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reviewed by Russ BreimeierCopyright Christianity Today International
Sounds like … a collection of the best from this gospel/R&B/pop group, combining the energetic AC pop of Avalon with the classic soulful pop of Andraé CrouchAt a glance … calling this compilation adequate would be one step more than what is offered with its limited track list, skimpy packaging, and lack of anything new or substantial for fans
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Anointed's first album, which means it's high time to honor them with a greatest hits album. The pop-R&B vocal group from Columbus, Ohio, is known for their strong vocals and harmonies, featuring siblings Steve Crawford and Da'dra Crawford Greathouse, along with former members Nee-C Walls (who left the group in 2001) and Mary Tiller (who left in 1995). With three Grammy nominations, two Stellar Awards, and six Dove Awards, there's plenty of material to be included in The Best of Anointed.
The group's Dove Award-winning 1995 project, The Call, is represented by four seminal tracks. There's the harmony-rich title track, which also earned a Dove, as well the acoustic-based R&B of "Send Out a Prayer" and the dated-sounding AC pop of "God Is All Around." The trio also enjoyed some minor mainstream success with the Dove-winning "It's in God's Hands Now," a sad and bold ballad about the pain of divorce and relying on the Lord to carry both people through it.
The 1996 CD, Under the Influence, lends four tracks to this compilation. There's the jazzy '70s-styled acoustic mix of the Dove-winning title track, as well as the No. 1 pop hits "Waiting in the Wings" and "Adore You." Anointed evoked the classic soulful pop groove of Andraé Crouch with "Walking in the Light." From their self-titled 1999 album, there's the energetic dance pop hit "Revive Us," which echoed the popularity of Avalon at that time (with whom they toured). "Godspot" featured a funky urban-acoustic groove, while harmonies were the focal point on "Anything Is Possible."
The Best of Anointed is fairly comprehensive with Anointed's most successful middle years, though those tracks sound pretty dated by today's standards. Unfortunately, it fails miserably at capturing the group's bookend albums. Spiritual Love Affair (1993) has been completely ignored with the notable omission of Anointed's first hit, "God's Personality." It's strange to disregard the debut album since it was originally released on Word and the anniversary would seem to be one of the key reasons for the release of this hits record. As for 2001's If We Pray, only the generic AC pop ballad "You'll Never Thirst" is included.
At only 12 tracks in length, less than an hour long, why not include more of Anointed's past material? Or how about some new tracks? Perhaps the inclusion of "Beautiful," Anointed's contribution to a Left Behind soundtrack? For fun, they could have also included "Second Chances," their featured song from the soundtrack to the VeggieTales Jonah film.
Top all that off with extremely skimpy packaging—no lyrics, no retrospective, no photos, no thank-yous, not even an advertisement of Anointed's past albums. Only a list of song credits is provided with the disc. The Best of Anointed offers a general overview of their career, and it serves its purpose in that way. Granted, Anointed is no longer on the Word/Warner label, and both they and their management signed off on this album, but they and their fans deserve much more than this effortlessly compiled collection. There's not one reason for loyal listeners to pick it up, and those curious about the best that the group has to offer are almost better served picking up Anointed's earlier albums.