The One21 Essential 100 Pt.1

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.

Staple Singers- Freedom Highway
Freedom Highway
The Staple Singers

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Before The Staple Singers became an icon of gospel/folk/civil rights music they released a classic live gospel album. Freedom Highway was a 1965 marker in the merge of popular music styles with gospel music. Here Pops Staples’understated sound is complemented perfectly by the others’ melancholy harmonies and Mavis Staples‘ growlingly soulful lead vocals. Tracks like “This Train Is Bound For Glory”, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and “What You Gonna Do” are superlative?” Also deserving a mention is their semi-acappella rendition of the “Lord’s Prayer” which will truly make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. Freedom Highway is a great selection from one of gospel’s greatest and most original groups and an absolute must for anyone interested in gospel or blues music.
Highlights: Lord’s Prayer, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, This Train

beloved failure on
Failure On

Buy this album: Amazon,iTunes
While most bands like to experiment in many different styles, it is rare to see a band that is able to not only FULLY embrace both sides of it’s musical coin, but blend them in a way that makes sense. After making a name for themselves as a “indie hardcore” band , the North Carolina quintet, Beloved, unleashed Failure On in 2003, surpassing all expectations of being able to combine melodic indie rock with brutal hardcore. The dynamic allowed the band explore many different avenues, not on musically, but lyrically as the softer more rock driven vocals of Josh Moore served as a catalyst for the aggression driven emotions of drummer Joe Musten’s grit filled screams. Failure On proved that two very different shades of sounds could play together, and when used as they were in Failure On, be a powerful double-bladed sword.
Highlights: Death To Traitors, Defect from Decay, Aimless Endeavor

andy hunter exodus
Andy Hunter

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The wall of rhythm and sound that marks Andy Hunter’s debut, Exodus, didn’t come about overnight. Andy’s ability to weave together elements of Progressive House, Trance, Drum and Bass, and Electronica genres is the result of several years of experimentation and refinement in dance clubs and churches across Europe. But it wasn’t only his craft that was progressively honed during those years; it was also Andy Hunter’s vision for worship and his skills as a worship leader. The songs on Exodus are praise and worship songs with a beat. “Go,” inspired mainly by Exodus 12:31, reminds us of this revealed truth, which the postmodern mind fails to recognize — that true freedom cannot exist apart from God. “The Wonders of You” is inspired by Exodus 15:11 “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” The lyrics of “Radiate” are simple, and I think the music is able to translate their earnestness. I want you/To radiate/Your perfection/Permeate/Burn in me/Eradicate/So burn, burn. Based on Romans 8:26, “Angelic” is part trance, part prayer. The vocals are without lyrics (“groanings which cannot be uttered”). Speaking-in-tongues set to a cool “chill out” beat.
Highlights: Go, Angelic, Radiate

anathallo canopy glow
Canopy Glow

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The indie collective known as Anathallo had spent a good part of the mid to late 2000s becoming one of the most adored band’s in their scene; but it was 2008’s Canopy Glow that saw the band finally solidify and focus their chaotic sound and record an album that was as much interesting as it was creative. Canopy Glow runs the gamete of Anathallo’s musical abilities, allowing at time for both their uncontrolled jam clattering while honing their melodic and lyrical prowess. Every song is a journey, every instrument a different character in Canopy Glow’s whimsical play. In the end, Canopy Glow’s unconventional song structures and fleshed out layering make it a classic for any who like to hear something new every time they listen.
Highlights: John J. Audubon, Italo, The River

Third Day - Conspiracy 5
Conspiracy No. 5
Third Day

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Conspiracy No. 5 is Third Day’s second studio album and fifth album overall. Conspiracy No. 5 is considered by most to be the band’s most aggressive album to date. It is a departure from their original rootsy Southern rock style to a heavier, Southern grunge style. Whereas many people compare their first album to the music of Hootie & The Blowfish, this second release is often compared to Pearl Jam. This is a soaring, rollicking rock album that marks the highpoint of Third Day as a rock band.
Highlights: I Deserve?, My Hope Is You, Alien