As a result of the runaway success of such projects as the WOW collections, it's no surprise Dove Award "hit" compilations have picked up momentum. The Dove Awards, for those not familiar with them, are an annual music awards ceremony, much like the Grammys, but created specifically for the Christian artists community to honor the best and most successful artists of the year. In what is truly a brilliant idea, Reunion Records has partnered with the Doves to release a compilation of the hits of 2003. However, it feels the project never developed past the initial idea phase...
For some reason that has yet to make sense to me, Dove Hits 2003 is a compilation of songs of different styles and genres that are nothing more than merely nominees for the 2003 awards. The question remains, if numerous songs were nominated - clearly more than these 18 - what gave these songs privelege over the other nominees? Perhaps it would make more sense if all selections for "Song of the Year" were included, but that's hardly the case here. While several of those such nominees were included, a good handful were overlooked. Moreover, the album includes "bonus tracks" from three of the six new artist nominations. What made them overlook the new talents of Rock N Roll Worship Circus, SoulJahz, and the established Jeff Deyo is beyond me. The fact they chose Paul Colman Trio, Big Daddy Weave and the overrated Daily Planet and ignored the other nominees seems unfair and biased (not to mention that all three songs weren't nominated specifically in any category, while Daily Planet's "Tangled Web," SoulJahz' "All Around The World," and the Worship Circus' "Blood Of Jesus" were and yet don't make an appearance here). The project has little rhyme or reason to it and only serves as a mere sampler of what the honored selections were. Would it not make more sense to release this project following the awards ceremony and include the award-winning songs and artists on there?
Rants and complaints aside, as a sampler of hits for 2002 and not necessarily Dove Hits, this compilation does have a decent mix. From the chart-toppers of Third Day's "40 Days," Nichole Nordeman's "Holy," and Audio Adrenaline's "Ocean Floor" to the unforgettable worship originals of Rebecca St. James' "Song of Love" and Tim Hughes' "Here I Am To Worship," you'll be treated to a taste of what waves were made in Christian music in 2002. The only all-around unique offering on Dove Hits 2003 is the exclusive cut "Friends 2003," a remake of the classic Michael W. Smith tune, that features a collaborative effort from Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael Tait, Point of Grace, Third Day's Mac Powell, Anointed, Avalon, Joy Williams, and finally Michael himself. "Friends 2003," if not especially interesting to anyone partial to adult contemporary pop, is a unique - and in some ways monumental - collaboration from some of the biggest names in CCM today.
Although Dove Hits 2003 may be a miss more than a hit, it works best as a collection of popular tunes in 2002 far more appropriately than the content its title may suggest. But if we're to see a Dove Hits 2004 next year, I'd really like to see a complete collection of winning songs or nominees instead of this seemingly incomplete compilation.- Review date: 3/16/03, written by John DiBiase
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