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The Year in Christian Music: Carrie Underwood & Hillsong Triumph
The multi-metric Hot Christian Songs survey only had two No. 1 songs all year, and they were different in almost every respect from one another -- except that they were both affirmations of the power of faith, prayer and human frailty, and they both used water as the defining theme.
Hillsong's "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" opened the chart year at No. 1 and spent 45 straight weeks there, only bumped from the summit when Carrie Underwood's "Something in the Water" bowed atop the chart in October (she's dominated the list ever since).
Hillsong's track pushes the worship group to No. 1 in the overall Top Christian Artists recap (and they are the top duo/group for the year).
Coming in at No. 2 is Christian hip-hop star Lecrae, followed by format veterans Newsboys (No. 3), Casting Crowns (No. 4), MercyMe (No. 5) and NeedToBreathe (No. 6). Underwood, thanks to the strength of her smash single, finishes the year as the No. 7 Top Christian Artist, and the top female Christian Artist as well.
Christian rap/hip-hop star Lecrae is the year's top male artist -- he scored a string of four top five hits on Hot Christian Songs from his fifth No. 1 album on the weekly Christian Albums chart, Anomaly.
He additionally ranks seventh on the Christian Streaming Songs Artists recap, which is led by Skillet. The rock band's 2009 crossover hit, "Monster," reigns as the year's No. 1 Christian Streaming Songs title.
Casting Crowns' Thrive is the No. 1 Christian Album of 2014, followed by the various artists compilation Wow Hits 2014 and Lecrae's Anomaly. Thrive was the sixth No. 1 for Casting Crowns, which has seen each of its studio efforts reach No. 1 on the weekly Christian Albums tally since 2005's Lifesong.
The year's top Christian Airplay hit is Phil Wickham's "This Is Amazing Grace," which logged 10 weeks atop the weekly Christian Airplay tally. Hillsong is the No. 1 act on the Christian Airplay Artists chart, thanks again to its inescapable "Oceans" hit (43 weeks on the Christian Airplay chart, peaking at No. 1 in May).
In the overall Christian Artists category, Unspoken is the top new artist. The band's breakthrough hit, "Start a Fire," peaked at No. 5 during a 34-week run on Hot Christian Songs.