The American author Hannah Harrington once said, “He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.”
Indeed, music is powerful. It is a universal language that transcends culture and age. It unlocks a facet in our soul and evokes greater responses to God.
Christian songs are restorative tools that help us recalibrate and recollect – more than what we can do a simple prayer. It helps us connect not only with God but also with the people around us. But just like any genre of music, it is constantly evolving.
To celebrate the contributions of Christian music, we will be listing down 20 upbeat Christian songs that you can add to your playlist today!
Top 20 Upbeat Christian Songs
1. “Middle Of Your Heart” by King & Country
“Take me to the middle of your heart, take me to wherever your love starts.”
We are surely starting off our list strong with an entry from an Australian Christian pop duo, King & Country (formerly known as Joel & Luke). The song features a fusion of soft rock and contemporary elements.
Sonically, it boasts an electrifying rhythmic guitar, heavy drums, with an underlying piano – and of course, how can we set aside the vocal performance of the duo! This sweet combo could definitely bring the word of God closer to a younger audience.
2. “Light Up The Sky” by The Afters
This song will sure welcome you warmly with its atmospheric drums – which it builds upon the duration of the track.
The song was released by the Christian pop-rock band The Afters. The song incorporates musical elements that the band is renowned for – making tracks appealing to the youth without losing the song’s meaning. Such elements include a spacious drum built upon by frail keys and a guitar kick in the chorus.
The track was released as the lead single of an album with the same name in 2010 and eventually earned the band a number one in Billboard’s Christian charts.
3. “Promises” by Sanctus Real
The track served as the lead single of Run (2012), the sixth full-length album by the Christian alternative rock band Sanctus Real. It was composed by all the members of the band alongside Graalman, Hammit, Prevost, and Rohman.
The track, upon listening, features sonic elements typical to many Christian pop-rock tracks. This includes a beautiful blend of electric guitar, raw drums, cymbals, and strong bass that would surely get your head banging. A notable section of the song is its bridge, where everything was shortly stripped down, and the vocals were heavily reverbed. This eventually lead to a perfect entry point for a final chorus.
4. “Words” by Hawk Nelson
The track was released in 2013 as the first single off of the album Made by Hawk Nelson, a Canadian rock band. It featured Bart Millard of MercyMe, which helped the song secure the top spot of Billboard’s Christian Charts.
The song starts off with keyboard chords subtly supported by an electric guitar – which is eventually built upon by raw drums. The song surely features one of the most contemporarily sounding instrumentals, and its appeal is greatly exacerbated by an amazing vocal performance. Let’s not forget about that final chorus kicked off by a total beat drop and some chilling vocals.
5. “Hero” by Skillet
Hero, just like most of the songs in this list so far, also served as a lead single. It is a song by the American Christian rock band Skillet as part of their album Awake released in 2009. Lyrically, it talks about Jesus Christ as a savior. The song was able to gather an impressive 12,000 first-week sales.
It was used as a promo song for one of the games in the 2009 National Football League kickoffs. The song was also featured in the blockbuster Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
6. “Reach” by Peter Andrew Fuller
Peter Andrew Fuller, in 2009, left Newsboy that he formed way back in 1985 – this is to pursue his solo career. Through this journey, he was able to release his debut album On Fire in 2011, which featured Reach as its lead single.
The track starts strong with the lines, “I fall again and again but You whisper, “You’re still mine.” You feel the pain of the world but You never push mine aside.” Its verse is accompanied by a rhythmic section of violin supported by drums. The song would then proceed into this grandiose chorus with the help of an atmospheric electric guitar.
7. “Awake and Alive” by Skillet
Yet again, we have another song from Skillet on this least – which speaks a lot about the band’s consistency.
Not to mention, this is the second song off of the 2009 album Awake. Awake and Alive served as the third official single off of the album and was released in 2010. The song was the band’s biggest hit at the time, being its first US Hot 100 entry. It also topped the Billboard Christian Charts.
Lyrically, the song talks about the power of faith, especially at times when life is trying to pull you down.
8. “Starry Night” by Chris August
This track was surely an amazing career launcher.
Starry Night was the debut single of Chris August, an American Christian musician known for his contemporary tunes. The song served as the lead track for his first CD No Far Away released in 2010.
The song was a critical success, nabbing multiple spots in year-ender lists for Christian songs. It also bagged Dove Award nominations, which included a song of the year. The song’s commercial success can also attest to its quality, topping the Billboard Christian Charts. In the song, August talks about appreciation for God’s creations.
9. “Even If” by MercyMe
You’ve got a tidbit on MercyMe earlier, and it is now time to get them on our list.
MercyMe is undoubtedly a staple in contemporary Christian music. A testament to this may be one of their most recent releases Even If. The track served as the lead single of their ninth studio album Lifer released in 2017.
The song utilizes a smart interpolation of Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss’ hymn It Is Well With My Soul. It nabbed the top spot in Billboard’s Hot Christian songs, earning the band’s 12th chart-topper.
10.“Courageous” by Casting Crowns
Casting Crowns, a contemporary Christian band, released Courageous in 2011 as the first single from their album Come to the Well. The song was a blend of soft and pop-rock – a perfect representative of the overall sound of the album.
According to musical critics, the song was definitely a highlight of the album, with many dubbing it as the best. This positive take was backed by commercial success as it topped Billboard’s Christian Charts. It lyrically talks about how fathers should be greater leaders of faith.
11.“Grace On Top Of Grace” by Fellowship Creative
When it comes to worship music, Texas will always represent.
Grace On Top Of Grace is a song by the American Christian band Fellowship Creative. It was released as a single off of the 2016 album Eclipse. The critically praised track helped propel the project inside the top 30 of the Billboard Christian Albums chart.
It starts of grandiose, incorporating a lot of contemporary elements. The verse is accompanied by a rhythmic guitar section supported by heavy drums.
12.“Zeal” by The Belonging Co.
Hillsong United is in a league of its own, but The Belonging Co. was indeed successful in creating a reminiscent track.
Zeal incorporates a sound that would greatly appeal to the youth, and this is not surprising considering that the American Christian band just debuted in 2017. This track was released as a single off of their debut album All the Earth (2017) – which peaked at number two in the Billboard Christian Albums chart.
Sonically it incorporates your go-to Christian pop-rock sound, which you can listen here:
13.“Hindsight” by Hillsong Young & Free
If there is something that will set this song aside from the rest, it would be its novel lyrics on the words of God.
Hillsong Young & Free is known for artistic lyricism, and this song is a great display of that. This is amid a sea of worship songs that would typically reuse the same metaphors: “And on the days the furnace finds my faith, You’re the fourth within the flames.”
14.“Let Go” by Hillsong Young & Free
Here we go with a back-to-back entry from Hillsong Young & Free!
Let Go is a track released from the same album as Hindsight – III released in 2018. the song utilizes several elements typical to that of mainstream pop songs. This includes swirling synthesizers, synthetic drums, vocal sound effects, and even a full-on EDM beat drop. It is basically your go-to electro dance-pop, but for worship!
The singles helped boost the album inside the Billboard Hot 200 and secure the number two spot in the Christian albums chart.
15.“Never Get Over It” by Michael Neale
If there’s a song that opens up with so much positivity (both lyrically and sonically), it would be this song!
Just like Hillsong Young & Free Songs, this track surely utilized amazing lyricism. Not to mention Michael Neale’s vocal performance is something worth lauding. The song opens up with an electric guitar subtly supported by real drums. It then opens up to this spacious, atmospheric first chorus that will instantly get stuck in your head. This is followed by a horn section, which you do not typically hear in worship songs!
16.“God So Loved” by We The Kingdom
Of course, how can we forget to add some hint of country in our list?
As we know, Christian music can get incredibly versatile – and this song is a testimony. The track was released by We The Kingdom from their album Live At The Wheelhouse. The tune’s beautiful lyrics were made even more beautiful by the vocal harmonies that seat smoothly along with an acoustic guitar and some raw percussions.
17.“You Are The Light” by Ovation Worship
This song may be one of the most critically (and fan) acclaimed ones on this list.
You Are The Light was released by Ovation Worship as part of their live album – which makes it more impressive. Just like many contemporary rock tracks, it incorporated an atmospheric mixture of electric guitars and percussion, but with a modern touch of synthesizers.
But what makes this song a cut above the rest is its rap interlude, which leads into a grandiose final chorus.
18.“Sing Wherever I Go” by We The Kingdom
Despite being a relatively new band, We The Kingdom makes another entry in this list. And how can you blame us? This song’s intro, alone, can you get you on your feet.
This track was released as part of the studio album Live At The Wheelhouse (similar to that of God So Loved). The song’s authentic worship was exacerbated by the rock-country sound that made it extra refreshing! Not to mention, this song’s hook can easily get stuck in your head.
19.“Oh My Soul” by Travis Cottrell
This song interpolates everything that you would look for in a contemporary worship song. It may be a generic sound for many, but it’s a reliable go-to choice!
Oh My Soul is a contemporary worship track released by Travis Cottrell as part of his album Spirit Rise. Cottrell’s vocal performance was commendable for this track, and the instrumentals complemented it very well. The song was sonically constant throughout, utilizing an electric guitar and raw percussions.
20.“Open Up the Heavens” by Meredith Andrews
We will be closing off our list with an incredible track from an incredibly talented woman.
For many, it is rare to hear worship song primarily sung by a woman – and so we opted to recommend a track that usually flied off the radar. Meredith Andrews released this song as part of her full-length project Worth It All. The song blends contemporary rock elements with a bit of country-pop, with a performance sort of reminiscent to that of Taylor Swift.
It is mesmerizing to imagine that what we’ve listed is only a small fraction in the sea of amazing upbeat Christian songs – all of which are from artists who work extra hard to get the word of God closer to the youth.
You might have heard different instruments, sounds, lyrics, and vocal performances – but all of them lay in a common ground that is God’s promises and the words of the Holy Bible.
Above all of this, may we not forget that the value of these tunes does not lie on whether they have a catchy hook or a sick guitar solo. Rather, its worth is intrinsic as it was made for the glory of God.