The One21 Essential 100 Pt. 4

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
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Check out Pt.3

Bodies Of Water-Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink
Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink
Bodies Of Water

2008
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Four way harmonies, horns, bizarre and often baffling lyrics, and hard, driving tempos. No, this is not Jackson 5 the early years, this is the indie “shaped note” band Bodies Of Water, and after a little grassroots viral marketing, their first real full length, Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink, introduced a new vocal style to the ever so hip indie rock scene. But that is just the first time you listen to the album, because past the initial reactions and a seeming gimmick of a vocal style, you discover an incredibly deep, intelligently crafted album that could contend with the likes of Arcade Fire and Bright Eyes. Steeped in heavy metaphor and written to celebrate a very old harmonic sound, Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink is sure to surprise you over and over and over and over….
Highlights: Our Friends Appear Like the Dawn, These Are the Eyes, We Will Be Apart

Apt.Core Rhythms Of Remembrance
Rhythms of Remembrance
Apt.core

2001
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
According to Will Hunt, the creator and producer of Apt.Core, “The confluence of rhythm and memory” refers to the idea that beats and melodies help us remember words and ideas. The result is a pulsating mix of electronica, ambient tones, world beat, singing, and the spoken word. Nine out of the ten tracks are simply the juxtaposition of rhythms and ambient sounds with Scripture. Rhythms of Remembrance is a changeup from a lot of worship stuff out there. Maybe it’s not really worship, and that’s ok. Its lyrics come straight out of scripture and it makes for a very energetic mix.
We love the blending of primal and technological sounds, overlaid with important texts of our Christian Faith. “Creed” sets the Apostles’ Creed to an afro-celt backbeat and Apt.core reworks U2’s “40″ into a trippy chill workout. You will experience the same feeling of “wow, this is like nothing else out there” when you listen to Rhythms Of Remembrance, even ten years later.
Hightlights: 40, Creed, Life Inverted

Fred Hammond-Pages Of Life Chapters 1 and  2
Pages Of Life: Chapters 1 & 2
Fred Hammond

1998
Highlight: Amazon, iTunes
“It’s time to kick some Devil butt. I’m sorry I did not come here to make you feel good, I came to lift up the name of the Lord!” And so Chapter 2 begins with Fred Hammond’s signature growl kicking some Devil butt. Pages Of Life is a double CD release with the first (Chapter 1) a collection of original studio urban worship songs. But it is Chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit flies in a joyful stomp fest that defines the entire urban worship genre.

The live songs of Chapter Two are funk throw downs that rival James Brown, Sly Stone and Prince. Fred Hammond’s thunderous roar drives a huge choir and a hot band. We defy you to listen to these songs without dancing and singing and worshipping and praying. Every song on Chapter Two is an extended jam of praise, testimony and prayer.
Highlights: No Weapon, We’re Blessed/Shout Unto God , Dwell

fire theft
Fire Theft
Fire Theft

2003
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Not merely a re-packaged Sunny Day Real Estate album, The Fire Theft is takes the SDRE legacy far beyond the early band’s reach and cooks a stew of Sunny Day Real Estate, The Who, Led Zeppelin and the psychedelic Beatles into a soaring journey of sound and poetry. Jeremy Enigk takes control of the band of three-quarters of Sunny Day Real Estate and explores his struggles with his growing faith and life as a rock icon.

Haunting, beautiful sounds capes lay the foundation for Enigk’s distinctive wrenching vocals. The opening track, “Uncle Mountain” rivals the virtuosity of The Who at their best. “Summertime” stuns you with its beauty. “Heaven”, well is just a show stopper with quiet piano that explodes into screaming pleading pleas of “heaven are you really waiting outside the door?”
Highlights: Heaven, Summertime, Uncle Mountain

Grant Green-Fellin’ The Spirit
Feelin’ The Spirit
Grant Green

1962
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The guitarist Grant Green, one of the most important soul-jazz bandleaders of the 1960s, never lost the zealousness or the sense of unshakable optimism that underpins spirituals and other religious music. During a prolific period of recording in 1962, Green convinced Blue Note to let him do this album of spirituals. The result is a collection of extended Jazz takes on six classic spiritual classics such as “Go Down Moses”, “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” and “Nobody Knows The Trouble I Have Seen”.

Grant Green’s extended guitar solos on these song are swirling, lyrical symphonic interpretations that add color and depth to these instrumentals. But what really makes the album swing is Grant Green‘s backup cast, which picks up energetically wherever Green leaves off. In particular, Green‘s pianist for the album, a young Herbie Hancock, stands out on nearly all the tracks, and at times nearly steals the show. Grant Green’s synergy with his band, and the obvious inspiration that all the players drew from the spirituals that make up the musical core of this record make Feelin’ The Spirit well worth owning and listening to repeatedly.
Highlights: Go Down Moses , Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Deep River

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