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TRACEY EVISON: Tracking the hits of 2019

This is the cover of "WOW Hits 2019 Deluxe Edition".
This is the cover of WOW Hits 2019 Deluxe Edition.

This final week of 2018 seems like the appropriate time to reflect on the music of 2018.

And, despite the futuristic title of the album, “WOW Hits 2019” provides a comprehensive survey of 2018’s Christian music hits.

Like all WOW compilations, this project contains two CDs, one with 17 tracks and the other with 16 tracks. It also features a worthwhile selection of the songs that were listened to across the continent over the past year.

For years I have enjoyed the WOW series, and this year’s Hits compilation is no exception. Disc One opens with MercyMe’s “Grace Got You.” The runaway hit, “Fear is a Liar” from Zach Williams follows.

The album doesn’t contain a lot of stylistic variety in its selections – there’s no R&B or southern gospel. This project includes radio hits from the adult contemporary rock/pop and worship streams. Hillsong’s “Who You Say I Am” is featured, along with “So Will I (100 Billion X). “Do It Again” from Elevation Worship, “Jesus I Believe” (Big Daddy Weave), “Resurrection Power” (Chris Tomlin) and “Reckless Love”from Cory Asbury are just a few of the included worship titles.

Mandisa’s “Bleed the Same” is a powerful pop hit from the past year, especially in light of the issue of racism that continues to rear its ugly head in our world. Francesca Battistelli’s “Breakup Song” sounds like a real, honest-to-goodness breakup at first, until “Fear you don’t own me…..So fear you will never be welcome here.” It’s a lighthearted take on the fact that many of us are ruled by our fears instead of living in the peace of God.

Casting Crowns’ “God of all My Days” is a beautiful tribute to the power of God. “Each step I take, You make a way/ And I will give You all my praise/ My seasons change, You stay the same/ You’re the God of all my days.” Crowder’s “All My Hope” has been one of my favourite ‘sing along in the car’ songs. Crowder’s simple acoustic style creates a powerful impact with the refrain, “All my hope is in Jesus/ Thank God my yesterday’s gone/ All my sins are forgiven and I’ve been washed by the Blood.”

Matthew West’s “All In” is reminiscent of Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Diving In,” a pop number that reminds listeners to take a leap of faith as they walk with God. For King and Country’s hit, “Joy” follows TobyMac’s “I Just Need U” on Disc Two. Rend Collective’s “Counting Every Blessing” is also featured on this disc, along with Danny Gokey’s “The Comeback.”

I have to say this WOW Hits compilation is one of the better ones I’ve heard. It includes every radio hit I can remember – and a number I had forgotten – making it a great collection to savour the songs of 2018. “WOW Hits 2019” will be a welcome addition to the Christian music fan’s collection.

Tracey Evison, a musician and educator on P.E.I., writes this column for The Guardian every second Saturday. She can be contacted by email at trevorandtracey@pei.sympatico.ca.

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