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Absolute All Time Favorites

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jun
Absolute All Time Favorites
Sounds like … a scattershot version of the best-selling WoW Hits compilations, but featuring the pop and rock of some lesser known, B-list artistsAt a glance … this hodgepodge collection does feature some great songs, but it's all over the place and hardly hits the mark as far as "all time favorites" are concernedTrack Listing Glory Defined – Building 429 Pure – Superchic[k] Deep Enough to Dream – Chris Rice Never Alone – Barlow Girl Blessed Be Your Name – Tree63 There Is None Like You – Shane & Shane Audience of One – Big Daddy Weave El Shaddai – Amy Grant Beautiful One – By the Tree Heaven – Salvador Redeemer – Nicole C. Mullen Day by Day – Point of Grace Blessed – Rachael Lampa Remember Me – Mark Schultz Free – Ginny Owens On My Knees – Jaci Velasquez Breathe Your Name – Sixpence None the Richer Rescue Me – Inhabited Hanging On – Jill Phillips Life Is Good – Stellar Kart

Word Records' fledgling Absolute franchise should get a big "E" for effort. Since its inception, the brand has become the poor man's version of the more established WoW Hits series, trying hard to fill a disc's worth of space with as much label star power as possible, and then resorting to the B-list of less established talent when the options run out. In many ways, the product line is similar to those Totally compilations that appear regularly in popular music—a lot of the tracks featured are pretty good, but they aren't nearly as notable as those that show up on your average Now That's What I Call Music! anthology.

At least nominally, Absolute All Time Favorites appears to be the most ambitious set to date, attempting to compile on a single disc some of Christian music's favorite songs ever (fat chance). Since we're not talking "best" here, and "favorite" is such a subjective term, the Absolute masterminds have more leeway to be creative with the track listing, giving way to some of the genre's most prominent material, particularly diva anthems—i.e. Amy Grant's "El Shaddai," Jaci Velasquez's "On My Knees," Nicole C. Mullen's "Redeemer," Rachael Lampa's "Blessed."

Other favorites—like Chris Rice's "Deep Enough to Dream," Ginny Owens' "Free," Sixpence None the Richer's "Breathe Your Name," and Mark Schultz's "Remember Me"—bring context and variety to a generally good compilation, but the rest of the disc gets more fanciful with the inclusions. Songs like Building 429's "Glory Defined," Superchic[k]'s "Pure," BarlowGirl's "Never Alone," and Big Daddy Weave's "Audience of One" were unquestionably huge hits for their time, but do they really measure up as timeless classics in the history of Christian pop/rock? Other choices (particularly the three bonus tracks) feel more like self-promotion, as if this were one of those $2.99 samplers used to introduce new artists—not what you'd expect in an assortment of all-time favorites.

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