30 Years, 30 Songs

I set a goal a few days ago to compile my 30 favorite songs and release them on my 30th birthday. I kind of met that goal. What I realized is that it’s kind of an impossible thing to do. First, I listen to almost exclusively Christian music. All of the music in my list is Christian. However, I do really appreciate other forms of music. There’s non-religious music that didn’t make this list. There are great old hymns that I grew up singing in church that didn’t make this list. I probably could have even included theme songs to old sit-coms on this list, but I didn’t.
Also, I’m not 100% sure about the order. It would probably change depending on my mood.
So, maybe this isn’t a real top 30 list, but I made it and I wasn’t about to let all that [not so] hard work go to waste.

Honorable Mention

  • Lamb of God (New York Restoration Choir)
  • Everything/Bow Before the King (Tye Tribbett & G.A.)
  • Strong and Mighty (Kurt Carr)
  • Stand Still (Deitrick Haddon, featuring Donnie McClurkin)
  • Alter (Papa San), Now I Sing (Out of Eden)
  • Jesus is Alive (Ron Kenoly)
  • Come, Though Almighty King (Timothy Wright)
  • Shadows (David Crowder featuring Lecrae)
  • Ancient of Days (written by Jamie Harvill and Gary Sadler, performed by Ron Kenoly)
  • Holy God (JoAnn Rosario Condrey)
  • Maybe Both, 1865 (Sho Baraka)
  • Yahwah (Mali Music)
  • Lord of the Harvest (Fred Hammond & Radical for Christ)
  • A Few More Miles (Take Six), The Invasion (Trip Lee)
  • Also, no particular song, but can’t go without mentioning Quincy Jones’s Soulful Messiah and Richard Smallwood in general.
Honestly, I’d just like to add any good song to this list. I’ll be thinking of songs I missed for the next two weeks.

Top 30

Again, the order here is very fluid.
30. Deliver Us (Shachah / John Wells)
This song made it in on nostalgia. It was also released by both Shachah and John Wells.
29. Billion Years (Trip Lee)
If you haven’t you should listen to Trip Lee’s last album. Some of those songs really hit you, especially this one, which reminds us to keep an eternal perspective.

28. Hallelujah to Your Name (Tye Tribbett)
27. Bless The Lord (Tye Tribbett)
Yup, two Tye Tribbett songs in a row. Both this and the last songs are from the “Victory” album, recorded live in North Philly, with me and my family stuck outside in the cold because there was literally no more room left in the building.
26. Oh, Give Thanks (Fred Hammond)
25. I Wanna Know Your Ways (Fred Hammond)
Fred Hammond is my favorite artist, especially this and other songs from the Radical for Christ era. I listened to this song about 2,391,819 times through middle and high school.
24. Hallelujah, Salvation, and Glory (A. Jeffrey LaValley)
I had to include at least one of these praise & worship songs from when I was a kid. I just found out who actually wrote the song.
23. Reflection (Souljahz)
Another song that made it in on the strength of nostalgia. The words to this song became an often repeated prayer for me during some tough times.
22. Set Me Free (Myron Butler)
Can you feel it, aww can you feel it? I still don’t know what “it” is. Or what to switch.
21. I Hear You Say (Joann Rosario Condrey)
Another song that reminds me of difficult times God brought me to and got me through. I wish there was a live, extended version.
20. Nail My Glory (Original by Isaac Watts, as performed by Doxa)
You ever here someone say something you heard before in a way you never heard it? That was this song for me.
19. King of Glory (Commissioned)
I want Commissioned and The Cross Movement to be included in more black history programs.

18. Exalted (Psalm 110) (Shai Linne)
This is one of those songs that sounds hype appropriately because the subject matter is hype-worthy.
17. Jesus is Lord (Andrae Crouch)
Andrae Crouch was too smooth.
16. Rain on Us (John P. Kee)
When I was 17 Philly had a new 24-hour gospel station with no on-air personality. You’d often hear the same songs at the same time of day. This song was usually on when my dad was dropping me off at my summer job. To this day this song makes me think about Germantown Avenue.
15. The Spirit Says Arise (Radical for Christ)
So here’s what happened. There was a whole bank of good music that hadn’t quite penetrated the African American church. In the mid 90s, Fred Hammond restyled that music on albums like “Praise In The House” and with songs like “Arise.” If you like modern gospel music, be grateful.
14. Certified Gold (Eshon Burgundy)
This song. THIS SONG! The beat is great and the words are greater. We all need to listen and take heed, because “the devil’s got us sold on that certified gold.”
This song is old. I remember listening to it years ago. Just realized it was about me.
12. Love You More (Unspoken)
11. My Clothes, My Hair (The Ambassador)
The last two songs bring back good youth ministry & college memories.

10. Show Yourself Strong (Fred Hammond)
9. Boasting (Lecrae)
“If we fought for our rights we’d be in hell tonight)
8. Joyful Joyful (as performed on Sister Act II)
If you don’t like this song I’m not sure you like music.

7. He’s Able (Deitrick Haddon)
I could make a joke here about the “Preachers of L.A.” but I’ll pass… for now.
This is kind of an insider thing, but I couldn’t help but post this version:

6. Cry No More (The Ambassador)
I learned so much from this song and from this album. I had one Cross Movement CD as a kid, and it was this one (“Holy Culture”). I played that thing to death, and looking back it may have been the most impactful CD of my whole life.
5. Now Behold the Lamb (Kirk Franklin)
This is, without a doubt, Kirk Franklin’s best song.
4. You are the Living Word (Fred Hammond)
This song is just good. It’s just so good.

3. In Christ Alone (written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty)
This song is the gospel. It’s a reminder of how great a hope we have.
2. Bless the Lord (Son of Man) (written by Jon Owens, performed by Tye Tribbett & G. A.)
Tye Tribbett didn’t even write his best song. I think we all ought to thank God that He divinely orchestrated a demo of this song to end up in Tye’s hands.

1. Glory to Glory (Fred Hammond)
Every other song on this list could be arranged in a different order, but not this one. This is my absolute favorite song. Just listen to the words, many ripped straight from scripture.

Making it to 30 years old honestly isn’t much of an accomplishment on my part. It’s only by God’s grace that I’ve made it this far. If it was up to me, I would have given up on life long ago many times. The Lord is really worthy to be praised. His hand of salvation redeemed me and keeps me over and over and over. So, Lord, beyond the balance of my days, receive all the glory from my life.