The One21 Essential 100 Pt.15

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
Check out Pt.8
Check out Pt. 9
Check out Pt.10
Check out Pt.11
Check out Pt.12
Check out Pt.13
Check out Pt.14


In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Neutral Milk Hotel

Buy This Album:Amazon, iTunes
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is a kaleidoscope of oddity, pain, young love, Anne Frank, flowers, flames, spines, and death. It’s an insane mix of distorted bass, horns, saws, theremins, and other strange sounding instruments and a guy who’s got one of the most honest voices you’ll ever hear. The pace alternates between mostly acoustic ballads and caffinated garage rockers. Rather than being any one of these things, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is all of them.

The true brilliance of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea lies not in the ability of Neutral Milk Hotel to create songs using such a wild variety of instruments, but in their ability to masterfully compose this elements into something that sounds so simple and beautiful.

Neutral Milk Hotel’s writer and singer, Jeff Mangum is joking lightly and deadly serious, celebratory and mournful, mad and sane, sober and wild. The songs of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea that can make you cry even though you couldn’t understand the lyrics if your life depended on it. This album encompasses it all, and just when it all seems like it’s going to fly apart, the tortured conviction of Jeff Mangum‘s voice and the utter catchiness of the music win out. It’s literally like nothing you have ever heard and indie music is still trying to catch-up 12 years later.
Songs: Holland 1945, King of The Carrot Flowers, Part 2 & 3, Two Headed Boy, Part 2

Madison Greene Live
Live (2003)
Madison Greene

Buy This Album:Amazon
Each of Madison Greene’s cds are revelations unto themselves, but Madison Greene can only be truly understood live. As a musical collective, Madison Greene pioneered a style of music they call “tribal,” blending African, Native American, Celtic, and Aboriginal sounds into “aggressive acoustic” songs that are passionate yet thoughtful. But the word tribal is more than just a “style.” To Madison Greene, it is a way of seeing their audience as more than just listeners or even fans, but rather as participants in a community. Madison Greene shows are not the place to sit back and chill, but are tribal gatherings where all are called to dance and sing along. Unfortunately, the band disbanded in 2004 so none of us will be able to experience a Madison Greene Tribal Gathering again. Their 2003 live recording must suffice.

Live is a beautiful testament to Madison Greene in all of their pounding, stomping, and mutli-intrumented glory. But more than the bone rattling power of Madison Greene this album highlights some of their best songs, features the beautiful vocals of Michael Blair and Erin Beck and their heartfelt lyrics like the opening lines form “Departure”. “I had plans here for myself ,went up the river, and they fell through, started talking to the spirit of God ,He knows what’s best for you ,so I put down all of my pride, took my suitcase off of the shelf, thank God I still have time.”
Songs: Bone #1, Balfon Intro/Crywater Prayer, Departure

American Recordings IV Johnny Cash
American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)
Johnny Cash

Buy This Album:Amazon, iTunes
It is difficult to imagine that Johnny Cash’s best work was his last.  Johnny Cash is an artist who had a devastating impact on five centuries of popular American music. He was one of the creators of rockabilly, forged a singular presence in the golden age of country music, formed a bridge between young protest music of the 60’s and the establishment music of Middle America and introduced Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young to national television audiences. And yet, at the end of his life he created the American Recordings series. A collection of four (there have been subsequent posthumous releases of the recording archives from those sessions) devastatingly simple, quiet, moving covers and originals.

At the age of 70, Johnny Cash recorded the triumphant conclusion of the series, American Recording IV: The Man Comes Around. Nearly every tune advances a quiet power and pathos, built around spare arrangements and unflinching honesty. The ailing giant of popular music reflects on his life, and looks ahead to what’s around the corner. In 15 songs, Johnny Cash moves through dark, haunted meditations on death and destruction, poignant farewells, testaments to everlasting love, and hopeful salutes to redemption. He sounds as if he means every word, his baritone-bass, frequently frayed and ravaged, taking on a weary beauty. This is one of the most gut wrenchingly beautiful records in the history of pop music.
Songs: All of them, The Man Comes Around, Hurt, In My Life

Nicole C Mullen Album
Nicole C. Mullen
Nicole C. Mullen

Buy This Album: Amazon, iTunes
This was our first real brush with singer, songwriter, choreographer Nicole C. Mullen. Since then we have seen Nicole C. Mullen rise to the top of the Christian music scene. This cd provides a hint at why she has become so popular. Her unique songwriting blends R&B, folk, gospel, and pop into a style she calls “funkabilly.”

Nicole C. Mullen creates funk grooves as deep as anything Macy Gray or Prince have put together. She writes soul burners as hot as anything coming from the piano of Alicia Keys. Nicole C. Mullen authors CCM classic as pervasively popular as anything from Michael W. Smith or Amy Grant. You really need to brace yourself to move from the driving jungle beats of “Freedom” and “Color” to the worship classics “Redeemer” and “On My Knees”.

Nicole C. Mullen is able to pull this off because her songs, whether celebrating the omniscient greatness of God or describing our struggling walk on earth, are deeply grounded in Biblical roots and prayer.
Songs: Redeemer, Blowin’ Kisses/Love Divine, Granny’s Angel

Sister Rosetta Tharpe Complete Recorded Works

Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order 1938-1947
Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Buy This Album:Amazon, iTunes
In an era that saw the birth of bebop and the glory days of jump blues, the first strains of rock n roll were floating off of the guitar of a female gospel artist from Arkansas.  Sister Rosetta Tharpe was one of the wildest figures of the 1940’s, confounding religious and secular artists with her straight forward gospel lyrics and ground breaking guitar riffs.  Tharpe was one of first to take her Christian message to nightclubs and dance halls. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a gospel trailblazer and one of the inventors and a rock n roller two decades before Elvis stormed the world.

This three cd series tracks the development of her sound and her message.  Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s swinging rhythm guitar and boogie woogie backing was groundbreaking in her day and is unparalleled even today.  If you love gospel music or want to listen to the formative development of rock music, you need all three of these cds.
Songs: Down By The Riverside, Up Above My Head, Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down

Speak Your Mind