I'm a music junky. Family and friends can vouch for the fact that I have music on in my house or office at all times. I'm surprised the under-cupboard CD player in the kitchen hasn't worn out yet. The following is my Top Ten List of the Best Music of 2008 (click on the song to hear the music or see the video):
10. Paul Cardall - Living For Eden: I've mentioned Paul's album earlier in the year. This two CD set is easily the best instrumental album I've heard this year. Song To Hear: "A Piece Of My Heart". I dare you to try and get this song out of your head after you hear it.
9. Chris Tomlin - Hello Love: I don't think this CD is as good as his previous albums See The Morning and Arriving but it's good. Fans of Chris definitely won't be disappointed. Song To Hear: "You Lifted Me Out". This one's a high-tempo rocker and one of his all-time best.
8. Remedy Drive - Daylight: Having met these guys and seen their show, I really respect a group like this who is willing to travel the country playing for anyone they can to create a name for themselves. Song To Hear: "Daylight". I was hooked the first time I heard this song.
7. Coldplay - Viva La Vida: Their newest isn't as good as their previous CD X&Y. Actually, there's no way it could be. X&Y is one of the best albums I've ever heard. It didn't leave my CD player for months. Viva La Vida is better than I expected though. Song To Hear: "Lovers In Japan". Don't let the crazy title throw you off. This song is awesome. I've listened to this song like crazy and haven't gotten sick of it. Please. Check it out.
6. Phil Wickham - Singalong: He put this live album for free download on his website. I almost feel guilty listening to something this good for free. I'm always a fan of music that consists of a guy with his guitar, and some fans that know all the songs. Song To Hear: "Beautiful". It gave me goosebumps. That's all I can say.
5. Jewel - Perfectly Clear: It should be understood that I was the most anti-Jewel human being a few years ago. She has been known to yodel, and I think anyone who yodels should be "accidentally" pushed in front of a bus. But.....her last CD Goodbye Alice In Wonderland is just so, so good. She also gets a few bonus points for being cute. Song To Hear: "I Do". This is an example of one of her songs that simply boils down to great songwriting and excellent arrangements. I pray she continues to avoid yodeling. I'd hate to see her in a tragic bus accident.
This is where the competition gets tight. It's hard to separate these last four. But if I have to...
4. Jon McLaughlin - OK, Now: I'm cheap. I don't spend $15 for a CD unless I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to like it. When Jon's new one came out, I was at the store the day it was released. I had no hesitation shelling out some cash. His debut CD Indiana was unbelievable. The piano-driven CD was free of the overproduced pop stuff that ends up on the radio. It was true, heartfelt music. My heart sank during the first listen of OK, Now. It lacked the simplicity and emotion I was looking for. It sounded overproduced. It has really grown on me though. I still think it's really overproduced, but Jon's style still shines through. Song To Hear: "Throw My Love Around". This song is sappy and lovey but I love it. There is a female backup vocalist who pushes this song over the top. I dare you to not like this song. Another great tune is "Four Years". So good.
3. Ferras - Aliens & Rainbows: Again, don't let the strange name and album title frighten you. This guy is really good. A mix of Jason Mraz/Coldplay/OneRepublic, almost every song on this CD is a keeper. Song To Hear: "Something About You".
2. Brandon Heath - What If We: I'm new to Brandon. This is the first CD of his that I've heard (I now have others on the way). This guy writes music beyond his years. His songs are catchy and are good at getting stuck in your brain. Song To Hear: "Give Me Your Eyes". You'll look at people differently after hearing this song. My kids are hooked on this one too.
And finally......drum roll please..........
1. Matthew West - Something To Say: I LOVE this CD. Matthew had some serious medical problems and was told he may not sing again. After throat surgery and a long period of not being able to talk, he eventually regained his voice (and now sings just as well as he did on CDs pre-surgery) and recorded this CD. This is another one that I bought without hesitation. He is without a doubt one of the best songwriters alive. Songs To Hear: "Something To Say", "You Are Everything", "The Moment Of Truth", and "All The Broken Pieces". It's impossible to feel sad or sorry for yourself when listening to his music. I own everything this guy has recorded. Please check him out.
So there you have it. My favorite CDs of the year. What are your favorites?