The Top 10 Songs in … CHRISTIAN ROCK!

1. Newsboys, “God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion)”


Newsboys are a Christian pop rock band from Mooloolaba, Australia. I find that “Mooloolaba” makes a great substitute for any other exclamation. Mooloolaba! The Newsboys’ keyboardist is named Jeff Frankenstein, which sounds awfully glam. The band was originally called The News, but changed their name in the mid-’80s to avoid any problems with Huey Lewis (yes, really). The Newsboys’ first two albums were called Hell Is for Wimps and Boys Will Be Boyz. This is the lead single from their 15th album, God’s Not Dead. The bridge sounds like Coldplay and then there is a whispered hardcore breakdown. The video is about how the main purpose of social media is arguing.
Grade: B
Best YouTube Comment: “my favorite band 2 reasons 1. awesome music 2. one has a last name of Frankenstein” — Mr123456789ia

2. MercyMe, “The Hurt & The Healer”


If not for the lyrics about Jesus, you might mistake this MercyMe jam for an Arcade Fire song. The chorus’s soaring vocal certainly wouldn’t sound out of place circling around on an indie satellite radio station. MercyMe are from Greenville, Texas, and lead singer Bart Millard is considered one of the top male vocalists in Christian rock. This song aims to lift your spirits, and uses the epic chord changes to inspire reverence and awe.
Grade: B+
Best YouTube Comment: “I wish Jesus could physically hug me today” — michigantreaties1

3. Phillips, Craig & Dean, “When The Stars Burn Down”


Phillips, Craig & Dean is a supergroup made up of three pastors. Things get really imperial when the harmonies kick in around 1:30.
Grade: A-
Best YouTube Comment: “This song is helping me through my hard time!” — PurpleJello111

4. Building 429, “Where I Belong”


Once I realized this had a drum pattern similar to “Toot It and Boot It,” it was all over.
Grade: C+
Best YouTube Comment: “Was feeling down about things at work all kinds of crazy thoughts just getting to me in my head, went to lunch and on my way back they were playing this song, and I just broke out and cried.” — JeffDurry

5. Sidewalk Prophets, “Live Like That”


You know, it occurs to me that Billy Corgan could become the biggest Christian artist of all time if he chose to cross over into the genre. Every one of the songs on this countdown so far sounds influenced by “Disarm.” Although the singer for Sidewalk Prophets sounds more like the guy from Train.
Grade: B
Best YouTube Comment: “I can’t get enough of this song!!!! It lifts me up everyday and helps me just carry on especially if I just did something disgraceful.” — MrHermioni456

6. Jeremy Camp, “Overcome”


An eight-minute-long epic from rock balladeer Jeremy Camp, who has had 14 no.1 hits on the Christian music chart. Built to be sung around campfires.
Grade: A
Best YouTube Comment: “the beginning of this song = CHILLS” — TheJennyDays

7. Britt Nicole, “All This Time”


Taylor Swift–style bedroom confessions with top 40 pop beats. Reminds me of the days when Stacie Orrico videos made it to TRL sometimes.
Grade: B
Best YouTube Comment: “SWAG: Saved With Amazing Grace” — debbyesan54

8. Passion, “White Flag”


Not Passion Pit, Wild Flag, or the “White Flag” by Dido or The Gorillaz. When did all Christian rock start sounding like Coldplay? Or is it just that Coldplay already sounded like Christian rock with its combination of the bittersweet and inspiring and that’s what everyone responded to in Coldplay to begin with?
Grade: C
Best YouTube Comment: “the live version of this is way better, it’s how it will sound in heaven, at least as close as we can tell” — steeljosh36

9. Jamie Grace, “You Lead”


I like Jamie Grace and her brand of bouncy bubblegum folk-pop. Call me maybe?
Grade: A
Best YouTube Comment: “Does this remind anyone else of Friday by Rebecca Black?” — TimNeeley

10. NewWorldSon, “Learning to Be the Light”


Nothing worse than being able to hear the obvious pitch correction on a would-be earnest ballad. The worst four-letter word in the English language is MRAZ.
Grade: D
Best YouTube Comment: “LUV IT!!!!!!!! :D” — mariconlaureta

Filed Under: Billboard, Grading the Charts, Top Ten

Photo on 2014-01-10 at 12.58 #3

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert