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  WoW Worship Red
Artist: Various
Label: Word
Label: Disc 1: 17 tracks/73:44 minutes/ Disc 2: 17 tracks/74:54 minutes

Beginning with WoW Worship Yellow, the creators of the WoW Worship series changed their focus, shifting from praise and worship leaders and their songs to popular CCM artists covering various praise and worship songs written throughout the history of CCM. This trend continued with WoW Worship Red. While the CD does feature some of the most popular praise and worship leaders today, it mainly focuses on the most popular artists in CCM covering various praise and worship songs and a few hymns ("What a Friend We Have in Jesus," "Old Rugged Cross," "How Great Thou Art," "Spirit of the Living God," and "I'll Fly Away"). The problem with this new mix is that it results in a collection that does not flow in a cohesive unit as most worship CDs do. One thing that is different from even WoW Worship Yellow is that many (but not all) of the songs performed by CCM artists are ones they have not covered before, such as Big Daddy Weave's "Word of God Speak" and Jars of Clay covering "I'll Fly Away." It just seems that in many cases the creators of this compilation had a list of songs and a list of artists and then placed the artist who they thought would do a good cover of it. This contributes to some good songs, but absolutely no sense of flow from one song to another.

The compilation also suffers from one of the other problems that arose with WoW Worship Yellow--the problem of repeated songs. There are some songs on this compilation that are on other WoW Worship CDs. This compilation also includes a few artists more than once.

As with any WoW CD, there are a few inclusions or exclusions that leave listeners scratching their heads. One of the most notable examples is the fact that MercyMe, one of the most popular groups in CCM today, is nowhere to be found on this compilation. Nicole Mullen's cover of "Victory Chant" flows horribly with the rest of the compilation and leaves listeners thinking that there had to be at least one song--any song--from Mullen's recent CDs that would have been a better fit.

The CDs in the "WoW Hits" series focus on the biggest songs from key artists from that year. Obviously "WoW Worship" seeks to focus on a wider time spectrum of music, but I think that most of the songs should still be fairly recent. WoW Worship Red, though, features two songs from the 1930s, two from the 1970s, and six songs from the 1980s. If there is to be any method to the madness that is song selection in the WoW Worship series, they need to focus on songs that are more recent. Go ahead and give us the best praise and worship songs that were big in that year and not ones that we have on twenty other CDs by twenty other artists. The older songs are excellent, but they contribute to the lack of flow on this compilation.

As bad as this compilation is, there are a few bright spots. Casting Crowns does a wonderful version of "Beautiful Savior," and Big Daddy Weave offers a good version of "Word of God Speak". Darlene Zschech's "The Potter's Hand" is great, but many will already have this one, as well as Michael W. Smith's version of "Above All" and Delirious?'s "Do You Feel the Mountains Tremble?" Other bright spots include songs by Joy Williams; Twila Paris; Brenton Brown; Jars of Clay; and Phillips, Craig, and Dean.

There are two possible reasons for buying this compilation. Either there are several artists on the compilation that you absolutely love and want to have every song that they have ever done or there are several of your favorite worship songs on the compilation.

Burton Wray 6/9/2004



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