clear and uncompromising manner. If you hate rap, you’ll hate this album because well, it’s a rap album.
This one is fairly typical for a Jack Johnson record but typical for Jack Johnson is still very good.
Andrew Peterson is such a good songwriter that I can’t imagine him releasing an album that I don’t like. Unless of course he goes techno and stops writing words for his songs. Don’t laugh, others have tried it before.
Mayer said that Continuum was like a record by The Police and this one was like a Neal Young record. That pretty much sums it up. Rough around the edges, not as good as the last one and not for everyone but still a good record. My wife and I saw him in concert during his tour for this album. I’m pretty sure he waved at me from the stage.
These guys have been around for a while but I just came across them this year. They come from North Carolina and their style is quite unique. They sound like The Old Crow Medicine Show would like to sound. Their style is best described as mountain music for a new generation with a touch of punk rock swagger thrown in. Add Rick Rubin at the production helm and you have a masterpiece.
The songs on this album are very well written. I’m not sure where these guys land theologically but most of their songs get you thinking vertically. One example listed below is the song Ill of Want that shows the void that is left from all the world has to offer. Jesus’ words to the woman at the well about drinking and never thirsting again come to mind.
I am sick with wanting
And it’s evil and it’s daunting
How I let everything I cherish lay to waste
I am lost in greed this time, it’s definately me
I point fingers but there’s no one there to blame

I need for something
Not let me break it down again
I need for something
But not more medicine

I am sick with wanting
And it’s evil how it’s got me
And everyday is worse than the one before
The more I have the more I think:
I’m almost where I need to be
If only I could get a little more

I need for something
Now let me break it down again
I need for something
But not more medicine

Something has me (Something has me)
Oh something has me (Something has me)
Acting like someone I don’t wanna be
Something has me (Something has me)
Oh something has me (Something has me)
Acting like someone I know isn’t me
Ill with want and poisoned by this ugly greed

Temporary is my time
Ain’t nothin on this world that’s mine
Except the will I found to carry on
Free is not your right to choose
It’s answering what’s asked of you
To give the love you find until it’s gone

I need for something
Now let me break it down again
I need for something
But not more medicine

Something has me (Something has me)
Oh something has me (Something has me)
Acting like someone I don’t wanna be
Something has me (Something has me)
Oh something has me (Something has me)
Acting like someone I know isn’t me
Ill with want and poisoned by this ugly greed
Ill with want and poisoned by this ugly greed

Lecrae doesn’t have the convenience that most other rappers have. An artist like Soulja Boy doesn’t have to put together a great album. All that’s needed is one catchy dance song in the midst of a sea of garbage and sales are through the roof. There’s not a song on Rehab that will spark the next dance craze. However, this is a great album.
Rappers like Lecrae are traveling down a very narrow road with endless cliffs on both sides. A misstep to one side and everything just comes across as a moralistic anti-gang and drug crusade. On the other side there is the threat of compromising the message in an effort to gain more commercial appeal. See the duo GRITS for an example of both mistakes.
Lecrae manages his steps wisely by standing firm on gospel truth while at the same time growing in creativity with each new project. Rehab is a continuation of that growth. So no mega dance hit. Just a well-crafted hip-hop album that just so happens to carry a strong gospel message with it.