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WoW Hymns

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Mar
WoW Hymns
Sounds like … classic hymns, and a few modern worship originals, interpreted by favorite Christian pop/rock artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Shawn McDonald, Casting Crowns, Brian Littrell, Natalie Grant, Point of Grace, and Building 429.At a glance … you have to wonder why this album couldn't just stick to classic church standards instead of inserting a handful of recent originals, but it's all good—a fine collection of favorite hymns performed by favorite artists.Track Listing

Disc One

Holy, Holy, Holy—Steven Curtis Chapman
Take My Life—Chris Tomlin
For the Beauty of the Earth—BarlowGirl
'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus—Casting Crowns
Fairest Lord Jesus—Natalie Grant
I Need Thee Every Hour—Jars of Clay
I Surrender All—Brian Littrell
All the Heavens—Third Day
In Christ Alone—Newsboys
Just As I Am—Nichole Nordeman
Wonderful Maker—Jeremy Camp
Trust and Obey—Big Daddy Weave
There Is a Fountain—Selah
Here Is Love—Matt Redman
The Solid Rock—Avalon

Disc Two

Doxology—David Crowder Band
The Wonderful Cross—Michael W. Smith
This Is My Father's World—Amy Grant
The Old Rugged Cross—Bart Millard
It Is Well—Rebecca St. James
All Creatures of Our God and King—Bethany Dillon & Shawn McDonald
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing—Mark Schultz
Draw Me Nearer—Caedmon's Call
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty—Passion
Be Thou My Vision—Fernando Ortega
Grace Greater Than Our Sin—Building 429
Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us—Todd Agnew
All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name—Point of Grace
Great Is They Faithfulness—Israel Houghton
Rock of Ages—Chris Rice

Oh c'mon. First the WoW Hits series, then WoW Gospel and WoW Worship, followed by WoW Gold, WoW Christmas, and WoW #1's. After all that, is WoW Hymns really necessary? This brand has always been driven by the marketing and promotion of Christian artists, so with numerous covers of hymns in recent years, a 2-disc compilation like this was probably inevitable.

Actually, the idea's not half bad. If only the song selection wasn't trumped by artist representation. Including Chris Tomlin's "Take My Life" only makes sense—the original hymn is intact, paired with a new praise chorus. The same is true of Tomlin's "The Wonderful Cross" (performed here by Michael W. Smith). But why does Tomlin's 2002 original "Wonderful Maker" (performed here by Jeremy Camp) qualify? Or for that matter, contemporary hymn-ish originals like "In Christ Alone" (performed here by newsboys) or Third Day's "All the Heavens"? Hence why the album is sub-titled "30 Classic & Modern Hymns," but it doesn't really seem in keeping with the spirit of this collection's intent.

On the other hand, it's rare to find this many new recordings on a WoW compilation—9 out of 30 ain't bad, especially when they're generally worthwhile. Covers by Steven Curtis Chapman, Nichole Nordeman, Natalie Grant, and the duet of Bethany Dillon and Shawn McDonald have only previously appeared on the recent Amazing Grace movie tie-in. This collection additionally features new interpretations by Casting Crowns, Brian Littrell, Mark Schultz, Building 429, and Point of Grace.

The compilation succeeds most as testament to the enduring reverence for hymns in the Christian faith. And though the variety of styles won't appeal to everyone, one can still appreciate the diversity with which believers can reinterpret standards for today's churches. We can also appreciate that for a time, this collection is free with a modest donation to World Vision. All of which makes Wow Hymns hard to fault—it is what it is, even if it's not exactly what you'd expect.

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