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WOW Worship (Yellow)
Label: Provident/EMI CMG/Word Entertainment
Times: CD 1: 17 tracks/77:16 minutes; CD 2: 16 tracks/75:53 minutes
The WOW series of all types of Christian music have been immensely popular, and the WOW Worship (Yellow) double disc set continues the trend of assembling popular artists from A to Z into one compilation focusing on praise and worship music. This particular collection is, however, perhaps the weakest of any of the WOW offerings thus far.
The most obvious problem with WOW Worship (Yellow) is that the folks who compiled this set focused on artists and worship songs instead of a worship experience that flows smoothly from one song to another. This set definitely cannot be confused with a Vineyard Burn service or a Maranatha! theme project. Why not? Just from the outset, Rebecca St. James' version of "Breathe" just doesn't fit after Michael W. Smith's "Awesome God." The mix from one worship song to the next is often disconcerting and distracting.
Quite simply, audiences who want a smooth worship experience should purchase a compilation (even the worship predecessor from the WOW series sounds more fluid than this one does). However, this compilation is an absolute dynamic introduction to the person who is new to praise and worship music. The person who likes Amy Grant but has never heard "(I Can Only) Imagine" -- or Joy Williams but has never heard "Hungry" ("Falling on My Knees") -- will enjoy this compilation. For my ears, I'd rather hear MercyMe's version of the former and Kathryn Scott/Vineyard's version of the latter.
There are some gems here -- under one CD case -- that make WOW Worship (Yellow) worth purchasing, namely Nicole C. Mullen's "Redeemer," Big Daddy Weave's "Audience of One," Third Day's "Your Love, Oh Lord," Jeff Deyo's "More Love, More Power," and Passion's beautiful version of "The Heart of Worship." On the flip side of that coin, there are songs listeners will definitely say, "Oh no! Not that one again." And there are songs for which listeners will ask, "Why did they use THAT version?"
Once again, WOW Worship (Yellow) is not a smooth worship experience. Audiences should study the titles of this compilation and determine if it's a good primer for a friend new to praise and worship music or if it includes enough songs worth the price of admission. If so, great! If not, skip this one.
Olin Jenkins November 17, 2003