It was so much fun to work with the UTR Panel of Critics on selecting our collective list of the Top 11 Gourmet Albums of 2020.  We also wanted to have them share their picks for best individual songs of 2020.  Songs are a little bit tricky, because they are so personal.  Even if both critics agree that a certain album is terrific, their favorite individual tracks might completely vary.  Therefore, we decided to make one larger list with ALL the songs submitted by our panel.  These are not ranked, and appear in no specific order – but we gladly present the critics’ picks of Best Gourmet Songs of 2020.  [Songs qualified if released by a Christ-following artist between 12/1/19 and 12/1/20.]

“Survival” – NEEDTOBREATHE (“A delightful dichotomy, deeply confessional” – Russ)
“Citizens” – Jon Guerra (“Stops me in my tracks every time” – Dave)
“Constellations” – Ellie Holcomb  (“Sung with anguish and intensity” – Mick)
“Christ Jesus” – John Mark McMcmillan (“Knocks us into enchantment” – Justus)
“Wearing Love” – Joy Ike (“Bold and captivating – one of Joy’s career best songs” – Larry)
“What is the Rush?” – Tina Boonstra
 (“God has it all under control” – Garret)
“He Will Redeem it All” – Melanie Penn  (“Perfect poetic biblical descriptions of God”- Kevin)
“Requiem for a Dream” – Phil Madeira (“We needed this anthem of grief more than we knew” – Joe)
“Bet All I Have” – Mission House (“Trusting God is not risky, it’s sure-fire” – Dave)
“Stand” – Jason Eskridge  (“A rootsy, bluesy message to continue to fight for racial equity” – Mick)
“We Will Make No Peace With Oppression” – The Porter’s Gate (“Stirs believers to social action” – John)
“Belovedness” – Sarah Kroger (“Know that you are His beloved” – Larry)
“You Are My Country” – Gable Price & Friends (“My hope is not in the empire/state/system” – Garret)
“Pollyanna” – Carly Taich (“Wildly optimistic and beautiful” – Justus)
“Rest” – The Gray Havens  (“Lay down the idol of productivity. Superb production” – Dave)
“Heaven’s Eyes” – Jillian Edwards (“Expresses her prayers to God, for all to eavesdrop”- Kevin)
“Cains” – Luke Lillard (“Lyrics matched with composition in perfect harmony” – Justus)
“Original Material” – Colony House  (“Anthemic call for us to rise up to be as God has created us” – Mick)
“Silence” – Cardiphonia ft. Sister Sinjin (“Hauntingly beautiful” – Larry)
“See The Day” – Liz Vice (“Ray of hope cutting thru the fog of 2020” – Dave)
“Lay My Worry Down” – Sandra McCracken (“Challenged me to leave it all in the hands of God” – Garret)
“Half of My Time” – Waterdeep (“Winsome, bittersweet, and profound” – Russ)
“Remind Me You’re Here” – Jason Gray (“A gorgeous offering of praise”- Kevin)
“Baby, It’s a World of Hurt Seen Through a Veil of Tears” –  Bill Mallonee (“Timely song in troubling times” – Joe)
“Psalm 52” – Poor Bishop Hooper (“A fittingly dissonant rendition to end 2020” – Larry)
“Heaven’s Eyes” – Jillian Edwards (“Expresses her prayers to God, for all to eavesdrop”- Kevin)
“Gospel First Nation” – William Prince (“An expansive song in every sense of the word” – John)
“God Part IV” – Kevin Max  (“A crunchy, gritty, honest creed from a master vocalist” – Dave)
“Until My Heart Grows Quiet” – The Promise Is Hope (“A wonderful biographical journey” – Larry)
“Let Love Lead” – Terrian (“Points to hope during a year when racial equity was a hot topic” – Mick)
“Sunday Morning” – Tyson Motsenbocker  (“Masterful storytelling on seeking God authentically” – Dave)
“My Trust Is Fixed” – Stephen Gordon (“A chill & groovy remake of an Isaac Watts hymn” – Garret)
“When Silence Is Another Name for God” – Copperlily (“Connects with anyone with unanswered prayer” – Russ)
“Black Boy Run” – Common Hymnal ft. Justin Gray (“What a black father has to tell his son” – Larry)
“Out of My Depth” – Tina Boonstra (“Never has being overwhelmed sounded so good!” – Joe)
“Beautiful Anyway” – Judah & The Lion (“Passionate. Uplifting. Life-affirming” – Dave)
“Runaway” – John Tibbs (“One will find immense comfort in this song”- Kevin)
“Cold Dark Loud” – The Classic Crime (“A hard driving, rocking tune that pulls you forward” – Mick)
“Better” – Chris Renzema (“Stripped down raw honesty, desperation, and hope” – Garret)
“Fall: War” – The Arcadian Wild (“Mesmerizing instrumentation and harmonies” – Dave)
“Who Am I” – NEEDTOBREATHE (“Asks God to come and change our lives”- Kevin)
“Video Game” – Sufjan Stevens (“A stinging rebuke of cheap, entertainment-oriented faith” – John)
“Never Let Me Down” – Pyramid Park  (“A retro electronic reminder that God is always faithful” – Garret)
“Wilderness” –  Kate Hurley & Edenheart (“A powerful cry out to the Lord” – Larry)
“Dreaming in Electric Blue” – Dave Barnes (“Glorious 80s-influenced synth pop” – Dave)
“People” – Jonathan McReynolds (“Provocative without politicizing or proselytizing” – Russ)
“Your Nearness Is Our Good” – Micah | Michelle ft. Liz Vice (“Reminds me His presence is a blessing” – Garret)
“Talk It Over” – Tina Boonstra (“Covers the intimate engaging aspects of relationships” – Mick)
“The Bottom” – Treva Blomquist (“An honest look at personal struggles” – Larry)
“Trust in You” – Antoine Bradford (“A timely reminder we should put our trust in God” – Garret)
“Something to Sing About” – Carrollton (“A foot stomping, spiritual tour de force” – Mick)
“Wisdom and Grace (Psalm 90)” – Rain for Roots (“Haunting arrangement takes me to another place” – Joe)
“Weak, Proudly” – Jillian Edwards (“Brilliant lyrics & a heartfelt honest prayer” – Dave)
“Where Could I Go” – Jonathan Ogden (“Celebrates the hope of a brand-new day in God’s presence” – Joe)
“Shelter You” – Phil Madeira (“Cookin’ with some tasty soul” – Larry)
“You Keep Hope Alive” – Mandisa/Jon Reddick (“Reminded me of God’s faithfulness” – Mick)
“Lights On” – Civilized Creature (“Infectious mix of electro-pop and hip-hop” – Dave)
“Shine Again” – Ginny Owens (“A beautiful, high energy, anthem” – Garret)
“The Last Bridge You Will Cross” – Buddy & Julie Miller (“Tribute to civil rights leader John Lewis” – John)
“This I Know” – Carrollton (“Faith clearly expressed with a bluesy funk vibe” – Russ)
“Holding On” – The Brilliance (“A prayer and balm in these uncertain times”- Kevin)
“Drive Out the Darkness” – The Porter’s Gate (“A needed dose of light and peace” – Larry)
“Rainbow” – SHEL (“Powerful song dedicated to empowering widows in India” – Dave)
“If You Want Me To” – Carly Taich (“An apology to be beautiful and delicate” – Justus)
“New Life” – Lovkn (“Picture of kicking off your old shoes as a step into a new life” – Garret)
“America” – Sufjan Stevens (“Epic breakup song with the American Dream” – Joe)
“Alive” – NEEDTOBREATHE (“Drum beats & guitar riffs encouraging us to live life to the fullest” – Mick)
“Pull Apart” – Summerooms (“Best breakup song of the year” – Justus)
“Don’t Know If I Believe It” – JUDAH ft. Jon Foreman (“Explosive – spiritually & musically” – Dave)
“Counsel (The Help I Get)” – Chase Tremaine (“Intricate, inventive, and accessible” – Larry)
“Make Love Great Again” – Stryper (“This is serious, old-school metal” – John)
“Jericho” – Andrew Ripp (“Encourages us to not let fears rule how we live” – Mick)
“Ten Percent” – Gable Price and Friends (“Challenges me to give EVERYTHING to Jesus” – Garret)
“Innocent” – K.S. Rhoads (“Powerful speaking of truth to power” – Dave)
“Sun Won’t Shine” – Weston Skaggs (“Melancholy theme set to a late 60’s sunny-folk vibe” – Larry)
“The Man Who Needed Grace” – Matthew West (“Plainly expressed folk song merged with pop” – Russ)
“Requiem For A Dream” – Phil Madeira (“Well crafted lyrics match the sophistication of this composition” – John)
“Comfort, Oh Comfort” – Caroline Cobb (“A laid-back plea for God’s comfort at the right time” – Garret)
“Daydreaming” – Jonathan Ogden (“Impeccably captures that hazy feeling of tired wanderlust” – Justus)
“On the Way Back Down” – Paul Demer (“Different perspectives draw different conclusions” – Larry)
“Bucket” – Michael Hughes Watson (“What is in our hearts will overflow out into our lives” – Garret)

We can’t point out all the stellar tracks from 2020, but these are the one’s that really struck a chord with one or more of the UTR Critics.  Listen to Episodes 56, 57, & 58 of the Gourmet Music Podcast [releasing 1/27, 2/5, and 2/16, respectively] for a (YES) three-part audio presentation of MANY of the songs featured on this list.

Please tell us below: Did you looked up any of these tracks and were also WOWed… or what favorites from 2020 you would add to the list?