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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

The Best of Me

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 May
The Best of Me
Sounds like … Patti LaBelle, Mary Mary, Karen Clark-Sheard, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and other divas of contemporary gospel.At a glance … though not an entirely comprehensive collection, The Best of Me is a fitting crash course in latter-day Yolanda Adams.Track Listing Victory
I Gotta Believe
Open My Heart
This Too Shall Pass
Fragile Heart
Be Blessed
Continual Praise
Never Give Up
I Believe I Can Fly (duet with Gerald Levert)
In the Midst of It All
Someone Watching Over You

The music of Yolanda Adams can be divided into two periods: her tenure at gospel-only labels through most of the '90s and the time after her Elektra Records breakthrough at the turn of the millennium. Of the two, the Elektra era is the more exciting. It saw Adams expanding her ministry to a broader audience, getting her music played in secular outlets, and producing some of her most inspiring material yet. Not everything she released through Elektra turned to gold—the live recording The Experience and parts of 2001's Believe were too predictable by Adams' standards. But her stay with the label spawned enough good material to warrant The Best of Me, a greatest-hits collection chronicling her eight-year run with Elektra.

The anthology hits all the essentials, beginning with all the peaks of her now-classic Mountain High…Valley Low: the quiet-storm hit "Open My Heart," the praise-filled "Continual Praise," the Mary Mary-penned "Yeah," and the urban cool of "Fragile Heart." The traditional church number "In the Midst of It All" remains equally striking, a show-stopping, choir-backed tour de force that exemplifies Adams' incredible range and passion for exhortation.

This latter quality is perhaps the set's greatest asset—there isn't one song on The Best of Me that won't encourage the listener. Admittedly, a few of these selections are more generic in their motivational intentions than others ("I Gotta Believe," "I Believe I Can Fly"). But when she's given room to truly minister, as in the poignant "Someone Watching Over You" and the uplifting "This Too Shall Pass," there's no stopping her. This is classic Adams, and the perfect introduction for the casual fan.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.