Monday, December 30, 2013

Best Music of 2013

I have spent a lot of time this year thinking about and studying the Gallup Organization's StrengthFinder. For those of you who aren't familiar, Donald Clifton developed what we know as 34 themes of talent based on research about humanity's universal strengths and talents. This year I received coaching, then training, and then began coaching others.

My number one theme of talent is called Input, which essentially means that I collect things or information, hoping they will eventually be useful to others. I think it is because of that strength that I so enjoy sharing my favorite music from the year.

So without further ado, here are my favorite albums of 2013.


1. Zion by Hillsong United
The song "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" is easily my favorite worship song this year, and though I haven't spent much time in the US this year, it seems to have gained a lot of popularity in general, maybe for the lyric, "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me."

2. The Lone Bellow by The Lone Bellow
My most played album of 2013. This band really broke out this year, and with good reason.

3. I Was Worng, I'm Sorry, and I Love You by Derek Webb
Derek Webb apologizes. This album is what he would say to the Church.

4. Burning Lights by Chris Tomlin
Chris Tomlin is Earth's Most-Sung Music Artist. And this album is certainly singalong-worthy. 

5. The Civil Wars by The Civil Wars
Though not as strong as their first album, and released after the announcement of the duo's breakup, they still deliver a fantastic album. And if you listen closely, you might discover why they ended it. 
6. Volume Three by She & Him
Everybody likes Zooey Deschanel. And M. Ward is pretty great too.

7. Home by Kim Walker-Smith and Skyler Smith
This husband-and-wife offering is a short album of beautiful worship music. "Unstoppable Love" should not be missed. 

8. Meet Me At The Edge of the World by Over The Rhine
Cincinnati's own released another fantastic folk album this year. Of course they did, since they practically invented the folk music that has gained so much popularity in recent years. 

9. Evening & Morning by The Digital Age
The David Crowder Band without David Crowder. And this music is so good, it seems like they don't even miss him.
10. I Am Mountain by Gungor
I am a huge Gungor fan, and though this album is excellent, it was so different from their previous album, Ghosts Upon The Earth, that at first I didn't care for it. Though I didn't enter into worship the way I have with their past albums, what they did create is art, and definitely worth taking notice of. 

Honorable Mentions:

Night Visions by Imagine Dragons

Fiction Family Reunion by Fiction Family

For Freedom: A Covers EP by Jenny & Tyler
--Proceeds from the sales of this album go to fight human trafficking, so I can't recommend it enough.

Skin and Bones by Kel
--I heard Kel opening for Tenth Avenue North in a high school parking lot, which turned out to be her alma mater. Though she is young, this is an excellent album that I can just keep going back to. 

If You Leave by Daughter

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