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Every Young Woman's Battle
Artists: Various
Label: Fervent/Word/Curb
Times: 11 tracks / 41:36 minutes

The Phantom Tollbooth doesn't often quote CD liner notes accompanying books, but Every Young Woman's Battle is an exception. Hold on for a moment: this audio compilation to complement Shannon Ethridge's summer 2005 Every Young Woman's Battle is almost picture-perfect, an excellent listening guide.

Now, visit Waterbrook Press' website for details on Ethridge's book, dealing with the age-old pressure of "the world sells sex as the answer to everything. Are you paying too high a price?" Those liner notes sure fit the pace of this compact disc's audio soundtrack perfectly. Fervent Records assembled an incredibly solid set of songs from some of the best contemporary Christian women artists who contribute to the message of the book. Here's the lineup: Rebecca St. James, Jaci Velesquez, ZOEgirl, Rachael Lampa, Superchic(k), Inhabited, Bethany Dillon, Nichole C. Mullen, Jill Phillips, Point of Grace, and Sarah Brendel. RSJ's "Wait for Me" begins the set, and newcomer Brendel ends the compilation.

What works so well with this companion "soundtrack" is that the variety of lyrics and musical styles are well-placed and well-paced; they're not all the "wait for me" theme from RSJ, as that kickoff song merges into Velasquez's "I Promise," stepping up the musical pace a bit with ZOEgirl's "Dismissed." The variety of the music and messages work well.

The only shortcomings--and they are notable ones--are the conspicuous absence of one of the most popular songs of 2000, Trin-i-tee 5:7's "My Body," which should have been included in this set (readers of Ethridge's book may cite other songs that would have fit within this compilation; there's room, as the CD is just over 41 minutes long). And the tone of the music does lean towards the whitebread. It may be disappointing to some listeners that the Superchic(k) version of "Barlow Girls" is from _Regeneration_ instead of the initial release (the original version would have fit hand-in-glove with Dillon's "Exodus" ["Faithful"]).

Despite being less than a perfect set, this compilation for Christian women by Christian women is the absolute best to date and is indeed a dandy companion "soundtrack" to Ethridge's Every Woman's Battle.

Olin Jenkins   August 19, 2005



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