17) TobyMac – The Elements
As my college years passed, I yearned for the Toby of 2001’s Momentum and 2004’s Welcome To Diverse City that I knew in high school. Instead, I was greeted with some cookie-cutter records (2010’s Tonight, 2012’s Eye On It) that played to way too safe. No one was as shocked as me when 2015’s This Is Not A Test blew away every expectation, with current styles blended with signature Toby fashion. It was one of the best albums of the year. This year’s The Elements isn’t as energetic and cutting as his previous output was three years ago, but still satisfies with an overload of wintry hydro-electric beats and fresh takes on current culture. It’s not necessarily the CCM that I would immediately drift to in my 30s, but I credit dcTalk’s 1995 groundbreaking Jesus Freak record as what kicked off my love for music at 9 years old. Biased or not, I’m with Toby to the end.
Listen to: Starts With Me and It’s You
Forefront Records, October 18th, 2018