Top 40 Christian Songs of 2011

2011 gave us tons of great music. Popular hits came from Christian pop, Christian rock, Urban Gospel, Christian rap and worship. We heard old favorites and met new faces while glorifying God through amazing music.
Isaac Carree - Uncommon Me
Isaac Carree - Uncommon Me. Sovereign Agency

Solid placement on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs Chart brought us Isaac Carree's "In The Middle." Isaac cut his chops singing with John P. Kee, Men of Standard and Kirk Franklin and this track shows off just about everything he learned.

"Faceless" came to us in February Until We Have Faces. Delivering intense energy from start to finish, the song is a story about how, without God, we're empty and void.

"Motion of Mercy" was the second single release from Francesca Battistelli's Hundred More Years. The polar opposite of the hit "This Is The Stuff," this song is slower and easier, yet it's just as thought provoking. Loving us enough to die for us; still caring when we don't; never leaving our side even when we turn away - those are all motions of His mercy.

The second single release from Born Again spent weeks and weeks in the 2010 and 2011 charts. With a synth sound that is reminiscent of the early Newsboys, this is pop fun with a strong message.

After debuting in the Weekly Top 10 in October of 2010, "My Own Little World" quickly took over the #1 spot and sailed right into 2011. The first single release from Matthew West's album, The Story Of Your Life, this is a tale of stepping outside of our own bubble where "population me" is the only thing that matters. Powerful stuff!

The 3rd single to hit the Top 10 from tobyMac's Tonight, "Hold On," first hit the charts in October 2010. Slower, yet still with a dance groove, this is another tune that quickly become a fan fave.

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"I Believe" - James Fortune & FIYA f/ Zacardi Cortez & Shawn McLemore

Kerry Douglas Presents Gospel Mix IV
Kerry Douglas Presents Gospel Mix IV. Worldwide Music

"I Believe" hit the #1 slot on Billboard's Hot Gospel Songs chart when it debuted in September 2010, That means about 4 million listeners were hearing it across the country on their favorite radio stations. The song reminds us that no matter how bad our economy is or how messed up our politics may be, God is still in control. Bottom line, it is as timely as it is good.

The second single release from Chris August's No Far Away, we first saw "7x70" back in March. If you thought "Starry Night" was amazing, just wait until you hear this ballad! With a theme of forgiveness, this tune will resonate with listeners of all ages and bring tears to plenty of eyes.

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"Children of the Light" - Lecrae

Lecrae - Rehab
Lecrae - Rehab. Reach Records

Lecrae's song features Sonny Sandoval and Dillavou, giving it a different twist. "Children of the Light" provides listeners the 3 R's - but not the Reading, Writing and Arithmetic ones we grew up with. No, Children's three R's are Rap, Rock and Reggae! Not your usual fare but done with a level of excellence that makes it all flow together. Add a strong message to that and you've got a winner on your hands.

The heartfelt "Lead Me" comes from Pieces of a Real Heart. Written by Matt in response to his wife's plea that he become a stronger spiritual leader of their household, this song is powerful stuff.

"Jesus Saves," our first song in the year end chart by Jeremy, debuted in the Top 10 in 2010. It comes to us from Jeremy Camp's worship album, We Cry Out: The Worship Project. An original rather than a remake of the classic, this pop/rock tune reminds us that the bottom line in life, no matter who you are, is that Jesus saves!

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"I Need Your Glory" - Earnest Pugh

Earnest Pugh - Earnestly Yours
Earnest Pugh - Earnestly Yours. Worldwide Music

Our September hit, "I Need Your Glory," came from Earnestly Yours. Words like smooth, beautiful and powerful don't even come close to describing the majesty of this one.

Our second Chris August song, "Starry Night," came to us in August when his debut album, No Far Away, hit stores. "Starry Night" has an almost poetic flow to it, as Chris sings of the beauty of God's creation and how he has given his life to the one that made it all.

"I Smile," which made it all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart, came from Kirk Franklin's March release, Hello Fear. This is one of those songs that you can not possibly frown through. It's a mid-tempo tune that serves as a fun reminder to smile through the hard times because God is still in control.

We first saw "Children of God," from Move, in February. Southern rock meets the New Hope Academy Children's Choir in this rockin' anthem.

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"Turn Around" - Matt Maher

Matt Maher - The Love In Between
Matt Maher - The Love In Between. Essential Records

"Turn Around," which hit the charts in October, came from Matt Maher's The Love In Between. The song reminds us that finding Jesus isn't a hard thing to do - it's not a journey filled with pitfalls and trap doors. Finding Jesus is as simple as turning around.

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"Light Up The Sky" is the title track from The Afters EP release. We first heard this tune on the popular MTV show “The Hills” in the summer of that year. It was also on the new CD, Light Up The Sky, which hit stores in September 2010.

Building 429 - Listen to the Sound
Building 429 - Listen to the Sound. Provident

"Listen to the Sound" is the title track from Building 429's May release. The pop/rock song tells listeners to listen to the sound of hope - something we can all relate to, while sounding (to my ears anyway), a bit like Newsboys.

"My Hope Is In You" came to us from This Is What We Believe. The piano-driven song was written while Aaron and his wife were holding onto the only hope that they could - the hope that comes from Christ - as their son battled a severe medical condition.

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"Your Great Name" - Natalie Grant

Natalie Grant - Love Revolution
Natalie Grant - Love Revolution. Curb Records

"Your Great Name" came to us from Natalie Grant's 2010 Love Revolution. She covered this worship song in a way that only she can - giving it life that practically takes you to the throne room.

"I Refuse," which hit #1 in May, came from Josh Wilson's February release, See You. The pop-rocker reminds us that doing nothing is not an option. Prayer, while an important part of Christian life, is not the only thing we should do. Or as James put it much more eloquently than I can, James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can his faith save him?

From Francesca Battistelli's March release, Hundred More Years, "This is the Stuff" had only been on the radio for six days when it hit the Weekly Top 10! Upbeat and almost quirky (in a good way), this tune is as fun as it is relatable because every one of us has "stuff" that drives us absolutely insane, yet teaches us patience at the same time.

"Beautiful" came to us from The Generous Mr. Lovewell. A reminder that no matter what we look like on the outside, God sees us as beautiful, this song is especially timely after so many New Year's Resolutions to lose weight, go to the gym, etc. While being healthy is important, living up to the fickle standards of the world to look like someone else is not.

"Lift Me Up," which we first saw on the charts in May, was the second radio single from Light Up The Sky. Pure pop, this beautiful song highlights faith that doesn't waver no matter what the circumstances.

Peter Furler - On Fire
Peter Furler - On Fire. Sparrow Records

Peter Furler's first single as a solo act debuted in June on the Weekly Top 10 at #7 and went all the way up to #2. Fun, but with meaning, the song reminds listeners that God reaches for us all of the time.

Casting Crowns - Come To The Well
Casting Crowns - Come To The Well. Provident

"Courageous" is the first single to go to radio from the October 2011 release, Come To The Well. The song had only been playing on the radio for a mere 10 days when it started charting. The music video released on and within 24 hours, had already garnered over 100,000 views.

"Your Love," co-written with James Ingram, is a testament to God's love for us. This beautiful song spent 10 weeks in the Top 10 in early 2010.

"Down" comes from Mat's latest release, Young Love. The appealing tune is singer/songwriter gold and it reminds us that we've all fallen down at some point and cried out to God, wondering if He hears. At the end of the day, regardless of whether it's losing a house or taking pills to dull the pain, we all need forgiveness.

"Do Everything" is the first single from Steven's latest release, re:creation. This upbeat song reminds us that everything that we do should please God.

"I Will Follow" comes from Chris Tomlin's November 2010 release, And If Our God Is For Us. "I Will Follow" is pure Tomlin, heartfelt worship delivered from a place deep within.

"You Are More" hit the charts, hit the top and then hung around for a good, long while. The song comes from The Light Meets The Dark. My favorite song on the release, it touches on a topic that I speak on frequently ... not being defined by the choices that we've made or the mistakes that we've survived. Our experiences help shape us, but they do not define us. God defines us and we are more than a laundry list of actions.

Jamie Grace - One Song At A Time
Jamie Grace - One Song At A Time. Gotee Records

Our next song for 2011 comes from newcomer and tobyMac find, Jamie Grace. If you've ever wondered what would happen if you threw pop, R&B and hip hop into a blender and served it up with charm and an acoustic guitar, you've found it with this fun tune.

The 8th most popular song of 2011 also carries the distinction of being a 2012 Grammy Awards nominee for "Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance" and "Best Contemporary Christian Music Song." The second single release from And If Our God Is For Us... is slow, easy and purely Chris Tomlin.

"Stronger," which sat at the top for 12 weeks, is from Mandisa's totally amazing release, What If We Were Real. Fans love this one as it is one of those "good to the last drop" kind of tunes that reminds us that it is from the bad that we get stronger.

"You Love Me Anyway" was another summer hit that shot straight to the top of the charts. From the band's debut album, These Simple Truths, the country sounding ballad is a little slice of different from their pop sound.

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We starting hearing "Strong Enough" over the summer months and it carried us through fall. The popular radio single from Matthew West's The Story of Your Life gives us everything Matthew West has gotten us used to where his music is concerned ... great vocals, perfect timing, and lyrics that resonate with our hearts.

"Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)," is the third single release from Until The Whole World Hears. While some of the critics weren't impressed by the song (or the release), it certainly proved them wrong after spending 14 weeks in the Top 10. Personally, I have to wonder how anyone could say that lyrics like Living, He loved me / Dying, He saved me / Buried, He carried my sins far away are a cliche (yet one reviewer did) because the truth is never a cliche!

One of my personal favorite songs of 2011, the title track from Laura's album is tender, yet as powerful as a freight train. The piano-based ballad shares that we shouldn't look at blessings as a wish list that God checks off for us. Rather, we should see the blessings in the little miracles around us.

After 18 weeks in the Top 10, the fun "Move" comes from The Generous Mr. Lovewell. This tune has a very Sgt. Pepper (Bee Gees version) sound, taking listeners back to the 80s.

After a total of 19 weeks in the chart, Jeremy Camp's "The Way" is hands down, the most popular song in Christian music for 2011. The tune comes from his 2010 release, We Cry Out: The Worship Project. The song was co-written with his brother-in-law, Brad Peens, and it has a real anthem feel to it.