103. Kansas – Jennifer Knapp

KANSAS (1998)

Jennifer Knapp

Very few debut albums had the initial sales and critical success as did Jennifer Knapp’s Kansas. In fact, the album is one of the very rare debut albums in CCM to be certified gold, selling well over half a million copies. At the same time the album was adored by critics and still sounds amazing over a decade later.

Knapp also pushed the envelope for female artists in CCM with a heavier rock edge than just about anyone outside of Ashley Cleveland. Her bluesy rock vibe and soulful and husky rock and roll voice stood out immediately in a genre most noted for Point of Grace and Zoe Girl. This originality garnered her two Dove Awards for Best New Artist and Rock Song of the Year.

After embracing Christianity in college, Knapp began writing music, recording those songs and touring to support her new life. Gotee Records caught wind of this dynamic new artist and signed her to a record deal. A few songs from her independent releases made their way onto Kansas and the freshness and originality of the album set her apart.

The first single was Undo me, a rocker so good even AC stations found a away to squeeze it into their rotations. Gutty and authentic there is a raw sense of passione and purpose to the song and to the record as a whole. There is never a point in which thew listener does not believe what is being sung. there is a transparency here that was sorely lacking in much of the genre at the time.

It is too easy to compare Knapp to fellow female rockers Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge, but her style is truly her own and the comparisons are, at best, guides for the uninitiated. Her brand of rock is guttier and yet more vulnerable with a sense of need and dependence rather than self-reliance and independence often associated with the genre.

Not a bad song amongst the lot and most are superior. It ranks amongst the top 5 or so debut albums in CCM history without a doubt and eaily amongst the best female rock albums in history. Utterly, utterly brilliant.

  1. Bill B
    March 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

    This is a fabulous album! Thanks for all your work putting together this list.

  2. May 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    It’s a good album. “Undo Me” is one of the greatest songs in CCM’s history, I think.

  3. June 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    My wife and I still listen to this one regularly. Great stuff!

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