WOW Christmas (2 CDs)

Dec 06, 2002 02:53 PM EST

The song selection on the long-awaited Christmas entry to the WOW series is, for the most part terrific, filled with all your favorite artists' best holiday tunes.

Where else can you find, all in one collection, the likes of Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven," 4 Him's "A Strange Way to Save the World," and Michael W. Smith's "Emmanuel"? Not all of the selections are what they could be; for example, I can't fathom why Steven Curtis Chapman's "Christmas Is All In the Heart" keeps getting attention year after year, when nearly every other track from his Christmas recording (The Music of Christmas) is superior to it. And Avalon's "Winter Wonderland" is great fun, but it doesn't compare to the grandeur of "Jesus Born On This Day." But no matter; nearly all of the 30+ tracks here are enough to make the collection worth your while.

Best of all are the brand-new tracks, recorded just for this album, and there are several. Mark Schultz and Nichole Nordeman pair up for some lovely harmony on the tender "Silent Night." Rachael Lampa commits to tape her concert favorite, "Ave Maria" (her vocal range and control put the "wow" in WOW).

Disc 2 brings Third Day's brand new, southern rock version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" ZOEgirl dances its way through a modern pop "Angels We Have Heard On High," while MercyMe gives "What Child Is This?" a traditional spin. But it's Audio Adrenaline that steals the show on the final track, a gleefully rock & roll version of "Little Drummer Boy" that you'll be putting on repeat.

While hardcore fans will already own many of these songs, WOW Christmas is still a must-own for its fun new recordings.

Album cover courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Christian Music Division.

By Robin Parrish