Rebecca St. James has been a pop/rock staple in the CCM scene for nearly two decades and she boasts an incredible treasure trove of wonderful songs. Usually I am very critical on cash grab collections such as this. 11 songs from an artist with music spanning 20 years just seems a little skimpy. (Check out my scathing review of her 2008 Greatest Hits disc if you want to know how I feel about most of these "hits" collections.) However, Icon is not most hits collections. Yes, it's short (it actually has 1 less track than Greatest Hits did), but it succeeds in 2 major areas where Greatest Hits failed. The first is timing. Greatest Hits was released in 2008 just 7 months after the incredible 2-disc set The Ultimate Collection (which I still believe to be the definitive Rebecca St. James release); Icon is being released three years since Rebecca has released a new album and in the year of her 20th musical anniversary. Second, Greatest Hits had a poor tracklisting. It featured several non-hits and left out too many essentials. As brief as it is, Icon does a decent job including all of the important moments from Rebecca's career.
The album opens with Rebecca's massive 2003 smash "I Thank You," an absolutely irresistible pop track from her first hits collection Wait for Me. The rest of the tracks represent each of her albums released in the last 20 years (except her holiday album, Christmas, and the 2011 release, I Will Praise You, which was distributed under Reunion Records, not ForeFront Records like her earlier material). "Here I Am," from her 1994 self-titled debut is an incredible worship anthem that showcases maturity beyond Rebecca's years. "God," "You're the Voice," and "Go and Sin No More" represent the 1996 album God, and while all 3 songs are wonderful tracks, I personally felt "You're the Voice" could have been excluded to make room for a better track in her catalog, but it's my only real nitpick.
The pop/rock gem "Pray" is the sole inclusion from her 1998 Grammy Award winning album Pray. "Wait for Me" and "Reborn" represent 2000's Transform, and "Song of Love" stands in for 2002's Worship God. Lastly, the infectious "Alive" is lifted from the 2005 record If I Had One Chance to Tell You Something, while the 1999 radio only single "Yes, I Believe in God" rounds out the tracklist.
As I mentioned before, Icon is very brief, but all 11 songs are true hits and wonderful songs that represent a long and healthy career from Rebecca St. James. If you're looking for a meatier hits collection, definitely buy The Ultimate Collection, but if you're just searching for a cheap record that has some of CCM's biggest hits from the last 20 years, Icon is for you.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 1/4/14, written by Josiah Coulter for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Capitol / Forefront Records
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