Various Artists

WOW Gospel 2005

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Hallelujah! In a rare case of an album title truly matching its contents, WOW GOSPEL 2005 is indeed an exclamation-inspiring collection of first-quality modern gospel. These aren't sleepy, old-time church songs, but rather, largely upbeat, utterly contemporary, and overwhelmingly joyful, praise tunes.

Deitrick Haddon's "God Is Good" sounds like Prince, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder sharing the stage for a rump-shaking funk jam circa 1983, while "In Your Name" finds John P. Kee using his powerful, blues-shouter voice to belt out one gut-bustingly soulful verse after another. With "Again I Say Rejoice," Israel & New Breed deliver a fusion-influenced dance number featuring a rhythm section that would please even the most chops-loving Dave Matthews Band fan. WOW GOSPEL 2005 is an uplifting two-disc introduction to the genre.

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