The One21 Essential 100 Pt.8

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
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7

Enter The Worship Circle- Second Circle
Second Circle
Enter The Worship Circle

2002
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
100 Portraits, joined by like-minded artists such as Will Hunt of Apt.core, return with more of their original and down to earth worship-oriented songs… this time with the same name, simply being distinguished by the sub-title Second Circle. Several of members of the Enter The Worship Circle collective have often traveled to third world countries to share their talents in the outreach efforts of indigenous churches. In recent visits to India, they were inspired by the native instruments and songs found among the village churches, and in fact documented some of the sounds they encountered, mixing select portions of those samples into the new recording.

Driving Indian rhythms intertwine with fresh, intimate, uninhibited expressions of love and worship to create this ground-breaking album, using instruments such as tablas, dumbeks, an amazing sitar, and who knows what else. With all original songwriting, even a few seemingly improv lyrical inspirations captured during the live studio recording, Second Circle allows you to join the musicians in their realization of how deep, wide, and amazing the love of God is. This collection of passionate songs reflects a desire for simplicity and spontaneity in worship, with its use of basic instruments and genuine expression. Hand percussion and acoustic guitars, simple arrangements, and a new world of looping-rhythm sections blend throughout every track creating a beautiful tapestry. Every once in a while something truly different comes forth from creative wombs by the grace of God, with power enough to change the way you think about music, worship, life… this is that something.
Highlights: I Cannot Hide My Love, Tiny, Praise Awaits You

Hundred Year Storm- Hello From the Children of Planet Earth
Hello From The Children Of Planet Earth
Hundred Year Storm

2006
Buy this album: itunes
Utilizing clips of greetings in over 50 languages used in NASA’s Golden Record, clips of John F. Kennedy talking about the space race, a Florence Nightingale quote dating all the way back to the 1890’s and sound clips from a space launch gone awry; Hundred Year Storm creates an inventive soundscape that takes space rock to a new level. Soaring melodic guitar symphonies, industrial sounds and soaring vocals build to a cathartic explosion of beauty, asking listeners to consider Who Else might be with us in this world.

“All This Time” and “Where Beauty Never Dies” are haunting songs of separation and longing. “Yesterday Had It All” is a pleading love song that would make Jeremy Enigk proud. But it is in the three pillars of the CD that Hundred Year Storm display their unique vision. The title track “00:01”, the centerpiece of the recording “Golden Record” and the closer “Pilot’s Last Broadcast” define the sound of Hello From Children Earth. Blending the samples noted above with haunting atmospheric instrumentals Hundred Year Storm create post rock guitar symphonies that will haunt you and cause you pause. When we asked guitarist and lead singer Bill McCharen how to best listen to Hundred Year Storm he said, “with headphones”. We agree.
Highlights: 00:01, All This Time, Yesterday We Had It All

The O.C. Supertones - Supertones Strike Back
Supertones Strike Back
The O.C. Supertones

1997
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
With the decline of grunge music in the US in the late 90s, the landscape was searching for its next big musical movement. It came in the form of ska, a hybrid combining elements of reggae, punk, pop, and big band music. In 1997, this movement introduced one of its best, and what would become one its most successful bands with the album Supertones Strike Back. The O.C. Supertones exploded into the scene like a lightning bolt….if lighting bolts had brass sections.

On its surface, Supertones Strike Back is simply just a really great ska album. It is lots of fun, every time you listen to it, skanking and pogoing will be a constant temptation. While the band exhibited many of the typical ska techniques, they were able to set themselves apart for a few reasons. The first major one was vocalist Mojo’s rap/sing/yell vocal style, from the first 30 seconds on Supertones Strike Back, Mojo attacks every song like it’s the last song he would ever sing, and you cant help but fall in love with his light-hearted yet deeply passionate lyrics.

More importantly, Supertones Strike Back was a ministry album above all. In most cases, when Christian bands would try to insert blatant gospel lyrics into new genres, the result was in most cases slightly awkward, and …..I dare say lame. Ska was a different kind of music though, at it’s core it was supposed to be happy. You were SUPPOSED to be upbeat and sing loud! Supertones Strike Back may be the purest 90s ska album ever created then, because there is no greater joy than that found in Christ, and The O.C. Supertones were hear to tell you at the top of their lungs….and their horns.
Highlights: Unite, Resolution, Supertones Strike Back

Iris Dement-The Way I Should
The Way I Should
Iris DeMent

1996
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The Way I Should, Iris DeMent’s third album is a legendary break away from her previous lyrical style. Her first two albums were introspective and personal; The Way I Should is highly political, attacking hypocrisy and class warfare in the United States. Iris DeMent‘s twangy Arkansas soprano and detail-filled lyrics are sharply original. Listen to “Wasteland of the Free” as DeMent rages about the hypocrisy of preachers who don’t behave in a manner befitting their status, politicians dependent on corporate finance, wealthy businessmen opposed to minimum wages, children with guns, children with poor reading ability and going to war over oil. That’s quite a lot to pack into one song.

Iris DeMent’s has the voice of mountain honey – sweet, strong, earthy and pure. She can play down home on the porch with just a guitar or rock it with a full band. Her lyrics are prolific and reflective the range of songs on this landmark recording spans folk, country and rock, with themes of romance, child abuse, politics and personal vision. Each song is wrapped in the complex, heart-felt, stunning lyrics and voice that underlines Iris DeMent‘s uniquely compelling music career.
Highlight: There’s A Wall In Washington, Wasteland Of The Free, Keep Me God

Zao-Liberate Te Ex Inferis
Liberate Te Ex Inferis (Save Yourself From Hell)
Zao

1999
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
For anybody who wasn’t there, I need to clue you in on something: without Zao we wouldn’t have good Christ-centered metal. They simple changed the game, and they are still one of the MOST ripped off bands in modern extreme music today. While the band’s previous effort, Where Blood And Fire Meets Rest, introduced us to the Zao sound, it was Liberate Te Ex Inferis that permanently embed the band in the minds of metal fans of all ages.

It is hard now to explain how important this album was, because after this, like I said before, this is all anybody wanted to sound like. The album was very dark, first and foremost; most band’s in the “Christian metal” scene at that time were essentially making worship songs that just happened to be played as metal. Zao took a different approach; they wrote songs that reflected the human struggle with salvation and divinity. Because of this, the songs rarely shine, but continue to plunge deeper and deeper into chaos. The other was just the SOUND of the album. It had a grimy, distorted feel that only added to the semi operatic writing style of the band. Liberate Te Ex Inferis ends up sounding like a struggle with the Devil, played over an old radio. A warning for the masses.

There is an ongoing debate as to which of the Zao-Trinty (the three albums that made Zao a house hold name for most: Where Blood Fire Meets Rest, Liberate Te Ex Inferis, and Self-Titled) is the “best” Zao album. We chose this one because it lands somewhere in between the vicious nature of Fire, and the creative songwriting of Self-Titled. It is still the best of the genre that they helped create, and man it still hits just as hard over 10 years later.
Highlights: Savannah , If These Scars Could Speak , Desire The End

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