Various Artists – Sounds Of Hits 2020

Crossroad Distributers

Release Date: January 2020

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Various Artists– Sounds Of Hits 2020 (Koorong)

Track Listing:

DISC 1

  1. Unspoken – Reason
  2. For King & Country – Burn The Ships
  3. Rend Collective – Your Name Is Power
  4. Elevation Worship – Won’t Stop Now
  5. Chris Tomlin – Nobody Loves Me Like You
  6. Tobymac – Edge Of My Seat (Thunderbird Remix)
  7. Casting Crowns – Start Right Here
  8. Love & The Outcome – You Got This
  9. Phil Wickham – Till I Found You
  10. Jordan Feliz – Faith
  11. Pat Barrett – Better
  12. Newsboys – Greatness Of Our God
  13. Zach Williams – Survivor

DISC 2

  1. Jeremy Camp – Dead Man Walking
  2. We Are Messengers – Power
  3. Passion – Follow You Anywhere
  4. Francesca Battistelli – Defender (feat. Steffany Gretzinger)
  5. Mercyme – Best News Ever
  6. Crowder – Let It Rain (Is There Anybody?) [feat. Mandisa]
  7. The Afters – I Will Fear No More
  8. Big Daddy Weave – Alive
  9. Tauren Wells – Known
  10. Sanctus Real – Confidence
  11. Riley Clemmons – Fighting For Me
  12. Stars Go Dim – It’s Gonna Get Better

Back in the day, in the mid-2000’s when I started to expand my horizons in Christian music (because in the 90s and the early 2000’s I was only heavily invested in Carman and Delirious?); I branched out into artists like Newsboys, Third Day, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Rebecca St James, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, David Crowder*Band and others. But not before I received a CD in the mail in 2003, titled WOW Hits 2004. Since then I’ve loved the annual compilation double disc, which promoted 30 (and later on 33, and 39) of the year’s biggest Christian hits. Sure some hits were timely and others not for various reasons, while other tracks deemed possibly more worthy were overlooked…but overall the compilation series was a pretty good one. Considering you only had 30-40 tracks to work with, this was the best that could have been offered to die-hard CCM fans and the casual CCM listener. To tell you the truth, some of my favourite artists were discovered by me first from a WOW Hits CD. Through WOW Hits, I’ve discovered artists like Sanctus Real, Skillet, The Afters, Hawk Nelson, Relient K, Stellar Kart, BarlowGirl, Leeland, Superchick and Mark Schultz to name a few- and hence my relationship with God deepened from me listening to a wider range of CCM artists.

But sadly last year, WOW Hits quietly disbanded. WOW Hits 2019 was the last WOW Hits album to be made. In the past, we’ve critiqued the many, many yearly editions of WOW Hits albums (with Jon also reviewing the compilation project SOZO Playlists: Top Christian Hits last year); yet for all its faults, WOW Hits did a whole lot of things right. So with the disappearance of one yearly compilation, does SOZO take its place? Perhaps, but just this year, another release was unveiled that was exclusive to Australia. Sounds Of Hits 2020 is only available in Koorong, Australia. With 25 songs, is this compilation (which is a step up from SOZO Playlists, as it encompasses most labels as opposed to just Capitol CMG) the next WOW Hits, at least for Australia?

At first glance, all of these songs are pretty timely, with a wide array of artists encompassed within the 25. Songs like “Greatness Of Our God” (Newsboys), “Reason” (Unspoken), “Alive” (Big Daddy Weave), “Survivor” (Zach Williams), “YOUR NAME IS POWER” (Rend Collective), “Dead Man Walking” (Jeremy Camp), “Fighting For Me” (Riley Clemmons), “Defender” (Francesca Battistelli), “Best News Ever” (MercyMe), “Nobody Loves Me Like You” (Chris Tomlin) and “Known” (Tauren Wells) would have all been present on a potential WOW Hits 2020, and are therefore timely songs and each inspiring and powerful in their own right; while tracks from We Are Messengers (“Power”), for KING & COUNTRY (“Burn The Ships”), The Afters (“Fear No More”) and Jordan Feliz (“Faith”) are all overall impressive bolters- as “Maybe It’s Ok”, “God Only Knows”, “Well Done” and “Changed” were all shoe-ins for a possible WOW Hits 2020 CD instead of the aforementioned four. It’s not an unwelcomed change, as the more current songs on an album like this the better; however it’s criminal not to include “God Only Knows”, no matter how epically awesome “Burn The Ships” is. Passion, Crowder, Pat Barrett, Elevation Worship, TobyMac and Love & The Outcome all contribute songs of varying timeliness (of which all of these songs are good, but just indifferent to me in terms of my enjoyment, while Sanctus Real’s “Confidence”, which is indeed a pretty old song in that it released a couple of years ago, is still is nice surprise given that these guys are now an independent band with their albums only being distributed through Provident Label Group.

There are a couple of shockers on this album with Stars Go Dim and Casting Crowns both offering songs which aren’t singles at all- “It’s Gonna Get Better” and “Start Right Here” respectively; while my favourite song on this album and this compilation’s crowning achievement was the inclusion of Phil Wickham’s “Till I Found You”, one of my favourite songs from 2018’s Living Hope. And given that this track list was only 25 songs long, there was apparently no room for tracks like “Scars” (I Am They), “Native Tongue” (Switchfoot), “Anchor” (Skillet), “Forever On Your Side” (needtobreathe), “You Say” (Lauren Daigle), “Every Good Thing” (Y&F), “Good Grace” (UNITED), “King Of Kings” (Hillsong Worship), “Greater Than All My Regrets” (Tenth Avenue North), “The God Who Stays” (Matthew West), “Yes I Will” (Vertical Worship), “Freedom” (Jesus Culture), “Haven’t Seen It Yet” (Danny Gokey), “Me” (Mallary Hope), “Stand In Your Love” (Bethel Music) “Gold” (Apollo LTD), and “Church” (Cochren And Co.).

While that hurts me to the bone that this track list wasn’t longer so that these songs could have been included…well this album is infinitely better than SOZO Playlists: Top Christian Hits. Perhaps Australia is going to route of how WOW Hits 1 in 2008 was structured, and maybe there’s another instalment of Sounds Of Hits 2020 releasing later on in 2020. And perhaps the next stage is to release this album on Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon globally for the world to see and hear. But whatever the case though, instead of griping and wishing for certain selections and other certain un-selections; let us instead be grateful and thankful for hopefully a new series of Christian Hits compilations. Is this series- if there is another in the pipeline- comparable to WOW Hits? Maybe. Ask me again in 5 years’ time!

3 songs to listen to: Burn The Ships, Till I Found You, Alive

Score: 3.5/5

RIYL:   Matthew West, Tenth Avenue North, Sidewalk Prophets, Third Day, Skillet, Switchfoot

4 thoughts on “Various Artists – Sounds Of Hits 2020”

  1. “It’s Gonna Get Better” by Stars Go Dim is definitely a bolter- though it’s been on the radio for weeks now. I don’t know of any songs on the radio that aren’t also available as singles. Do you know of any?

      1. Hi Nathan, thank you for pointing out that we have done a review for ‘It’s Gonna Get Better’ from Stars Go Dim. Yes, this song was a single in that the song released on iTunes prior to the album releasing, however the track wasn’t a radio single- at least probably not when this track listing was finalised. May have been a promotional single instead…

  2. Sounds of Hits 2020 is honestly better than anything WOW Hits would’ve given us, despite the fact that it is so short.

    WOW Hits 2020 absolutely would NOT have included “Reason”, “Till I Found You”, “You Got This”, “I Will Fear No More”, “It’s Gonna Get Better”, “Confidence”, and “Greatness of our God” based on what WOW Hits has done in the past. Other songs like “Won’t Stop Now” and “Start Right Here” wouldn’t have been included, but for different reasons.

    WOW Hits wasn’t ever, and never will be if it somehow returns, perfect. The album always had glaring flaws, leaving out some big songs like “All of Creation” by MercyMe in 2011 and “Even If” by MercyMe in 2018, also leaving out popular songs such as “Live Out Loud” (Steven Curtis Chapman), “No Matter What” (Ryan Stevenson), “O Praise Him (All This For A King)” (Crowder), “Slumber” (needtobreathe), “On My Knees (Jaci Velasquez), and mostly of all “I Can Only Imagine”. They also had a habit of leaving out specific artists, like never including some bonus artists again (Stars Go Dim, Dan Bremnes, and NF) while also not including artists that 100% deserved to be on the album (Austin French, Phil Wickham (apart from “This Is Amazing Grace”) and all Reach Records artists, apart from Andy Mineo and Lecrae who have appeared on WOW Gospel albums), and also including double-ups, with 3 of them on WOW Hits 2019 (“Your Love Defends Me”, “Revival”, and “Tremble”). WOW Hits honestly hit an all-time low with WOW Hits 2019, which I figured was setting up WOW Hits 2020 by leaving out songs like “Brave” (Skillet), “You Say” (Lauren Daigle), “What A Friend” (Matt Maher), and “Let There Be Light” (Third Day), in favor of “Lions”, “O Lord”, “Your Love Defends Me”, and “Revival”, which was actually clever in my opinion.

    As WOW Hits is no more, I have realized that some things must come to an end. While admittedly I did come up with my CHRISTIAN HITS albums before WOW Hits ended, it was weird timing that WOW Hits ended during the other album’s tenure. With so many new compilation albums (“Sounds of Hits”, “SOZO Playlists”, and “CHRISTIAN HITS” to name a few), there is an unlimited amount of new music being showcased.

    I will miss WOW Hits for the time being. It was always the best compilation in my opinion, due to the fact that it was the most showcased and awaited Christian music compilation there was.

    WOW Hits 2020 (LN Edition):

    Disc One:
    1. Best News Ever [MercyMe]
    2. Survivor [Zach Williams]
    3. Only Jesus [Casting Crowns]
    4. Nobody Loves Me Like You [Chris Tomlin]
    5. Stand In Your Love [Josh Baldwin]
    6. Defender [Francesca Battistelli]
    7. Mercy Is A Song [Matthew West]
    8. Alive [Big Daddy Weave]
    9. Resurrecting [Elevation Worship]
    10. Build My Life [Pat Barrett]
    11. Dead Man Walking [Jeremy Camp]
    12. Greater Than All My Regrets [Tenth Avenue North]
    13. King of Kings [Hillsong Worship]
    14. Let There Be Light [Third Day]
    15. What A Friend [Matt Maher]
    16. Scars [I AM THEY] BONUS DELUXE
    17. Even Then [Micah Tyler] BONUS DELUXE
    18. Follow You Anywhere [Passion] BONUS DELUXE
    19. Church (Take Me Back) [Cochren & Co.] BONUS
    20. Prize Worth Fighting For [Jamie Kimmett] BONUS

    Disc Two:
    1. God Only Knows [for KING & COUNTRY]
    2. You Say [Lauren Daigle]
    3. Everything [tobyMac]
    4. Known [Tauren Wells]
    5. Forever On Your Side [needtobreathe]
    6. No Matter What [Ryan Stevenson]
    7. Good Grace [Hillsong UNITED]
    8. Brave [Skillet]
    9. Maybe It’s Ok [We Are Messengers]
    10. Haven’t Seen It Yet [Danny Gokey]
    11. Changed [Jordan Feliz]
    12. Fighting For Me [Riley Clemmons]
    13. Your Name Is Power [Rend Collective]
    14. Red Letters [Crowder]
    15. Good News [Mandisa]
    16. Let Go [Hillsong Young & Free] BONUS DELUXE
    17. Born Again [Austin French] BONUS DELUXE
    18. Believer [Rhett Walker] BONUS DELUXE
    19. Safe (feat. Chris Cron) [Neon Feather] BONUS

    WOW Hits 2021 based on that:

    Disc One:
    1. Almost Home [MercyMe]
    2. Nobody (feat. Matthew West) [Casting Crowns]
    3. Is He Worthy? [Chris Tomlin]
    4. Rescue Story [Zach Williams]
    5. Let The Redeemed [Josh Baldwin]
    6. The Father’s House [Cory Asbury]
    7. My Weapon [Natalie Grant]
    8. Echo (feat. Tauren Wells) [Elevation Worship]
    9. Better [Pat Barrett]
    10. Keep Me In The Moment [Jeremy Camp]
    11. The God Who Stays [Matthew West]
    12. Alive & Breathing (feat. Elle Limebear) [Matt Maher]
    13. I Know [Big Daddy Weave]
    14. Way Maker [Mandisa]
    15. One Day [Cochren & Co.]
    16. AMEN [Micah Tyler] BONUS DELUXE
    17. No Impossible With You [I AM THEY} BONUS DELUXE
    18. There’s Nothing That Our God Can’t Do [Passion] BONUS DELUXE
    19. Holy Water [We The Kingdom] BONUS

    Disc Two:
    1. Edge of My Seat [tobyMac]
    2. Burn The Ships [for KING & COUNTRY]
    3. God’s Not Done With You [Tauren Wells]
    4. Rescue [Lauren Daigle]
    5. Anchor [Skillet]
    6. Power [We Are Messengers]
    7. Wanted [Danny Gokey]
    8. Faith (Radio Version) [Jordan Feliz]
    9. With Lifted Hands [Ryan Stevenson]
    10. Safe (feat. Chris Cron) [Neon Feather]
    11. Another In The Fire [Hillsong United]
    12. Paranoia [Tenth Avenue North]
    13. I’m Leaning On You (feat. Riley Clemmons) [Crowder]
    14. Over and Over [Riley Clemmons]
    15. Miracles [Colton Dixon]
    16. Why God [Austin French] BONUS DELUE
    17. Run To The Father [Cody Carnes] BONUS DELUXE
    18. Every Little Thing (feat. Andy Mineo) [Hillsong Young & Free] BONUS DELUXE
    19. What Love Looks Like [Elle Limebear] BONUS
    20. Center Stage [Zauntee] BONUS

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