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WoW Hits 2007

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Oct
WoW Hits 2007
Sounds like … the year's most popular Christian pop/rock, including Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp, Michael W. Smith, Relient K, and many moreAt a glance … as usual, the latest installment has a few questionable choices, but more often seems to get it right in compiling the past year's biggest hits in Christian pop/rockTrack ListingDisc One: Lifesong–Casting Crowns So Long Self–MercyMe How Great Is Our God–Chris Tomlin My Savior, My God–Aaron Shust This Man–Jeremy Camp Held–Natalie Grant Cry Out to Jesus–Third Day Only Grace–Matthew West Wholly Yours–David Crowder Band What If–Nichole Nordeman Welcome Home (You)–Brian Littrell I Am–Mark Schultz Here I Am–Michael W. Smith I Am Free–Newsboys Without You–Big Daddy Weave Happy–Ayiesha WoodsDisc Two: Let Go–BarlowGirl Burn for You (Shortwave Radio Remix)–tobyMac Who I Am Hates Who I've Been–Relient K We Live–Superchic[k] Everything You Ever Wanted–Hawk Nelson Ready for You–Kutless Dead Man (Carry Me)–Jars of Clay We–Joy Williams I'm Not Alright–Sanctus Real Fearless–Building 429 Alive–Rebecca St. James All That I Am–The Afters Free–Shawn McDonald Fire–Krystal Meyers I Can't Do This–Plumb Sound of Melodies–Leeland Can't Go On–Group1Crew

Get used to it. There's simply no fixing the titles of these popular WoW albums, which identify yesterday's most popular songs as tomorrow's hits. Nevertheless, after confusing old with new for a while, the series seems to have regained its focus as an effective snapshot of the biggest successes in Christian music over the past year—a "year" that extends back to songs available in stores as far back as 2004.

WoW Hits 2007 features many of the 2006 Song of the Year nominees for the Gospel Music Awards, which means the album includes some hits from late 2005. Naturally Chris Tomlin's worshipful "How Great Is Our God" is included, as well as Natalie Grant's "Held" and Third Day's Hurricane Katrina anthem "Cry Out to Jesus." The presence of Casting Crowns is also a sure bet, even though "Praise You in This Storm" should be here over "Lifesong"—expect it on WoW Hits 2008. Mark Schultz's "I Am" and Relient K's "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" represent two of the year's bigger hits for inspirational and CHR radio formats, respectively.

Also credit this set for recognizing some of the brightest rising stars, such as BarlowGirl, The Afters, Hawk Nelson, and especially Aaron Shust's breakthrough single "My Savior, My God," though Bethany Dillon seems conspicuously absent. And props for selecting three of the year's most promising new artists—Leeland, Ayiesha Woods, and "Can't Go On" from Group1Crew's forthcoming debut.

Some selections seem to be based more on an artist's long-term popularity than anything else. Michael W. Smith's "Here I Am," a minor hit from early 2005, feels well past its prime, and Newsboys' "I Am Free" from their forthcoming Go project continues the unfortunate trend of using a worship cover to trump an artist's superior original material as the future radio hit. Some questionable inclusions aside (Big Daddy WeavePlumb … are they really that big?), WoW Hits 2007 gets the overall job done, whether you're new to Christian pop/rock or looking for a concise collection of the year's biggest hits.

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