The recent 2010-2019 decade of Christian music was an interesting one. Of course there was the explosion of worship songs and albums bursting forth from every church and corner of the world, but there was also a big emphasis on hip-hop. In addition, as the CCM industry was overtaken by worship artists and positive pop on the radio, the indie scene continued to pump out the most daring and arresting music. While the industry narrowed, and labels took less and less chances developing artists, the rise of the DIY artist meant there was an ever increasing glut of options of what to listen to. Also, with the ability to make music on your laptop or on your own, it empowered the next generation of musicians to go for it, with or without label support. Lastly, it has largely bred a generation of artists less concerned about, or in need of the Christian label to make great, easily accessible music that has a wider appeal than that limiting label has afforded in the past. It’s a label I see less and less reason for and I’m ready for it to shift/evolve.
All that to say, you’ll see artists of faith who appear on this list even though they’ve never really gotten Christian music play or been classified as such. Artists like Twenty One Pilots, NF, and half*alive. You’ll also see several artists who started early on in the industry but have successfully cultivated an audience outside of it like Switchfoot, Needtobreathe, Lecrae, Lauren Daigle, and Colony House. Lastly, there is fifteen percent of the list that I’d consider congregational worship and another twenty-four to twenty-five percent that either started indie or still remains independent of label backing. It’s fairly diverse (aside from heavy music which I can appreciate but never give too much listening time to) and I’m proud of it.
So here goes…a hybrid list of my favorites and what I would consider the best 100 Songs released between 2010-2019. I sprinkled in some commentary throughout for context. Playlist linked at the bottom for you to listen along!
Top 100 Christian Songs of the 2010s
100. “Top Priority” – Tal & Acacia
99. “Uncomfortable” – Andy Mineo
98. “Manolo” – Trip Lee
97. “Church Clap” – KB/Lecrae
This tune has an accompanying dance and is/was unavoidable at church camps. I think it needs to be retired alongside “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” and a few others.
96. “Tremble” – Mosaic
95. “Sweep the Leg” – Family Force 5
I could have gone with several FF5 songs here including “Cray Button” and “Chainsaw” or “Zombie” but after a decade in youth ministry this is the one I can still stand.
94. “Diamnds” – Falling Up
93. “You Say” – Lauren Daigle
92. “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” – Hillsong United
This isn’t the worship tune that started the slide of the industry in that direction, but I feel like it was the tipping point. Inescapable for nearly a decade.
91. “So Will I (100 Billion X) – Hillsong United
90. “Goodness of God” – Bethel
89. “Who You Say I Am” – Hillsong
88. “What A Beautiful Name” – Hillsong
87. “Sons & Daughters” – Iron Bell Worship
86. “Find You Here” – Ellie Holcomb
85. “Love Take Me Over” – Steven Curtis Chapman
84. “Dunk Contest (Magic Bird) – Andy Mineo & Wordsplayed
83. “Brother” – The Brilliance
82. “Dear Me” – Nichole Nordeman
81. “Take Me to the Mountain – Jetty Rae
80. “Doxology” – Beautiful Eulogy
79. “My Victory” – Crowder
78. “Kings & Queens” – Audio Adrenaline
Best song of a surprisingly good and all-too-short Kevin Max era of Audio Adrenaline.
77. “When I Grow Up” – NF
76. “Dig New Streams” – Switchfoot
75. “Remember the Empire” – House of Heroes
74. “Sticks & Stones” – Cass
Indie electronic pop artist surprised me with this mellow yet danceable track.
73. “God Only Knows” – For King & Country
72. “Let You Down” – NF
71. “No Time For Shame” – Ethan C. Davis
70. “Need You (How Many Times)” – Plumb
69. “The Breakup Song” – Francesca Battistelli
This is the increasingly rare pop song that’s both catchy and has a great message while saying it in a different/clever way. I think Bart Millard (MercyMe) has writing credits on it if I’m not mistaken.
68. “As You Find Me” – Hillsong United
One of the few congregational (ish) worship songs that blew me away and hasn’t grown old yet. So powerful.
67. “Floodplain” – Sara Groves
66. “Marigold” – Relient K
65. “Trouble Found Me” – Madison Cunningham
She’s a young and talented singer songwriter with excellent guitar skills and a knack for catchy melody’s.
64. “Letter to the Editor” – J Lind
63. “Abundance” – Future of Forestry
Yes, an instrumental song makes the list. It’s so very beautiful and calming, a staple on my nighttime bedtime mix.
62. “I’ll Find You (Feat. Tori Kelly) – Lecrae
61. “Money & Fame” – Needtobreathe
60. “If the House Burns Down Tonight” – Switchfoot
59. “Lord I Need You” – Matt Maher
A must for all my worship playlists. A song of surrender that moves me emotionally every time I sing it.
58. “High Enough” – The Gray Havens
57. “Every Mile Mattered” – Nichole Nordeman
After a long (13 years I think?) hiatus, songstress Nordeman returns and lands two songs on this list with this title track being my favorite. Piano-based song with top-notch lyrics.
56. “Speak Life” – Tobymac
I’m on record as saying that the Eye On It album that this song is from is Tobymac’s worst, but this individual song is great.
55. “Afterlife” – Switchfoot
54. “Caught Me By Surprise” – Colony House
53. “Alone” – My Epic
My favorite track and maybe the most earnest/upbeat of an overall chill album for the nighttime listens.
52. “Girl with the Tiger Eyes” – Kevin Max
51. “The Resistance” – Josh Garrels
Intense and driving this is a great hip-hop infused singer songwriter track from much-beloved indie artist.
50. “My Story” – Big Daddy Weave
This one has the capacity to make me cry every time I hear it, and definitely if I sing along.
49. “Made Alive” – Citizens
48. “Come to Us Lord” – Young Oceans
47. “Brother” – Needtobreathe
46. “In the Woodshop” – Falling Up
45. “Eyes Wide Open” – Jars of Clay
Also featuring Burlap to Cashmere, Mac Powell, and Derek Webb this is my favorite song from one of my least favorite (but still loved) Jars albums.
44. “Anything But Country” – Andy Mineo
43. “The Rain Keeps Falling” – Andrew Peterson
42. “State I’m In” – Needtobreathe
41. “Something in the Water” – Brooke Fraser
A happy-go-lucky and catchy love song.
40. “Here’s My Heart” – Crowder
39. “Tell the World” – Lecrae
38. “Things You Were” – Deas Vail
37. “Trees” – Twenty One Pilots
Seeing it performed live is an experience I wish everyone could have. Very moving.
36. “I Just Need U” – Tobymac
Hands down my favorite Tobymac song in a long time. So catchy.
35. “Far Kingdom” – The Gray Havens
34. “Waiting For My Time to Come” – Colony House
33. “Arrow” – half*alive
Man do I identify with the chorus of this track the last few years…
“The hardest place to be
Is right where you are
In the space between
The finish and the start
Is the Arrow in your heart”
32. “His Heart Beats” – Andrew Peterson
31. “Sooner or Later” – Mat Kearney
30. “Coming in Hot” – Lecrae/Andy Mineo
29. “Zen & The Art of Xenophobia” – Five Iron Frenzy
In-your-face and convicting.
28. “God Save the Foolish Kings” – House of Heroes
27. “Stressed Out” – Twenty One Pilots
26. “Beautiful Things” – Gungor
25. “You & I” – Colony House
I’ve played the heck out of this song and I’m still not sick of it. Just how I like my indie-flavored pop rock.
24. “Local Construction – Relient K
23. “Where I Belong” – Switchfoot
It’s a concert staple used for closing down the show more often than not for a reason. Classic.
22. “Oohs and Ahhs” – Needtobreathe
This. Song. Wails.
21. “Creature” – half*alive
Seeing them closing their incredible live show with this song was a treat.
20. “If All is Nothing/Nothing Must End – John Van Deusen
So tender. So authentic. So necessary for this modern world of anxiety and suicide ideation.
19. “To Thee We Run” – Young Oceans
18. “Inland” – Jars of Clay
17. “All Shall Be Well” – John Van Deusen
16. “Love Reclaims the Atmosphere” – Burlap to Cashmere
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…Simon & Garfunkel wish they wrote this one.
15. “Be Clean Again” – Heath McNease
14. “All the Poor & Powerless” – All Sons & Daughters
13. “Naked Feet & Holy Fire” – Kings Kaleidoscope
12. “Is He Worthy?” – Andrew Peterson
This should probably be Top 10. So transcendent.
11. “Sirens” – Attalus
You gotta listen to this one loud. Wall of guitars and just the right amount of screaming.
10. “Nothing Stands Between Us” – John Mark McMillan
After an entire album of wrestling (Mercury & Lightning) this song wraps up the journey in such a satisfying way.
9. “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” – Sandra McCracken
I keep returning to this one lately as I find my longing for Heaven becoming more and more strong with each passing year. What a day that will be!
8. “Jumpsuit” – Twenty One Pilots
Simply put this song rocks.
7. “Farther Along” – Josh Garrels
I remember being completely enraptured by this song when I first heard it. It holds up.
6. “Keep Forgiving” – Levi the Poet
I hadn’t heard this until I happened to see him perform it live. Talk about chill bumps.
5. “Three Birds in Babylon” – The Gray Havens
I got totally wrapped into deciphering the lyrics to this one and likely went further than the artist intended but it was fun and the song remains a favorite.
4. “Love in the Hard Times” – Jars of Clay
For them to write such a piercingly gorgeous song is no surprise. It’s the wearied beauty that only a seasoned band could pull off so flawlessly.
3. “Don’t You Want to Thank Someone” – Andrew Peterson
Epic doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. What a tremendous songwriter.
2. “How to Be Yours” – Chris Renzema
I’m undone by this song every single time. The back-and-forth, the trepidation answered with assured love. It’s all so moving and perfect.
1. “Every Power Wide Awake” – John Van Deusen
He’s been my favorite artist of the last 5-6 years hands down. I could have gone with any number or his songs from the album of the same name, but this ultimately had to be in. Fuzz guitars. 10 min runtime. Nakedly authentic lyrics that I’ll leave you with like:
“And here I am with every power wide awake
Lifted hands, this selfish heart is Your’s to break.”
Spotify Playlist Top 100 Christian Songs of the 2010s
What about you, what have been your favorite tunes from the 2010s decade?
Top 100 Christian Songs of the 2000s, 100 Greatest Christian Songs of the 90s Full List
Most of my favourite musicians of my formative years and into my 20s weren’t putting out new music this decade, or were winding down, and honestly I’ve struggled to find new favourites that I love as much. I’ve limited my top 25 to 2 songs per artist so Paper Route don’t take over the list – they’re the only real exception to what I just said, though after discovering them in 2013 they also put out their final album in 2016… ah well… Looking through the other lists here I realise there’s plenty still out there to discover though!
25 Homeward (Future of Forestry)
24 Terminal (John Foreman)
23 Infamous Love Songs (Over the Rhine)
22 You & I (Colony House)
21 Dancing in the Minefields (Andrew Peterson)
20 Death in Reverse (John Mark McMillan)
19 Every Power Wide Awake (John van Deusen)
18 Placed On Hold (Mutemath)
17 The Old Man Lies (Cool Hand Luke)
16 Dear Me (Nichole Nordeman)
15 Runnin’ (Relient K)
14 At the Table (Josh Garrels)
13 On Giants’ Shoulders (Future of Forestry)
12 Letting You Let Go (Paper Route)
11 When Death Dies (Gungor)
10 Stressed Out (TwentyOne Pilots)
9 Calling All Cowards (John van Deusen)
8 Where I Belong (Switchfoot)
7 There Will Be Time (Mumford & Sons and Baaba Maal)
6 Absent from Flesh (Jamie Barnes)
5 After All (Holy) (David Crowder Band)
4 Inland (Jars of Clay)
3 Farther Along (Josh Garrels)
2 Ghost of a King (The Gray Havens)
1 Glass Heart Hymn (Paper Route)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Nice! I dig your picks, and like many of them myself. Future of Forestry and Paper Route are two excellent artists of the 10s for sure. Love the MuteMath and Josh Garrels inclusions.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Here’s my list (in rough order). There’s a decent amount of overlap with yours!
LikeLiked by 2 people
Nice! Thanks for sharing!
Okay Josh we have been on a similar page I think on a lot of the passed lists, but I do feel like we diverge a little here. First of all, I started listening to John Van Deusen like two weeks ago. But my my ‘John’ of this decade was The Rocket Summer. 100% made the best music and albums of the decade for me. Also, and I can’t believe your feelings towards Eye on it. Toby is funny, because he has a couple of sounds he has lots of fans who lean toward one of the styles. We both have a love for Toby, but I love it when he goes all out pop. (NOT CCM. City on its knees is coma-inducing.) But all out pop. So here we go.
25 Overnight – Amy Grant & Sara Chapman
24 Revelation Song – Jesus Culture and eveyone else
23 Remember for – Colony House
22 Therapy – Brooke Fraser
21 Made Alive – Citizen
20 Ships in the night – Mat Kearney
19 Shovel in hand – Amy Grant feat Will Hodge
18 Reckless Forgiver – Jars of clay (my top 100 would have like 6 songs from Inland)
17 Lose Myself – Toby Mac
16 God’s Great Dance Floor – Chris Tomlin
15 Breakdown – Group 1 Crew
14 Out of this world – Family Force 5
13 Thunder – Brooke Frazer
12 Thrive – Switchfoot
11 I don’t deserve your love – Plumb feat. Paul van Dyk
10 Cars and the Pixies – The Rocket Summer
9 All you ever wanted – Casting Crowns
8 Alive – Hillsong Young and Free
7 Everything – TobyMac
6 I will let you down – Zac Bolen (no other song presses the tears button like this)
5 Brother – Needtobreathe feat Gavin McGraw
4 Moving on – Mat Kearney
3 Beauty will Rise – Steven Curtis Chapman (possibly song of his career. I know. Huge call)
2 Underrated – The Rocket Summer ( my top 100 would have 10 TRS songs on it.)
1 Me without you – Toby Mac
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love all the love for Brooke Fraser and Mat Kearney!