Best of '09

At this time of year it is customary for newspapers and TV shows to review the best things of the year – events that happened, CD releases, TV shows, books and the like.  And I figured why not join in with some All4God “Best of ‘09” awards. The following are based purely on my thoughts and experiences over the past year, and as such feel free to discuss your own favourites in the comments section. Just don’t expect me to make any changes based on such discussion! And if any of the winners happen to be reading, I would like to point out that they carry no monetary prize, but feel free to brag about them on the cover of your next book/CD/DVD/etc!
CD of the year – Hello hurricane by Switchfoot – hasn’t been a vintage year for Christian music, not a lot of competition in this category, but the long awaited new album from Switchfoot didn’t disappoint. More stripped back sound-wise than some of their older stuff, but still great to listen to.
Song of the year – Falling into you by The Glorious Unseen – it’s a really class worship song about God’s forgiveness, well worth listening to when you feel like you have slipped up too many times
Book of the year – Your Own Jesus by Mark Hall – a great book that expands some of the thoughts behind great Casting Crowns songs, and makes some great points about developing your own personal faith rather than depending on the faith of others around you.
Podcast of the year – Mars Hill Bible Church – this is a weekly podcast of the sermon from Rob Bell’s church. Always very biblical and insightful, and fully relevant for the 21st century with lots of focus on the application of God’s word. And when he is preaching Rob doesn’t sound anywhere near as annoying as he does in that slow, dramatic pause filled style he uses for the Nooma videos. And the podcast is free unlike Nooma too.
Website of the year (that wasn’t All4God) – Stuff White Christians Like – this is a parody of the Stuff white men like site, and also a satire on the many clichés of white, middle class Christianity. It is often very funny, and easy to identify with, if sometimes a little American. A great read each Sunday when they post up a new thing white Christians like.
New band of the year ­– More than Conquerors – you may not have heard of them unless you happen to be from Northern Ireland, but they took the Summer Madness unsigned contest by storm, winning it and subsequently getting a few big supporting gigs with local bands. They are a high energy rock band, with some great tunes. They’ve been in the studio too, so expect an album toward the start of 2010.
Live performers of the year – 29th Chapter – anyone who has seen a live show by them will know how much energy and passion they put in, and how with their supporting dancers and talk bits between songs you get more than just a good gig but a spiritually challenging experience. And they have some great anthems for the crowd to sing along with too. I finally got to see them live at Summer madness this year.
Band to watch in 2010 – Owl City – a band from America who have slowly been getting big out there, about to hit Europe with a tour in February, and then launching their album Ocean Eyes in March. They produce “happy music for happy people”, their music is really uplifting, is probably best categorised as synthpop and really needs to be listened to to be understood. They are starting to break onto UK airwaves with their track Fireflies, and have been long-listed for the upcoming BBC Sound of 2010. They are one of those bands that the members are Christian, but don’t do “Christian” music, preferring not to attach labels like that but rather let the lyrics do the talking. Expect to hear a lot of them in the mainstream as the year goes on.

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