Sounds like … a collection of the best music from Christian artists this past year … or is it next year?At a Glance … the WoW collections are always a great way to sample what's popular in Christian music these days, though the song selections are very odd this time around.

It's that time of year again. Another WoW release, specifically WoW Hits now that there are so many different WoW compilations available (WoW as in "Wow, there are a lot of WoW compilations!"). The eternal question with WoW Hits is how do the songs get chosen? Last year's collection was the first under the new WoW Hits name, and it reflected that with the inclusion of popular songs from the past year, regardless of whether or not the artist was well known. As always, WoW Hits 2002 is a mixed bag of songs that belong on this collection (in my opinion) and many others that left me scratching my head at their inclusion. Is this a collection of the best-selling artists? Are these the year's past hits? Or is this simply a way to create awareness of new albums yet to be released?

Many of the songs are rightfully included due to lots of radio play and attention — they truly are the hits of the year. There's FFH's "Watching Over Me," "Joy" from the Newsboys, Plus One's "God Is In This Place," "Begin With Me" from Point of Grace, Shaun Groves' "Welcome Home," and Rebecca St. James' "Wait for Me." (I predict that one of the latter two will win the Dove Award for Song of the Year.) Stacie Orrico's "Genuine," Rachael Lampa's "You Lift Me Up," Tait's "All You Got," and Jaci Velasquez's "Adore" are also fair inclusions. Then there's Audio Adrenaline's new single "Beautiful," from their upcoming Lift album, which has only recently been added to radio playlists — but I guess it qualifies.

Some songs on WoW 2002 certainly qualify for inclusion, though they weren't exactly smash successes of the year. It seems a little premature to include Joy Williams' "Serious" and Jump5's "Spinnin' Around." No doubt their inclusion is at least half due to promotion, but it seems wrong to include them as major hits and relegate three of the year's best artists to hidden bonus tracks - Andrew Peterson's "Isn't It Love," downhere's "Protest to Praise," and The Elms' "Hey, Hey." In a sense, the WoW albums are all about promotion, so I think it makes sense to promote newer artists … provided that the songs (or the albums) are truly hits. This makes some of the exclusions to WoW Hits 2002 all the more startling. Where's P.O.D.'s "Alive"? What about Sara Groves's "Generations" or "The Word"? PFR's "Missing Love"? Matt Brouwer and Superchic[k] also received considerable airplay. Shouldn't the WoW series be more "hit-focused" now that they've changed the name?