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don't toss 'em yet ~~ CDs Worth A Second Listen Vol. 1

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If you're like me, the first thing you do when you buy a new CD (after reading through the insert) is shove it into your car stereo and scan through about the first thirty seconds of each track. If something catches your interest, it remains playing; if not, you continue to the next track until you find something worth listening to. If the CD has still failed to capture your interest after this process, then it usually winds up serving some other useful purpose, such as a paperweight, plate, frisbee, or a coaster. True, the music is Christian, but unless it can captivate you and grab your attention it will fail to minister to you specifically. So how do you find something you like? Well, just as God gives us all a second chance (and third and fourth and so on...) the same should be true with our music. Some CDs contain a message that may have not been meant to be picked up after hearing them just once, and some of the best messages are buried deep within the lyrics. The point is that there are just some CDs out there that deserve a second listen instead of ending up holding somebody's drink glass. These are just a few of my selections:

If I Left The Zoo - Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay - If I Left the Zoo
This album has been widely disputed over because "it's not the original Jars' style." I counter with the fact that this is what makes it so interesting. Don't think of it as Jars of Clay changing, but more of as "branching out." The band is trying out a few things, and this album is proof of their accomplishments in this direction so far.
The Promise - PlusOne
PlusOne - The Promise
Ok, forget the entire boy band image. If that isn't your thing then simply skip the first track and listen to the rest of the CD. Plus One's sound is similar to that of the Katinas and has some great worshipful lyrics. The harmonies are incredible.
Roaring Lambs - Various
Various Artists - Roaring Lambs
This CD created a lot of hype before it was first released but didn't seem to live up to it all. Or does it? New songs by PFR and delirious? make the album worthwhile enough already, and Burlap to Cashmere, Sixpence None The Richer, and the weirdness of Steve Taylor add a nice touch. It may be different, but certainly not boring.
Solomon's Wish - A Wise Man's Tragedy
Solomon's Wish - A Wise Man's Tragedy
Most people have never even heard of these guys, and after putting the "scanning test" to work, wish they never had. On the flip side, Solomon's Wish is actually a great upcoming acoustic group, with a Phillips, Craig and Dean / Caedmon's Call type-style. Further listening to songs like "Stop Sign" and "Learning to Fly" reveals that these guys have great insight and a heart to praise God through their music.
Invincible - Skillet
Skillet - Invincible
Even though they've evolved from the hard rock stage into the electronica style they're known for today, I'd say it's a change for the better. Many listeners can't stomach the replacement of thrashing guitars with synthesizers, but Skillet's attitude hasn't changed a bit. Listen more closely and find out for yourself.
This Mystery - Nichole Nordeman
Nichole Nordeman - This Mystery
After hearing This Mystery on the radio, I had pre-conceived that the new album wasn't up to my standards because I thought it just wasn't good enough to be Nichole Nordeman. Was I ever wrong. This Mystery surpasses Wide Eyed both lyrically and musically, and it's worth listening to the whole CD to find out why.
unElectric - Joy Electric
Joy Electric - unElectric
While Skillet has changed to a more synth sound, Joy Electric has done exactly the opposite. Is the change permanent? We don't know for sure, but it's enjoyable while it lasts. Without their electricity, Joy Electric resembles the sound of PFR a bit, but mostly everything is new and original.
God Fixation - Petra
Petra - God Fixation
Just ignore the release of Double Take and any influence it may have had on your opinion of Petra. God Fixation may have been more contemporary than previous Petra albums, but it was highly underacclaimed for its good points.
Smalltown Poets (self-titled)
Smalltown Poets - (self-titled)
Back in 1995, this CD was one of the most overlooked alternative rock albums on the market, yet it was an outstanding effort. The Poets have moved on since then, releasing Listen Closely in 1997, but it didn't have near the impact of the original.
Fearless - Crystal Lewis
Crystal Lewis - Fearless
A few years ago, "People Get Ready, Jesus is Coming" gave Crystal Lewis an identity in contemporary Christian music. Not took long after, "Not the Same" won the award for "Most Annoying, Overplayed Song On the Radio." Thankfully, Fearless is a different story. There's not a big change in style, which is a good thing for fans, but there's a big enough change to where her voice doesn't attract cattle from all over the country. In all seriousness, Crystal Lewis's new album shows she's not afraid to take her witnessing through music to new heights.

There isn't enough room to fit the rest of them here, but simply put, these are CDs that should be given one more chance at a permanent spot in your CD player. They may not keep you interested the first time around, but after listening to them for the second time you just might find that your tastes are changing. Give them a try, and if you still aren't satisfied, then go ahead and play a rousing game of fetch with your dog. Chances are, though, you'll be surprised.
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