Contemporary Christian artist, Jeremy Camp, once captured teenage me with his passionate vocal delivery and grungy sound. I loved the redemption and unwavering faith that was so clearly displayed on albums like Stay and Beyond Measure. He started his career not long after his wife’s death and his testimony of faith has been a massive inspiration to many. While I’ve become disenchanted with his later releases and have grown out of his music since I still have a soft spot for this fella. So for nostalgia’s sake, here’s how I rank his discography.
I have some praise to give to the other albums on this list so forgive me for holding nothing back here. Reckless was terrible. I actually I gave it away to a friend not long after buying it. I bought a lot of albums after no more than a first listen back then, so there were a few regrets in my collection. I still remember the growing disappointment I felt as I listened to this on the way home from the Christian bookstore. This was when I realized Camp was following the same watered down path every other CCM rock band was doing at the time.
7. We Cry Out: The Worship Project
We really didn’t need another cover of Hillsong’s widely popular “Mighty To Save” on this album, yet along with Brenton Brown’s “Everlasting God,” that is exactly what we got on Jeremy’s second worship project, We Cry Out. While this record isn’t as painfully generic as its follow-up was, it still encapsulates the worship industry at the beginning of the 2010s. I suppose if there’s any positive to take away from this one it’s that it could be seen as a time capsule of sorts, although it isn’t one I plan to dig up anytime soon.
6. I Will Follow
After Reckless came and went, hopes weren’t high for I Will Follow, and for the most part it scratched that same non-existent itch for generic CCM its predecessor did. “Finally Home” took some rather plagiarizing ques from Imagine Dragon’s hit “It’s Time,” but songs such as “He Knows” and “Christ In Me” were solid enough to keep this album from the bargain bin. Along with a couple slightly out of place southern jams, I Will Follow was, unfortunately, another forgettable record overall.
5. Carried Me: The Worship Project
Carried Me arrived on the market not even a year after the release of his debut breakout album Stay. It essentially captured everything that was good about early 2000s worship. It was an era led by the acoustic guitar and a humble heart without any theological discrepancies (mostly). It was a little bland musically, granted, but I still really like this one and I wouldn’t mind if modern worship came back to this kind of simplicity.
Stay was the big, grungy debut from a man with a recovering heart. It was the album that got me into Camp’s music and it still stands fairly strong today, even if the sound is a little dated. There were so many hits here, including “Right Here,” “Walk By Faith,” “I Still Believe,” and the hard rocker “Take My Life.” It stood above other Christian music I was listening to back then as I had never really heard anyone wrestle with pain in song before. “One Day at a Time,” for example, hit with all the force of a hurricane and the aforementioned “Take My Life” left me wide eyed.
3. Beyond Measure
Camp’s fourth studio album, Beyond Measure, was an interesting mix of adrenaline fueled anthems and slightly bland pop/rock. It didn’t really break the mold of Camp’s sound but songs such as “Feels Like” and “When You Are Near” were suggesting a more experimental route that I would have loved to see more fully explored on later releases. And tracks like “Tonight,” Let It Fade,” and “Give You Glory” are signature Camp classics. If you enjoy some good alternative rock definitely give it a spin sometime.
After Camp’s first worship project came and went with moderate success, Restored returned to the grungy rock of his debut along with a more slick polish. There’s a lot of emotion pouring out of these tunes as Camp sings of reconciliation and redemption. It was the light at the end of a dark tunnel and from it came a really solid record. I still spin “Take You Back,” “My Desire,” and “This Man” even today. While a handful of tracks could have benefitted from a stronger melody (“Be The One,” “Letting Go,” and “Innocence”) Restored is an album I have no trouble revisiting.
1. Speaking Louder Than Before
Opening track “Slow Down Time” was all I needed to realize this album was brilliant. Speaking Louder Than Before is the quintessential Camp record in my eyes. Tracks such as the aforementioned opener “Slow Down Time,” “Capture Me,” “I Know Who I Am,” and “You Will Be There,” are some of the best songs Camp has ever written. The rock is fast and addictive and the ballads drip with a dramatic intensity not heard on prior albums. Speaking…. also showcases Camp’s strength as a worship leader with “Healing Hand of God” and the graceful “So In Love.” This really is the only time Camp nailed an album. He can write some excellent songs, but a good album escaped him until this. There are still the less than great tracks scattered around (“My Fortress” and “Giving You All Control”), but nothing is ever bland or cliche. If Camp ever returns to this sound I may just have a reason to become a fan again.