1992…I would have been 11 years old, and just beginning the music collecting part of my life. While already versed in CCM that my parents were listening to like Amy Grant, Sandy Patty, Larnelle Harris, and Keith Green; I was about to embark on shifting toward my own choices in CCM. My music. Like many Christian music only kids my age, that journey began with legends like Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, and bridge to the more alternative side…Dctalk. This list of albums that (mostly) holds up serves as a time capsule to an age in Christian music where the industry exploded over the next decade. The 30 albums below are the ones that I think held up the best, and then I’ll include what my Top 10 favorite from among them would have been at the time and then a critics Top 10 of what I think the actual best from the year were. Hope you enjoy another trip down memory lane!
4Him – Basics of Life
77s – Pray Naked
Adam Again – Dig
Amy Grant – Home for Christmas
Bride – Snakes in the Playground
Bryan Duncan – Mercy
Cindy Morgan – Real Life
Circle of Dust – Self Titled
Dctalk – Free at Last
Fluffy – Go, Fluffy Go
Geoff Moore & The Distance – Friend Like U
Iona – The Book of Kells
Jacobs Trouble – Let the Truth Run Wild
Jon Gibson – Forever Friends
Mark Heard – Satellite Sky
L.S.U. – Grape Prophet
Michael Knott – Screaming Brittle Siren
Michael W Smith – Change Your World
Mortal – Lusis
Newsboys – Not Ashamed
Out of the Grey – Shape of Grace
Phillips, Craig, & Dean – Self Titled
Pray for Rain – Self Titled
Rich Mullins – The World as I Best Remember It Vol. 2
Steven Curtis Chapman – The Great Adventure
Susan Ashton – Angel of Mercy
The Lost Dogs – Scenic Routes
The Violet Burning – Strength
Tourniquet – Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance
Whiteheart – Tales of Wonder
My Top 10 Favorite of 1992
1. Dctalk – Free at Last
I could be wrong but I don’t think that there had ever been a combination of all the things this sublime album offers; rap, rap-rock, samples, world-class singing, and unapologetic in your face lyrics. I can still sing “Luv Is A Verb” word for word, and “The Hardway,” “Socially Acceptable,” “Say The Words” and “Time Is…” hold up all these years later.
2. Michael W Smith – Change Your World
The first cassette/album that I ever owned. This one was Given to me along with my first two tape deck boombox. “Picture Perfect” was/is my jam. Many great memories wearing this one out and making mixtapes from the radio on the boombox.
3. Pray for Rain – Self Titled
They would progressively get better, but this debut has several top-notch songs including the radio hit “Let Go” which was probably my first experience with what would become a favorite band of the era. Opener “You Lord,” Pray for Rain” and closer “On and On” are still favorites.
4. Out of the Grey – Shape of Grace
“Steady Me” is forever engrained in my brain from Christian skate nights and I’m more than okay with that. Great song. I also dig “Nothing’s Gonna Keep Me From You,” “Everywhere That You Go,” “Feels Like Real Life,” and “Bigger Than Life.”
5. Newsboys – Not Ashamed
This is the first Newsboys album I can hang with all the way through. It’s got some bangers like the title track and “I Cannot Get You Out of My System.”
6. Jon Gibson – Forever Friends
If you listened to 90s CCM radio this guy was literally all over the radio. Forever Friends is a strong, but not his strongest overall album. But really, you can’t go with with Mr. Gibson, his 90s output was hit after hit.
7. Susan Ashton – Angel of Mercy
Pop country that I first fell for on her 1991 album Wakened By the Wind, this is a solid follow up. “Here in My Heart,” “Grand Canyon,” “When Are You Coming Back,” and “Walk on By” are among some of her best tunes.
8. Bryan Duncan – Mercy
Hard to deny this soulful singer entry to this list, especially with this album which is littered with hits.
9. Steven Curtis Chapman – The Great Adventure
This one contains one of his most iconic songs (“Great Adventure”) and one that’s fun, but largely cringe-y. (“Got to B Tru,” I’m looking at you!)
10. Amy Grant – Home for Christmas
I know, I know…a Christmas album?! Yes. It’s one of maybe 15 full Christmas albums that still gets regular play during holiday season for me. A true classic if you ask me.
Top 10 Critic Picks
It pains me to leave some iconic albums off this list but my only defense is that several are iconic due to 1-2 great songs but have a lot of filler surrounding them.
1. Adam Again – Dig
Their magnum opus which is saying something as they didn’t make a bad record. This belongs on any greatest of all-time Christian record list without a doubt.
2. Dc Talk – Free at Last
3. The Lost Dogs – Scenic Routes
Supergroup made up of Gene Eugene, Terry Scott Taylor, Derri Daugherty, snd Michael Roe. it’s primarily acoustic/country leaning that shuffles along pleasantly. Top notch songwriting.
4. Mark Heard – Satellite Sky
Released shortly before his untimely death, this has many of his biggest hits.
5. L.S.U. – Grape Prophet
6. Bride – Snakes in the Playground
Speaking of guys that can wail, count Dale Thompson among the short list of names. This album is just pure stank-face rock n’ roll with tons of attitude.
7. Bryan Duncan – Mercy
8. The Violet Burning – Strength
Deeply intimate and emotional lyrics set to pretty atmospheric sonics.
9. Michael W Smith – Change Your World
10. Iona – The Book of Kells
Multi-layered, musically busy, progressive rock, this album is a lot to take in for the first time. Celtic flavoring brings flutes, whistles, and pipes paired with angelic vocals from Joanne Hogg. This is certainly an acquired taste, but excellently done.
There it is! What were you’re favorites from 1992? Which ones do you think should be considered the “greats” from the year? I’d love to hear from you so chime in through the comment section and share your lists!
Other 90s Christian Music related posts you might enjoy:
100 Greatest Christian Albums of the 90s, Greatest Christian Albums of the 90s Vol. 2 (250-101), 100 Greatest Christian Songs of the 90s Full List