In honour of the new WOW Hits compilation releasing in September, I have decided to make this sentimental Saturdays post about a comparison of WOW Hits, namely, the upcoming WOW Hits 2015, and its counterpart 10 years ago, WOW Hits 2005. While I have discussed the logistics of a WOW Hits list a few Sentimental Saturdays posts back, here I discuss about the slow phasing out of certain artists and the inclusion of a few more when comparing both lists, and the fact that some of these artists that were on previous WOW compilations are just as prominent, relevant, encouraging and motivating now as they were back when they were ‘popular’.
Looking at the 2 lists at a glance, it’s clear to say that there are only a handful of artists that have lasted the ten years. Only artists like MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, Matthew West on the first disc, and Jeremy Camp, TobyMac, Building 429, David Crowder*Band (now disbanded but David Crowder’s still recording under the moniker Crowder) and Third Day on the second disc, of WOW Hits 2005; are actually present in this year’s compilation of Christian radio hits. That’s only ten artists! Which means 24 artists, for one reason or another, are either retired from the music industry, not on a label, not doing well in Christian radio, or are just not popular currently, and are thus phased out of both CCM radio and WOW Hits compilations altogether.
What does this analysis say about music in general? Artists come and artists go. But that doesn’t mean that just because an artist isn’t as popular currently doesn’t mean the songs they have created throughout their career to date are still not impacting. BarlowGirl’s “Never Alone”, a hit that was one of the standout songs on WOW Hits 2005 Disc 2, is arguably one of my favourite CCM/rock songs ever, and is still one of my favourite songs 10 years later. Avalon’s “You Were There”, possibly one of their most underrated songs out of their whole career, is another favourite of mine, as well as Todd Agnew’s take on Amazing Grace in his cover “Grace Like Rain”.
Looking at this year’s WOW compilation, you see a list much most suited to now. Peter Furler is gone as lead of the Newsboys and Michael Tait sings one of my favourite songs of 2014, “We Believe”, based off the Apostles Creed, while NEEDTOBREATHE, one of CCM and mainstream music’s most ingenious and creative bands offers up their most overtly praise melody yet in “Multiplied”. American Idol alum Colton Dixon adds an element of rock goodness that was sadly missing on WOW Hits 2005 with his current single “More of You”, and Aussie brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone (yes, they are the younger brothers of Aussie CCM artist Rebecca St. James) contribute with pop/rock anthem “Fix My Eyes”, another one of my favourite songs of the year (have you noticed that for KING AND COUNTRY’s album release was shortly after Rebecca St. James’s last album to date- Crave was released in 2012 and I Will Praise You in 2011?).
Artists on WOW Hits will always change, and while it is always nice to listen to the current year’s WOW compilation to keep up with trends and popular CCM songs, it is always good to listen to an older album, like WOW Hits 2005, just to appreciate artists gone by that have made their mark on a genre that is still relatively new in the grand scheme of music genres in general. While I am saddened that not all artists ‘made it’ when comparing between 10 years ago and now, what I am appreciative of is each artist’s contribution to CCM as a whole, giving us songs that are truly timeless (yes, I even listen to songs like Michael W. Smith’s “Friends”, Steven Curtis Chapman’s “For the Sake of the Call” or even Carman’s “The Champion” even now…shows you how ‘old’ I am!).
Which song is your favourite song on WOW Hits 2005? On WOW Hits 2015? Which artists do you think will still be on WOW Hits 2025 that are also on WOW Hits 2015? Are there any artists from 10+ years ago that you still listen to now? Let us know in the comments. Til then, check out all the WOW Hits albums on iTunes and Spotify, and be on the lookout for WOW Hits 2015 in September 2014!