WoW Gospel #1s
- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 5 May
- Brighter Day—Kirk Franklin
- Shackles (Praise You)—Mary Mary
- No, Never—Kierra "KiKi" Sheard
- Set Me Free—Myron Butler & Levi
- No Way—Tye Tribbett & G.A.
- Heaven Knows—Deitrick Haddon
- You Know Me—George Huff
- God Has Not 4Got—Tonéx
- We Must Praise—J Moss
- Hallelujah Praise—CeCe Winans
- Never Seen the Righteous—Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers
- Let the Praise Begin—Fred Hammond & Radical for Christ
- Glorify Him—Darwin Hobbs
- Shake Yourself Loose—Vickie Winans
- If We Pray—Anointed
- The Battle—Hezekiah Walker's LFT Church Choir
- The Blessing of Abraham—Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers
- The Presence of the Lord—Byron Cage
- Authority—Karen Clark-Sheard
- Stand!—Victory in Praise Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir
- Helen's Testimony—Helen Baylor
- We Fall Down—Donnie McClurkin
- I Almost Let Go—Kurt Carr & the Kurt Carr Singers
- Healing—Richard Smallwood with Vision
- I Need You Now—Smokie Norful
- The Battle Is the Lord's—Yolanda Adams
- Strong Man—Shirley Caesar
- So Good to Me—Vanessa Bell Armstrong
- You Can't Hurry God—Dorinda Clark-Cole
- Strength—New Life Community Choir feat. John P. Kee
Every so often, the consortium in charge of the multi-artist WOW compilations veers off its line of annual or biannual products—WoW Hits, WoW Gospel, WoW Worship—to create something that captures an era. As noble as such historical preservation sounds, ensuing anthologies like WoW Gold, WoW The 90s, and WoW #1s have seemed more marketing-driven than an authentic attempt at chronicling broader periods of faith-based music.
WoW Gospel #1s, the latest in the franchise, is no different. A sticker in the album cover reads "The BIGGEST & BEST Gospel Songs of the Last DECADE!!!" but that's a misrepresentation. There's no question that several of the selections absolutely belong here: Donnie McClurkin's "We Fall Down," Mary Mary's "Shackles," Byron Cage's "The Presence of the Lord," Smokie Norful's "I Need You Now," Yolanda Adams' "The Battle Is the Lord's," the Tri-City Singers' "Never Seen the Righteous." Sadly, a score of others don't.
Omissions, misnomers, curveballs, and other faux pas abound here, like Kirk Franklin's "Brighter Day," a big hit by gospel's best-selling artist, but certainly not his biggest—that title goes to either "Lean on Me" or his smash with God's Property, "Stomp." The same mistake is made with the selections for CeCe Winans and Karen Clark-Sheard, among others—good songs, but certainly not their signature hits. And hey, why exactly did The Tri-City Singers get a second song in this collection?
A few songs from midlevel artists (Myron Butler, Darwin Hobbs) do impress, but others (Helen Baylor, Anointed, Deitrick Haddon) fall flat by comparison. Should any of them have taken the place of, for example, Shekinah Glory Ministry's "Praise Is What I Do," Israel & New Breed's "Friend of God," Kirk Whalum's "Falling in Love with Jesus," or Martha Munizzi's "Because of Who You Are"? It's a shame, because WoW Gospel #1s really could've captured the last ten years of the genre nicely, rather than settling for just another routine entry in the compilation series.