2016 Readers’ Album of the Year: Kings Kaleidoscope – Beyond Control

by Sam Robinson

Released back in June, the second album from Seattle’s Kings Kaleidoscope, Beyond Control, took many by surprise. The songs and arrangements were far more ambitious than their much-loved 2014 debut, Becoming Who We Are, and weren’t of the same congregational nature. Raw and honest with his words, Kings ringleader Chad Gardner wore his heart on his sleeve and shared his struggles with faith and doubt, and anxiety.

This album resonated with you so much this year that after counting hundreds of votes in our Readers’ Poll, it’s clear that Beyond Control is your favourite album of 2016. See below the list of your five favourite albums of 2016, along with what you said about why you loved them so much.

Reel Gospel Readers’ Top Five Albums of 2016*

13317023_1278219798878738_7414307795631577230_o1. Kings Kaleidoscope – Beyond Control

Lyrically, it’s one of the best resources I know of than meaningfully confronts the reality of doubt without abandoning hope of truly having faith. Musically, it’s intricate and big and wonderful.

Creative and unique. Honest lyrics.

The album was so raw and relatable and spoke to the glory of God in the midst of pain

Because Chad and his buds deserve it. These guys are changing Christian music for the better. The music is in itself gorgeous to listen to, and the lyrics are raw and honest–something Christian music nowadays seems to forget about.

It told a story nobody seems to want to tell.

From start to finish it is a masterpiece and a journey. They did an outstanding job on lyrics and music as well.

It’s real and raw and musically incredible while always pointing to Christ.

Beyond Control conveys the human condition so vividly through their artistry. Chad’s growth as a songwriter, mixed with his apparent giftings musically to express mankind’s deep need of Jesus, as Lord and Savior. Whether in awe of God’s glorious and boundless ocean of love, when the circumstances of life are rough and you’re just making the most of IT, and when the weight is too much to bear in the depths of depravity, the Gospel remains the constant response.

I loved it so much because of how much they push the boundaries of not just “gospel music” but music in general. There are few artists that I can think of the can mesh complex orchestral arrangements, the power of rock music, the vibe of hip hop, and paint a honest, yet beautiful story lyrically. Long story short, it melts faces while blowing minds while encouraging your heart to love Jesus more.

I listened to it on repeat for days. The themes are so elegant and I have songs that I can relate to when I’m feeling lots of joy or just tons of anguish and fear. So honest and raw; a true album shaped by the gospel.

The lyrics tap into an honest exploration of one’s faith, and the range of musical style suits each track really well! KK are so creative in what they do, and this album is no exception!

I found this album during a difficult time in my life and the music helped me get through those tough times. I felt the songs resonate with me – especially “A Prayer”. It helped me review my history with God and remind me that he’d never forsake me.

citizens-saints-a-mirror-dimly2. Citizens & Saints – A Mirror Dimly

I’ve found it to be a helpful reminder of the truths we have as Christian in difficult times.

I love the lyrics that focus on our identity in Christ and the sweet sounds.

It’s got some deep grooves and is dripping with the gospel, start to finish, front to back, inside and out.

It resonates on so many levels with my walk of faith, as I go through very dark times, I find comfort in knowing the truth of these songs and that I’m not alone in the questions they present.

the-eternal-son3. Rivers & Robots – The Eternal Son

So personal yet so engaging. I love how intimate the worship is yet it’s still upbeat and relevant. It doesn’t sound like someone in their own world if you get what I mean. It’s great worship. It’s been on repeat since I got it.

I love worshipping God whilst playing this album! One of my favourite albums of 2016. Great, biblical lyrics and sounds. A good mix of upbeat tracks and slower/more calming ones! When ‘Lift Up My Eyes’ is on I want to dance and then to ‘Jesus Your Blood’, I want to kneel at the foot of the cross.

Through their music, I can just concentrate more on God with the atmospheric sound of their music. 

I love the honest worship lyrics and songs that talk about a deep walk with the Lord. Also really enjoy the guitar riffs, very well produced!

sho_the-narrative-1500x15004. Sho Baraka – The Narrative

Timely, musically rich, and Gospel-oriented.

So many beats and grooves, and speaks to today.


zach-5. Zach Bolen – 1001

I can listen to it dozens of times and still feel moved and passionate to share it with others. Give It Time is amazing.

Bolen’s life experiences and passions travel through his vocals, songwriting, and guitar playing so well in these songs and they unite perfectly as a collection on this album. They continue to grow on me the more I listen through the album.

Thanks to everyone who voted, and congratulations to Kings Kaleidoscope for Beyond Control, the 2016 Reel Gospel Readers’ Album of the Year.

Beyond Control by Kings Kaleidoscope is available now at kingskaleidoscope.com and on iTunes. Read our review of the album here, and our track-by-track conversation with Chad Gardner, here. Keep an eye out in the coming days as we reveal our team’s picks, as we announce the Reel Gospel Film and Album of the Year.

Connect with Reel Gospel on Facebook and Twitter.

*Only albums released between December 1st 2015 to November 30th 2016, and were reviewed and featured on Reel Gospel via interview were eligible for votes in the 2016 Reel Gospel Readers’ Poll.

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