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WOW Hits 2005

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Oct
WOW Hits 2005
Sounds like … several of the most popular pop/rock hits from the last year, and a few that are just now hitting radioAt a glance … these compilations always have a few inclusions and exclusions that leave people scratching their heads, but this is a generally strong entry in the best-selling series, and a good way to introduce people to the Christian music sceneTrack ListingDisc OneHere with Me—MercyMeAll Things New—Steven Curtis ChapmanWho Am I—Casting CrownsYou Are My King (Amazing Love)—NewsboysMore—Matthew WestYou Raise Me Up—SelahLetters from War—Mark SchultzUnspoken—Jaci VelasquezWhen I Fall—Rachael LampaReady to Fly—FFHDisappear—Bebo NormanYou Were There—AvalonEveryday People—Nicole C. MullenThere's Only One (Holy One)—Caedmon's CallUntitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)—Chris RicePray—Darlene ZschechDisc TwoRight Here—Jeremy CampI Believe—Third Day(There's Gotta Be) More to Life—Stacie OrricoGone—tobyMacSea of Faces—KutlessBlessed Be Your Name—Tree63Never Alone—BarlowGirlAll I Need—Bethany DillonGlory Defined—Building 429Show You Love—Jars of ClayOpen Skies—David Crowder BandGrace Like Rain—Todd AgnewBeautiful Name—ZOEgirlLeaving 99—Audio AdrenalineWhatever It Takes—Nate Sallie

WOW Hits 2005 marks the tenth installment in the best-selling series of annual compilations, offering an economical way to acquire the radio hits. However, there's also been a struggle between historical accuracy and music marketing. The WOW titles suggest these are next year's hits, but they're largely comprised of this year's hits, and some are taken from CDs released in 2003.

Getting past the semantics, the 2005 edition of WOW Hits does feature most of the biggest Christian radio hits over the last twelve months, including MercyMe, Stacie Orrico, Jeremy Camp, Chris Rice, Jars of Clay, Mark Schultz, and Selah. "Future hits" are also kept to a minimum, including only a few inevitably popular songs from tobyMac, Caedmon's Call, and the new #1 hit from Steven Curtis Chapman.

This collection also focuses on new artists more than before, appropriately including Building 429, Matthew West, Bethany Dillon, and BarlowGirl. But a song from Nate Sallie's generally overlooked June 2003 debut? How'd that happen? It's also odd that 2004's breakthrough singles from Casting Crowns and Todd Agnew-"If We Are the Body" and "This Fragile Breath"-were overlooked for their newer singles.

Note the absence of mainstays like Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and Rebecca St. James-three artists who could've been included for their popularity, yet wisely left off because they didn't offer the strongest material this past year. The most notable exclusion is Switchfoot, though something in their agreement with Columbia Records likely prevents it. Still, why not include Delirious, Pillar, Skillet, and Shane & Shane instead of Darlene Zschech, Jaci Velasquez, and Audio Adrenaline?

Questions of accuracy and comprehensiveness aside, this is a strong WOW collection, offering a reasonable snapshot of the last year and a current introduction of what Christian music has to offer.