We had a blast sharing our UTR Critics’ Panels collective picks of the Top 11 Gourmet Albums of 2021.  We also wanted to share their picks for best individual songs of 2021.  Falling in love with a song is a very personal and subjective thing.  Two critics who LOVE the same album might disagree on the best song from that album.  Therefore, the are sharing ALL the songs submitted by our panel – no voting was required.  These are not ranked, and appear in no specific order – but we gladly present the critics’ picks of Best Gourmet Songs of 2021.  [Songs qualified if released by a Christ-following artist between 12/1/20 and 12/1/21.]

“A Place Called Earth“ – Jon Foreman & Lauren Daigle  (“A heartfelt longing for the Kingdom of God” – Garret)

“West Texas Wind”  – Needtobreathe  (“A new level of spiritual and emotional depth” – Dave)

“Arrow” – Candace Coker  (“Unparalleled vocals that will stir your soul” – Larry)

“You Bring The Morning” – Andy Squyres (“Deeply sacramental and human at the same time” – John)

“Color” – Ellie Holcomb (“Ellie creates a sacred space and invites God into her brokenness” – Jessica) 

“I Am Yours” – Needtobreathe  (“Passionately delivered love song to the Savior” – Mick)

“Man That Is Born of a Woman”  – Rachel Wilhelm (“An astoundingly beautiful song – perfect!” – Larry)

“Tears” – Future of Forestry (“Offering comfort to weary and hurting souls” – Russ)

“Soul of Things” – Sara Groves (“Stirs my heart to grow closer to God” – Kevin)

“The Captain” –  Charlie Peacock (“A hard truth about aging with grace” – Dave)

“Mountains of Hope“ – Mona Reeves  (“All the good sounds with passionate vocals” – Garret)

“Signs are Down” – Zach Winters  (“Captures the frustration, confusion, and despair of the past 2 years.” – Justus) 

“End of the Age”  – Brian Morykon (“If you haven’t heard this artist yet – start here!” – Larry)

“Stick Around” – Arthur Alligood (“These grooves are as smooth as keylime pie” – Dave)

“Be. loved.” – JUDAH (“To me, this has the most memorable lyrics of the year” – Mick)

“The Bones of Us” – Switchfoot (“The imagery of digging up graves seemed to capture this year the best” – Jessica)

“All These Questions”  – Drakeford (“A thoroughly honest song dealing with faith struggles” – Larry)

“Broken Harvest” – Madison Cunningham (“High level songwriting – loping, poetic, and prophetic” – John) 

“Powerless” – Mat Kearney  (“A breezy, summertime tribute to love” – Russ)

“Build the House” – Ross King  (“A driving beat underlies a prophetic message” – Mick)

“Seasons Change” –  Antoine Bradford ft. Shua (“No matter how fierce the storm, we are not forgotten” – Dave)

“Echinacea Tea” – Physick (“Represents a long-love relationship in its golden years” – Justus)

“Imago Amor“ – Remedy Drive  (“Reminds us who our neighbor is and that we share one Maker” – Garret) 

“215”  – Brian Doerksen (“A heartbreaking Canadian story about missing Indigenous children” – Larry)

“Without Music” – Carolyn Arends ft. Amy Grant  (“A wonderful collaboration on a truly gorgeous song” – Joe)

“The Woods” – The Choir  (“Perfect guitar work and a shredding sax line” – Mick) 

“Ecstatic Delight” – Steve Taylor and the Danielson Foil (“A treasure chest of a song” – John)

“Who Else” – Bethany Barnard (“Articulates the reality of spiritual trauma and mental illness” – Jessica)

“Psalm 73“ – Poor Bishop Hooper  (“Lilting vocals pair beautifully with piano and strings” – Garret)

“Rich Man” – Weston Skaggs  (“A sobering warning keenly relevant for today” – Larry)

“Poetry” – Taylor Leonhardt  (“A modern song with an old gospel soul” – Dave)

“Jesus I Have My Doubts” – Jon Foreman  (“A thoughtful prayer in response to uncertain times” – Russ)

“We No Entiende” – Propaganda & DJ Mal-Ski ft. Swoope  (“Maybe the most important songs of 2021” – Joe)

“Canyon” – Ellie Holcomb (“All about submitting your worries, anxieties, and stress to God” – Kevin)

“The Medicine” – Common Hymnal (“We need the Lord to heal us of the sin of racism” – Larry)

“His Love Endures Forever“ – Paul Zach (“Reminds you of the Eternal nature of God and God’s love” – Garret)

“Remember” – Future of Forestry (“Carried me through transition, grief, pain and hope” – Jessica)

“Talk To The Lord” – Natalie Bergman  (“The sweetest Jesus Music I’ve heard since my childhood” – John)

“Japanese Bonus Track” – Make Sure (“Incredible sonic beauty paired with a gut-punch lyric” – Justus) 

“Rhythm of the East” – The Gray Havens (“A perfect blend of more instruments than you can count” – Mick) 

“Among the Stars” – Mitch McVicker  (“A stunning song about the mystery of God’s love” – Joe)

“Thanks Be to God”  – Jon Foreman  (“Worshipful spin on Paul’s well-known lament from Romans 7” – Russ)

“Winter : Will” – The Arcadian Wild (“Masterful instrumentation and harmonies” – Dave)

“Good Trouble” – Leigh Nash & Ruby Amanfu (“Taps into the troublemaking tradition of the Gospel” – John)

“Love that Never Ends” – Jonathan Ogden (“Simple truths in an effortlessly listenable lo-fi beats way” – Justus) 

“Reasons“ – Hulvey, Lecrae, SVRCINA (“You are not alone and you have so many reasons to hold on” – Garret)

“Train Song”  – Becca Jordan (“Life has felt like this at some point for most of us” – Larry)

“Hallelujah’s Song”  – JUDAH ft. Caleb Chapman (“So much energy in this worship anthem” – Dave)

“Rooftops” – Vector  (“After 25 years, Vector returns with this hard-rocking profession of faith” – Joe)

“I Believe in You” – JJ Heller  (“Written to encourage a friend to keep going during difficulty” – Mick)

“Fluorescent” – Switchfoot  (“Another clever metaphor from Switchfoot” – Russ)

“Still Alive” – Anita Wilson  (“A groovy, dance-y, funky, blast of a tune to wipe away any bad mood” – John)

“Love Never Fails” –  Andy Squyres (“I drank deep from this song in 2021” – Dave)

“I Need You” – Gable Price and Friends (“This tune has truth with teeth!” – John)

“Haze” – Anna Palfreeman  (“Honestly how my faith can feel at times” – Larry)

“Up from My Youth“  – Advent Birmingham (“Johnny Cash + Hip Hop + NOLA Jazz” – Garret) 

“The Way” – Drakeford  (“Challenging lyrics that inspire long journey faith” – Mick) 

“Find Another Reason Why” – Judah & the Lion (“A sing-out-loud anthem that feels just right” – Dave)

“Highest Praise” – Stephen McWhirter & Jason Clayborn (“Ripping funky melodies” – Mick)

“Come Back Home“ – Petey Martin & Lauren Daigle (“Captures the longing for home” – Garret)

“The politics of Kindness” – Paul Field  (“The kind of politics believers need to practice” – Larry)

“Villain”- Ross King (“Catchy hooks and compelling lyrics disarm the listener” – Jessica)

“Living In The Last Days” – Elizabeth King (“A scorching reminder of our mission” – John) 

“Knowing You” –  The Foreign Landers (“A bluegrass take on the most essential question of love” – Justus)

“Tears Are Smoke” – Bethany Barnard (“Our grief is never wasted – powerful lyrics” – Dave)

“Joy Will Come“- Paul Zach, Liz Vice, Charles Jones  (“A stripped down slow groove of a song” – Garret)

“Shock My Ears” – Chase Tremaine  (“Will rock your ears!” – Larry)

“Shiny Stuff” – Beach Chapel  (“Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit style with an Ecclesiastical perspective” – John) 

“Good God Almighty”  – Crowder  (“An irresistibly foot-stompin’, gospel-infused, worshipful good time” – Russ)

“Psalm 69“ – Poor Bishop Hooper (“A slow haunting song that brings out the desperation of Psalm 69” – Garret)

“Fill The Room” – Brvndon P & Kristal Stallworth-Little  (“A funky, catchy, and free-wheeling song” – Mick)

“Happy or Whatever”  – Taylor Leonhardt (“This song is the soundtrack to putting your phone down” – Justus) 

“In The Hollow” – Michelle Lynn Thompson (“About that fine line between drowning and baptism” – John)

“All Together” – Mike Donehey (“Because of our weaknesses God’s grace and strength are revealed” – Kevin)

“When the World Slowed Down” – Staci Frenes  (“A poignant and poetic reflection on the pandemic” – Larry)

“Flash in the Pan” – Phil Madeira (“This song cooks! Incredible vocals and fantastic instrumentation” – Joe)

“New Me“ – Soulbox (“Strap in and get ready for this energetic celebration of new life in Christ” – Garret)

“1,000 Names” – Phil Wickham  (“This song is beginning to trend with churches” – Russ)

“Ease” –  Joel Ansett (“Layered vocals and killer production” – Dave)

“Overthinkin’” –  Carly Bannister (“Some incredible dream pop with Well-crafted lyrics” – Justus)

There are so many songs that WOWed us that are not mentioned here too, but these are the one’s that came to front-of-mind with one or more of the UTR Critics.  Listen to Episodes 71 & 72 of the Gourmet Music Podcast [releasing in early and mid February] for a two-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 make some new discoveries? Also what favorites from 2021 you would add to the list?