Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

WOW #1s

  • 2005 1 Mar
WOW #1s
Sounds like … 31 tracks that have all topped the Christian music charts, ranging from pop to rock to soul to praise. At a glance … the latest in the endless string of WOW compilations is a decent introductory collection of contemporary Christian music. Track Listing

Disc One (Blue):

Dive—Steven Curtis ChapmanHoly—Nichole NordemanI Can Only Imagine—MercyMeIn Christ Alone—Brian LittrellOne of These Days—FFHBig Enough—Chris RiceLead Me On—Amy GrantPlace in this World—Michael W. SmithGather at the River—Point of GraceRedeemer—Nicole C. MullenTestify to Love—AvalonAwesome God—Rich MullinsOn My Knees—Jaci VelasquezHe's My Son—Mark Schultz Live for You—Rachael LampaButterfly Kisses—Bob Carlisle

Disc Two (Gray):

Flood—Jars of ClayKiss Me—Sixpence None the RicherIf We Are the Body—Casting CrownsUndo Me—Jennifer KnappShow Me Your Glory—Third DayJesus Freak—dc TalkHe Reigns—NewsboysGod of Wonders—City on a HillI Still Believe—Jeremy CampGod—Rebecca St. JamesStomp—God's PropertyThere You Go—Caedmon's CallOpen the Eyes of My Heart—SonicfloodDon't Look at Me—Stacie Orrico Big House—Audio Adrenaline

The WOW compilations have steadily grown since they started in the mid-1990s. What was first created to highlight each year's contemporary hits has since branched out into worship, gospel and other specialty compilations on CD and DVD. WOW #1s seeks to represent the very best in Christian music history, with liner notes boldly proclaiming, "If you could only own 1 CD, this would be the 1."

It's hard to back that claim or justify this compilation's necessity. Too many songs have already been featured on WOW Gold (which covered the 1970s-90s) and WOW: The 90s, while many essential older selections are missing. WOW #1s does showcase many solid tracks in Christian music history, but the two oldest songs on the album only date back to 1988 (Amy Grant's "Lead Me On" and Rich Mullins' "Awesome God")-though admittedly, Christian radio wasn't nearly as established in those days.

The bigger issue is whether or not the artists are represented by their biggest or best-known songs. Fans of newsboys might argue that "Shine" and "Breakfast" were more successful for them than "He Reigns." Likewise, Point of Grace's "Keep the Candle Burning" has certainly outshined "Gather at the River." Listeners could also question the inclusion of "In Christ Alone" performed here by Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell, as opposed to the original by Michael English. Also, key artists like Sandi Patty, Twila Paris, and Petra apparently weren't relevant enough for this collection, despite their historical success.

At least this collection does hit the mark with important songs by Michael W. Smith, dc Talk, MercyMe, Bob Carlisle, and Jaci Velasquez. Most of these tracks will stand the test of time as some of the biggest in the genre's history. Ultimately, WOW #1s is a stylistically well-rounded introduction to contemporary Christian music, though it's by no means fully comprehensive or particularly essential.