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Melissa McNeil
The Collection - Amy Grant The Collection (1986) - Amy Grant
This was one of those road trip classics in my family and I fondly remember being in the back seat singing at the top of my lungs along with my younger sister to each and every song. After I became a Christian and revisited this album, I realized I could identify an awful lot with the things Amy was singing about. Truth be told, I'm not a big pop fan anymore, but there are definitely times when I just want to hear someone else talking about their desire to go out and conquer a part of the world even if no one else around is doing the same thing ("I'm Gonna Fly") or that we don't have to have everything all figured out because God does actually have a plan He's carrying out ("All I Ever Have To Be").
Jars of Clay (self-titled) Jars of Clay (1995) - Jars of Clay
I thoroughly enjoy that this album is full of radio friendly string arrangements, catchy yet meaningful lyrics, and is the start of a great line of albums from this group. The album came into my hands at a time when I was frustrated with everything on the radio sounding the same. Acoustic guitar driven but string enhanced pop/alternative was a welcome addition to my music collection. My favorite songs are "Flood" and "He."
Plumb - Plumb Plumb (1997) - Plumb
Girl fronted Christian rock isn't something I would even call that common now, but when Plumb's first album came out, it seemed almost non-existent. I loved that just when I was getting into artists such as Garbage and The Cranberries, a Christian album with a female lead, driving guitars, and cool percussion came on the scene. And yay for a new album slated for a summer release! My favorite song on the self-titled album is "Crazy."
Live at Luther College - Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Luther College (1999) - Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
Two acoustic guitars and one set of vocals make two discs of music that somehow washes over you as you listen. I had no idea a single instrument was capable of creating such a range of sounds and emotions until I heard "Stream" from disc two. Sometimes you need to listen to a CD and simply appreciate the composition of songs. This is a good set of discs to accomplish such a goal.
Kid A - Radiohead Kid A (2000) - Radiohead
The first CD I ever heard where I was left with the distinct feeling that the band didn't care so much about the audience's response as they did about the process of creating the album. Music is about the process and trying new things for the sake of trying new things at times. Write a song, sing it and record it, play it backwards and learn how to sing it that way, then record it being sung backwards over the already normal recording, put it on an album,€am¤ watch critics and fans try to figure out why. That's how it happened in my mind anyway. Although there are stand out songs, this is an album to be listened entirely in one sitting.

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