WoW 1998 (Video)  
Artist: Various 
Label: EMI  
It's hard to believe another year has passed.  This year's WoW video has sixteen of the "coolest videos we could find." WoW 1997 - The Video only had nine videos. This year's version has an additional 23 minutes of videos for the same price.  Not a bad deal! 
Most the videos are a little bit mainstream for my tastes, though. Rebecca St. James, dc Talk, and Michael W. Smith reappear with new videos, joined by other mainstream artists like Geoff Moore and the Distance, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jaci Velasquez, and Point of Grace. For anyone who hasn't seen them, you have the MTV version of "Flood" (Jars of Clay) and the VH1 version of "Butterfly Kisses" (Bob Carlisle).  WoW also introduces several new artists: Smalltown Poets, Plumb, World Wide Message Tribe, and Miss Angie.  That's what's interesting about this video--the appearance of so many alternative artists.  Will next year's tape be all alternative?   
Overall, it's not a bad collection, but the video production skills showcased seem to be a step backwards.  Last year's "Take Me to Your Leader" by the Newsboys showed a lot of creativity.  Even Michael W. Smith's "Cry for Love" and Rebecca St. James's "God" showed sparks of originality.  The videos this year seem to lack that special something to make them truly great.  Still, dc Talk won Best Contemporary Christian Clip for "Colored People," and Smalltown Poets won Best New Contemporary Christian Artist for "Prophet, Priest and King" at this year's Billboard Music Video Awards (and both were certainly the most outstanding videos on the tape).  The quality is excellent, so it's not that they're bad videos.  It's just that they're following what's out there rather than exploring new ground.  Now that we have the quality down pat, maybe 1998 will see us push the cutting edge more often. 
Should you buy this?  Yes, if for no other reason than to get the VH1 and MTV versions.  I am much too busy these days to watch enough TV to see them.  The new artist selections are well worth it too; we should see a lot of these new groups in 1998.  If you haven't heard them, now is the time.-----Shari Lloyd 

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