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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

WoW Gospel #1s

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 May
WoW Gospel #1s
Sounds like … contemporary gospel as performed by some of the biggest names in the genre, including Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond, and many more.At a glance … this hit-and-miss compilation of gospel songs from the last decade is more haphazard than the WoW franchise's annual releasesTrack Listing

Disc One

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

Disc Two

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.

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