The Phantom Tollbooth

People Get Ready
Artist: Various Artists
Label: ForeFront
Time: 12 tracks/49:54 minutes

People Get Ready was compiled to accompany the popular "Left Behind" series of apocalyptic novels. According to the press release on their website, ForeFront Records intended this collection to "serve as a natural extension to the will help listeners stay focused on the fact that Jesus is coming back."

Not surprisingly, milking another quick buck off a hot trend wasn't mentioned. However, that's exactly what this disc looks like. It's fairly transparent as a shameless marketing ploy--a wanton, naked grab for your cash.

Listen up, kids: Jesus is coming back. It's pretty hard to forget. Regardless of your particular flavor of "End Times" theology, it's highly likely you believe he's coming back. Right? Got it? Good. Remember it. Focus. Now get back to work fulfilling the Great Commission. There's work to do and sitting around watching and waiting for the clock to run out ain't getting it done.

And oh yeah, save your 16 bucks.

There is no justifiable reason for you to spend your money on this disc. There's nothing wrong with the songs themselves, but as far as one can tell, all of these tunes have been previously released. None are rare. If you're interested in any of these songs, pick up the album by that particular artist. If you're interested in hearing more than one of the CCM artists, most of 'em are on the annual WOW compilations.

If you're interested in The Impressions's classic title cut, pick up their Anthology, which also contains some fine Chicago R&B plus Curtis Mayfield's groundbreaking socially-conscious soul music.

If you're interested in Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," find it on a 60's compilation, grab a history book, and hear it in the context of the Vietnam War, the Cold War arms race, the Civil Rights struggle, and the Israeli/Egyptian tensions that spawned it.

If you're interested in Al Green, it's hard to go wrong with just about anything--sacred or secular--that the Reverend Green has recorded.

The "enhanced" portion of the CD is dismally documented and consists merely of a sample from each of the three released novels, and a tease for the upcoming one. There are also links to the "Left Behind" and Forefront Records websites. That's it.

The back cover does not list system requirements nor does it give a hint of what method was used to store the data--under the CD tray a note simply tells you to put the disc in your computer and double-click the readme file. The readme file contains the following wisdom under "Troubleshooting":

"The Left Behind Enhanced CD is pretty straightforward in design. There's not a lot that can go wrong. If you experience any technical problems, try running this software on another computer. If the problems disappear, then the fault lies within your computer system. Should you continue to experience technical problems, you may e-mail questions to..."

Friends, I've been in the computer networking business for 20 years and if I fed customers a paragraph like that, they would FedEx my products back yesterday.

They also didn't even care enough to take the time to run the liner notes past a spell checker, much less an editor. There are numerous misuses of "your" for "you're" in the lyrics and a glaringly misspelled word in the very simple text underneath the disc tray. The misspellings and misheard lyrics in "Eve of Destruction" are so astonishing that one has to wonder why the track isn't listed as "Eva Duhstruckshenn."

If you're still desperate for something to enhance your enjoyment of the "Left Behind" series, look at our "Picks of the Month" and choose something deserving of your hard-earned dough. Dropping an extra $16 in your local church's offering basket wouldn't be a bad choice either.

Leave this disc behind.

By Dave Draeger (1/27/99)