Cari Jean resides in North Dakota where she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Faith's Mom's Blog.
I love Christian music! I love the worship aspect because it is uplifting. I love the words because they are encouraging. I love it because I don't have to worry about hearing something that might be offensive or vulgar. There is no swearing, violence, name-calling, etc. that is so common with music today. Besides all of these reasons, some Christian music is just plain cool. Following is a list of what I think are some of the coolest Christian songs to date.
Jesus is Just Alright
While most people think of "Jesus is Just Alright" as a classic rock song, it was actually written as a gospel song. It was first recorded in 1966 by a gospel group called The Art Reynolds Singers. The song was covered by The Byrds before the Doobie Brothers recorded it in 1972. The Doobie Brothers version became a hit in the United States.
In 1992, DC Talk brought the song back to its gospel roots but with added verses written by TobyMac. The Christian band wanted the song to reflect their feelings that Jesus was "alright" with them even if others did not have the same beliefs about Jesus that they did. The song was recorded for their album, Free at Last and can also be found on Intermission: The Greatest Hits.
It won a Dove Award in 1994 for Best Rock Recorded Song. DC Talk also performed it on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, making the band the first contemporary Christian band to perform live on late-night television.
I Am Free
The Newsboys are a band originally from Australia. In 2009, the band went through a major change when one of its original members, Peter Furlor stepped out of the spotlight to be a songwriter and producer. Michael Tait from DC Talk became their new lead singer.
Before all this happened, The Newsboys had produced 13 studio albums, one of which was Go and contained the very cool song, I Am Free. Even cooler is their live version of the song which is found on their live album, Houston We Are GO.
What makes the live version of this song so great is Peter Furler's passion as he declares, "who the Son set free is free indeed" then asks the crowd, "Do you believe that?" Then he goes into a little sermon preaching about what Jesus looked like as He hung on the cross and goes into several passages from Isaiah 53. Then he goes into preaching mode again declaring freedom in several areas including: your heart, your marriage, your mind, your emotions and every area of your life.
This is seriously one song that really gets a person pumped up and on fire for the Lord!
This is Who I Am
Of course I need to include a song by Third Day as they are my favorite Christian band. They too have a lot of very cool songs. The song, This is Who I Am was released on their album, Revelation in 2008 which was produced by Howard Benson.
Benson found out about Third Day from famed American Idol contestant, Chris Daughtry. Even though the band and the producer had different religious beliefs, (Benson is Jewish) Third Day believed it to be their best album ever produced.
Revelation is considered to be their first southern rock album. The song, This is Who I Am was featured as a selection on Playstation's NASCAR. Even though the song wasn't actually released as a single, it is still one of my favorites on the album.
I Will Not Be Moved
Natalie Grant is one woman who really knows how to rock! She is definitely one of my favorite female Christian artists. Her music is so versatile and powerful and she has such an amazing voice.
Besides all of that, she is a terrific songwriter and wrote one of the coolest Christian songs ever, "I Will Not be Moved." The song appears on her album, Relentless and was nominated for a Dove Award for Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year.
Most agree that I Will Not Be Moved is one of Natalie's most rockin' songs yet and some even compare her performance to that of Kelly Clarkson.
Natalie Grant says, "God is relentless because his love for us is limitless, unconditional and undying. And as God has always relentlessly pursued me, I will be relentless in my pursuit of Him."
Kirk Franklin says the song Stomp is "A real praise party." The song was released on the album, God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation in 1997. I discovered this album, along with many other great gospel albums when I lived in Raleigh/Durham North Carolina from the years 2000 to 2002.
Stomp features Cheryl "Salt" James of Salt-N-Pepa.When the song first debuted on the radio and MTV, many people criticized Kirk Franklin for being too "worldly." But as the late Christian music artist Larry Norman once said, "why should the devil get all the good music?"
What critics failed to recognize is that Franklin wanted music that appealed to a younger audience. The album, God's Property became wildly successful, exceeding record sales of over 3 million, a feat far surpassing the sales of other gospel albums at the time.
Some who criticized the album in its early days eventually called it revolutionary.
Washed by the Water
I saw the band NEEDTOBREATHE when they opened for Third Day here in Bismarck, North Dakota. I had barely heard of NEEDTOBREATHE at the time, but I was blown away by their live performance of their song, Washed By the Water. They are considered a Christian rock band but some of their music has a bit of a blues sound as well.
"Washed by the Water" is a piano-based rock ballad that was released on their album, The Heat. In 2009, the song won the Dove award for Rock/Contemporary Song of the Year.
The song, written by brothers Bear and Bo Rinehart, is about their dad who is a pastor. Apparently there were some things said about him in his church that turned out to be untrue. The brothers were impressed how their father handled the situation with integrity.
The song has been called a "bluesy" and an "awesome tune" that packs an "emotional punch."
I Need You
I'm not a huge Jars of Clay fan but I do think this song is really cool. "I Need You" was released in 2002 on their fourth album, The Eleventh Hour. The album won both a Grammy and a Dove Award.
There is a live version of the song on their album, Furthermore: From the Studio From the Stage. The song is also part of the 2003 WOW Hits compilation.
In the lyrics to the song, there is no mention of God or Jesus which is why the song is also liked by those who only listen to secular music. The words, "I need you" and "you're all I'm living for" could easily be construed as needing someone else like a significant other or spouse in one's life.
There are many songs that don't necessarily have an overtly Christian message. Songs like this opens the doors for Christian music to be heard on non-Christian music stations and other venues. While many Christian artists can be heard on secular radio or seen on late-night television, it doesn't mean they have strayed from their Christian faith and the purpose God has for them.
Lose My Soul
tobyMac is a little too hip-hop and rap for me but I do think he is one of the biggest influences in modern Christian music. An original member of DC Talk, he is considered to be one of the first Christian rappers. After the band broke up in 2000, he became a very successful solo artist.
In combination with the band and his solo gigs, tobyMac has sold over 10 million albums. His song, "Lose My Soul" is one of six songs that reached number one on Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR). The song was released on the album, Portable Sounds which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album and won the Dove Award for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year.
The song is cool because it could have been written for anyone who wants to find success in whatever they do but not at the expense of losing their soul. Another reason the song "Lose My Soul" is so cool is because it features Christian music artists Kirk Franklin and Mandisa.
Besides being successful in his music career, tobyMac is married to Amanda McKeehan who is from Jamaica. Together they have five children.
Never Let Go
This song is not as rockin' or upbeat as the other cool songs on this list but I just had to include it as it is one of my all-time favorites.
The lyrics and music are so moving, the song brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. The reason I think it's cool is because it's a perfect blend of truth, emotion, music and David Crowder's voice captures it all.
The song "Never Let Go" appears on the album, Remedy. The album received rave reviews by music critics. Russ Breimeier from Christianity Today said, "when the music is this good, worship comes naturally." The album won two Dove Awards.
The Altar and The Door
Some songs you love the first time you ever hear them. That's how it was with me as I listened to Casting Crown's song, The Altar and the Door.
It has a catchy beat with lyrics that many people can relate to. It's so easy to make good decisions and right choices when you're at the altar, spilling out your heart to God and worshipping Him. As soon as you walk out the church door, however, it's so easy to led astray.
Casting Crowns is undoubtedly one of the most successful artists in modern Christian music. The band formed in 1999 and has been led ever since by songwriter, singer and youth pastor, Mark Hall.
The song "The Altar and the Door" is from the album of the same name and is their third studio album. The whole album encompasses the idea about how decisions are made in the church and how those decisions are affected by the outside world, causing Christians to compromise and fall to peer pressure.
The Altar and the Door is the 18th best-selling Christian music album of the 2000s. It won a Dove Award for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year. Jennifer E. Jones of cbnmusic.com said, "The Altar and The Door leaves plenty of room for the sinners and the saints to come closer to Jesus".
The song "The Altar and the Door" was never released as a single but still, in my humble opinion, it is just as good of a song as the released singles on the album which include: Slow Fade, Every Man and East to West.
Elijah Reeves on December 23, 2019:
These are some good songs. I love listening to them know, remembering the throwbacks.
Bill Mobley on August 13, 2019:
I’m surprised Debbie Boone’s “Choose Life” was not included.
Sofeia on April 11, 2019:
I think it needed some For King & Country!
Diane on March 24, 2019:
Love third day anything . I can say i enjoy most of the music they play today. Especially the ones with the heartfelt words. Sets me straight to prayer.
Justin Offutt on January 24, 2019:
I appreciate DC Talk put in, but Jesus Freak is number one!
Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on September 16, 2018:
Spirit in the Sky is a good one - I should have included it. I don't think I've heard the Martin Page song - may have to check it out - thanks for the suggestion.
Tony Turner on September 14, 2018:
Thanks for the perspective. I know a couple of these tunes & have heard of a couple others. I don't see "Spirit in the Sky", which I just love, even though I don't self-identify as a Christian (I'm just a 'person', with a good moral compass, IMHO). There's also a song: "In the House of Stone & Light" (Martin Page), that I really like & I feel it's got a Christian flavour. YMMV.
Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on March 11, 2015:
Andy, I can't not jam out to Stomp when I hear it! I will certainly check out your blog! Thanks for your comment.
Lybrah on October 19, 2012:
I was recently introduced to Christian Hip Hop--you should check that out (I wrote a hub about it).
Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on May 28, 2012:
Raitu Disong - thanks so much for your comment! Christian music totally rocks!
Raitu Disong on May 26, 2012:
Hey you have a good taste for music!.
I love christian music.
Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on November 30, 2011:
Clayton - thanks so much for your comment.
Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on November 30, 2011:
Britt Nicole, fan! Thanks for your comment. Check out my current hub on christian female artists and watch for my upcoming hub on current female christian artists.
Clayton R. on November 29, 2011:
I like the song "you" too!
Britt Nicole, fan! on November 29, 2011:
I love Britt Nicole. I think you should have "You" on your top 11! :0)
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on February 10, 2011:
Yeah, it's good to see since Christian Hip Hop wasn't always appreciated when they began as DC TALK. That they've been able to keep going strong in Rap, Pop, soundtracks,etc. I don't know if you're on Facebook, but there is a page I found on there with great posts, videos and songs from throughout the history of Christian Hip Hop. Pretty awesome.
Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 09, 2011:
trusouldj - thanks for your comment! Yeah, Toby Mac has had great success on his own and who would have thought that Michael Tait would be the lead singer of the Newsboys??
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on February 09, 2011:
Pretty cool list. "Jesus Is Still Alright" is one of my favs too. Amazing how far Toby Mac has come.