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JFH Staff Blog | August 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

'90s Christian Music Kids Unite!

‘90s Christian Music Kids Unite!

By: Josh Balogh 

I'm sure we're all biased to the era of music that we heard in our formative years, so I am well aware that many would disagree with my claim that the '90s was the best overall decade of Christian music. I think an argument could be made for the ten years between 1994-2004, but that's a discussion for another time. With this post, I wanted to highlight 50 artists in Christian music that I think was heard by everyone, the cream of the crop, or criminally underrated. I decided to break them up into three categories, which may or may not be helpful, but I thought it a fun way to reminisce and highlight some fantastic artistry. I recognize that some may still be trying to "recover" from their musical past, while others like me are not wanting to ever let it go, so with all that in mind here are my categories and picks for 1. The Essentials (the ones everyone was listening to…aka aka Youth Group Kids) 2. The Deeper Cuts (aka for CCM nerds) 3. The Deepest Cuts (aka The Chrindie Kids) Feel free to comment on which category of CCM fan you would have been in the '90s, or detail where you think I got it wrong. Just be nice about it! For the record, I fell squarely in the combo of Youth Group Kid/CCM Nerd at the time, though I have since learned to love many of the Chrindie's as well. Away we go!

The Essentials
(aka Youth Group Kids):

These were the artists that nearly everyone would have known, or at the very least heard. Think iconic songs like "Big House," "Jesus Freak," "Shine," "Flood," "Consuming Fire," "Basic Instructions," "Stomp," "Baby Baby" "Dive," "Awesome God," "Deeper," and "Testify To Love." Remember when ska and swing were a thing for a few years? It was 1997-2000 timeframe for me, where I joyously skanked to the sounds of the O.C. Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy, and proclaimed that "you are the devil, and the devil is bad" while listening to The W's. Chances are your youth group was listening to many or all of these artists. Which of these were youth group staples? What did I miss?

Audio Adrenaline
The Newsboys
Jars of Clay
Third Day
Five Iron Frenzy
Burlap to Cashmere
Smalltown Poets
Allstar United
Kirk Franklin
Michael W. Smith
Steven Curtis Chapman
Rich Mullins
Point of Grace
Amy Grant

The Deeper Cuts (aka CCM Nerds):

If you were listening to many of these artists you probably also had a subscription to CCM Magazine, joined Sound & Spirit Music Club (or a music club like it), and spent countless hours at your local Christian bookstore listening to album demos. In many cases, you may have been the persistent collector who persistently asked store workers to open a cd so I could listen to it to discover your next favorite artist. You could have heard many of these artists on Christian radio, but you had to be paying a little closer attention to have gotten the best of some of them. Songs like, "Look At Me," "All Fall Down," "Possessed By Love," "Two Sets Of Joneses," "Jumping In The House Of God," "Are You The Walrus?" "No One Knows My Heart," "Take My Hand," "New Way To Be Human," "Lovely Day," "Great Lengths," and "Stranded."

The Waiting
Jon Gibson
Big Tent Revival
World Wide Message Tribe
Susan Ashton
Out of The Grey
Eric Champion
The Kry
Out of Eden
Sixpence None The Richer

The Deepest Cuts
(aka Chrindie Kids):

Unfortunately for me, aside from Driver 8's criminally underappreciated song "Waiting For Godot," I was unfamiliar with all of these artists until long after the '90s ended. In my endless pursuit of the perfect 90's Christian music collection, I have spent countless hours reading about, listening to, and discussing many of these bands, with nearly all of them now being favorites. Some of these were one-album wonders (Driver 8, Noisy Little Sunbeams), or bands that had an appreciative, though smaller underground following (Black Eyed Sceva, Dimestore Prophets, Mark Heard, Go Fluffy, Go, Breakfast With Amy). Some were ahead of their time (The Prayer Chain, Mark Heard), some of them fell victim to creative differences, while others are still making music to this day (The Choir, 77's, Starflyer 59). Songs like "Crawl," "Sentimental Love Song," "Nail Holes," "Hitler's Girlfriend," "Banquet At The World's End," "Waiting For Godot," "Where Were All Of You," and "Blue Collar Love," are just some of the cream of the indie alternative/rock of the era that probably missed.

The Prayer Chain
The Choir
Black Eyed Sceva
Dimestore Prophets
Daniel Amos
Go, Fluffy Go
Breakfast with Amy
Noisy Little Sunbeams
Driver 8
Mark Heard
Adam Again
Starflyer 59
Poor Old Lu
Hoi Polloi

Okay, so that's my take…what do you think? Happy listening!





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