Various Artists

WOW Gold

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Spanning the '70s through the '90s, WOW Gold styles itself as a compact history of contemporary Christian music (CCM), seeking not to define, but to sum up the genre, and showcase the range of music it encompasses in the process. One CCM star after another parades across the compilation's two discs; the only flaw is that they aren't always represented by their best-known or most popular songs. Some choices are no-brainers: Rich Mullins' "Awesome God," Stryper's "To Hell With the Devil," or Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses," for example. But others might bemoan the selection of DC Talk's "What If I Stumble?" over "Jesus Freak," or Michael W. Smith's "Friends" over the pop Top Ten hit "Place in This World." But even if it isn't, ultimately, a one-stop best-of-CCM collection, WOW Gold does achieve its aim of displaying the variety and quality of the best contemporary Christian music.

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