It was barely three years ago that Fervent Records introduced the band to fill up the tween pop shaped hole left behind by Jump5, as pureNRG released their debut album. Now, with just three albums under their belt (not to mention a remix album and a Christmas album), pureNRG has already decided to call it quits. But pureNRG's NRG isn't ready to die just yet, as they are leaving behind a greatest hits collection and embarking on a farewell tour (and, coincidentally, their first headlining tour).
A few months ago, before pureNRG had compiled the final track listing for this hits collection, a set of polls appeared on their website, allowing fans to vote for what they would like to see on the record. Fans got the opportunity to vote for the cover song they wanted on the album (Steven Curtis Chapman's "Dive" was chosen), the final song to make the cut ("Summertime"), and even the album's artwork.
The tracks chosen for this "best of" collection are very hit-and-miss. It includes most of their radio singles ("Here We Go Again," "What If," "It's All About You," and "Radio"), but oddly leaves out their first major single, "Live My Life For You." I believe "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" got some radio attention as well.
However, the biggest weakness of this album is that five of the twelve tracks included are cover songs. The inclusion of "Footloose," a fan favorite, is understandable, but "Call On Jesus" and "Thy Word" were really unnecessary. I could have even understood if "Ain't No Mountain" was included as I mentioned above, but it would have been best to include more original material. Even the two new songs are covers---"Dive," and Audio Adrenaline's "Hands And Feet." When I saw that they were covering the Audio A track, I was very worried, but I think they pulled it off rather well. Unfortunately, the SCC cover falls flat. I expected them to have a really poppy, upbeat take on "Dive," but it falls more into pop-rock territory which just doesn't fit the song. I also believe that fans would have rather had two brand-new original pureNRG tracks instead of cover songs, but maybe that was the easiest way to release the album as quickly as possible.
Another big complaint is the poor choice of "sing along" tracks. For clarification, these "sing along" tracks are instrumental tracks with background vocals (more or less a karaoke track). But the ones included here, "Someday" and "Before The Sun Goes Down," are both slower songs, which are not as fun to sing along to. Another real misstep is that the original versions of these songs aren't even included. That means people who may want to sing along have to buy the original songs separately to even know how the song's tune goes.
Maybe Carolyne, Caroline, and Jordan (14, 15, and 17, respectively) have simply outgrown pureNRG. Maybe they have decided to pursue other interests. Or maybe they just want to spend the remainder of their teen years as "normal" teenagers. Whatever the reason, I'm sure CCM's record labels are already scouting for another tween group to fill in the gap. pureNRG will certainly be missed by kids and tweens everywhere, but this poor excuse for a hits record is not the way for them to go out on a high note.- Review date: 7/16/10, written by Matthew Watson of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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