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  The Best Of
Artist: Anointed
Label: Word/Curb
length: 12 tracks / 53:13

There was a time when it looked as if Anointed could secure the crown as Gospel music's premier vocal group but line up shrinkage from a quartet to a brother/sister duo was accompanied by a similar shrinkage in the dynamism of their music. Although they are still a going concern, their place in the Gospel firmament has been replaced by groups like Trin-i-tee 5:7 and Virtue.

But when Anointed are good, they are very, very good so the highlights here are as strong as any R&B Gospel being created in the last ten years. So you get incredible moments on this CD like the uplifting and inspirational "Revive Us" which has enough of a groove and genuine vocal excitement to still send tingles down my spine years after I first heard it. Listening you wonder how many personal revivals the track has inspired over the years. 

Nothing else on this collection is quite as furious as that but there are other groovy moments to enjoy. "Anything Is Possible" is built on top of the funkiest medium paced groove you could ever want with some seventies style vocal harmonies and melodies and the brilliant "Godspot" has one of those timeless acoustic R&B vibes that still sounds fresh in 2003. Vocally, this is a good showcase for the nest from Anointed as the group's three vocalists Da'Dra Crawford, Nee C Walls and Steve Crawford  intertwine with great soulfulness. 

Elsewhere other highlights include two songs from 'The Call' album which was the first to really indicate that Anointed were serious contenders. The title track has a catchy groove but it's the album's main ballad which still stands out on this collection. At the time of its release "Send Out a Prayer" sounded thoroughly contemporary in its sound and in the power of the message. It stands as one of the absolute highlights of the group's career.

Sometimes Anointed were tempted to play down the R&B and turn up the pop so songs like "Anything Is Possible," "Adore You," and "Under The Influence" have a catchier pop appeal designed to broaden the group's appeal. It's tribute to the strength of the outfit that they pull these songs off with such aplomb. 

Generally, it's in the ballads that the group sounds at its weakest so sugary material like "God is All Around" and "You'll Never Thirst" and poppy fluff like "Walking In The Light" that sadly make the group sound very ordinary. Having said that, I can just hear a thousand church soloists singing the closing "It's In God's Hands Now" to the accompaniment of backing tracks. It is a beautiful song with a lovely string arrangement that manages to avoid being cloying.

Ultimately, this Best of does what it says on the tin. It brings together a dozen Anointed songs that remind us that they had some fine moments. Although the group is still active as a duo on an independent level and occasionally contribute to other people's recordings, it remains to be seen whether they manage to record in the future material that is as strong as the best songs here.

Mike Rimmer

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