Continuing our review series, today we have up for review Wow Hits 2011. Every year since 2000 EMI Christian Music Group puts together another album featuring the latest and best Contemporary Christian music of the year. Wow Hits 2011 came as two discs; the first being AC hits, and the latter being CHR/Rock radio hits. Thirty songs totaling up to almost two hours of music are featured on this compilation. Ranging from Casting Crowns to Skillet, Sidewalk Prophets to Tenth Avenue North, Amy Grant to Kerrie Roberts, and everywhere in between, this album has it all.
Wow, where to begin here? There were so many great songs on this album and from so many great artists I really could not decide where to start listening at! I would listen to each song for a few seconds so I could hear all the songs to try and pick my favorites. This I still have not managed to do. As I said before, this compilation truly does feature the best songs and artists in the CCM community. I have played the album a countless number of times, and it is definitely one of my favorites so far.
The lyrics to these songs are all amazing; they are deep, heartfelt, and meaningful. We have Kutless’ What Faith Can Do, a truly inspirational song about just what faith can do for us. Faith really can move mountains, and this song really moved the hearts of many. Matt Maher’s Hold Us Together, a song about perseverance and love for others, adds to the beauty. It teaches us that together as brothers and sisters in Christ we can do anything, we will persevere, and we will get through it all. My Own Little World is a song about stopping to think about others for a second, this song by Matthew West opened the eyes – and hearts – of many, and it really captures that “bigger picture” that we seem to miss so often. Chris August, a newcomer to the Christian music scene captivated many with his beautifully written Starry Night; a song about his turning back to God. There are so many more songs that I could write about here, but I think I will just have to let you hear them for yourselves. They are undeniably great.
On this compilation we have a wide range of vocals. Just by reading through the list of artists you will immediately know what I’m talking about here. We have Big Daddy Weave, tobyMac, Newsboys, Francesca Battistelli, Skillet, Jeremy Camp, plus so many more. All the songs on here you can just tell come straight from the heart and they are absolutely great. No matter what your favorite type of music is, you will be able to find some artist on here that will match your taste in music. My personal favorites on here are Born Again by Newsboys, Born Again by Third Day (same name, different song), Hero by Skillet, My Own Little World by Matthew West, and Jeremy Camp’s Healing Hand of God. Although you may not agree with my choice of favorites, like I said, there is something for everyone on this album.
To end things up, I am going to be giving Wow Hits 2011 another perfect five. Now you might be thinking by now “OK Jeremy, be a bit more critical now. No way is the album that good.” Well I am telling you that it is, right now. Like with the vocals, there is a musical style for everyone on this album. We have songs like Our God and Hold Us Together which are great songs for Praise and Worship. Then we have upbeat songs like Get Back Up by tobyMac and Newsboy’s Born Again which would be great for CCM “converts.” Helping to round things out we have Skillet’s Hero which has a great Rock musical style. Then we have songs which – at least in my opinion – have a sort of country feel to them; namely Needtobreathe’s Lay ’em Down and Big Daddy Weave’s You Found Me. So as I said, there’s something for everyone in here. Another thing I really like here is the progression from song to song. Instead of being jumpy, the songs just seem to flow together. So to close this up, yes, the album really is that great.
Overall Impressions 5
Overall I think this is a fantastic album which should belong in everyone’s music library. The only problem I have with it is that I already owned a few of the songs and Wow Hits 2010 also had The Words I Would Say by Needtobreathe. The first was my own problem of course, but the duplicate song could have easily been something else. It’s not a huge deal though. Now if there were multiple songs from the last one on it I would take off a point or so, but as it is just one song I won’t take anything off from it. This album is absolutely fantastic, and I would definitely be willing to recommend it to someone else. I am already looking forward to seeing the lineup for Wow Hits 2012!