If there's any solo artist that can fill a greatest hits record, it would definitely be Rebecca St. James.
But with her being merely 25 years old and having six studio records under her stylish belt, it may seem
a little early in the game for a hits record. However, since Rebecca has been making music for over a decade
(almost a decade nationally), hits are not scarce for her, in fact, perhaps 2003's Wait For Me: The Best From Rebecca St. James
should be a 2-disc set instead of one?
Wait For Me: The Best From Rebecca St. James is the first hits collection for Australia's finest solo
artist and I doubt the last. She has tunes from all six of her records including her self-titled debut
and last year's Worship God, and as an added bonus, there are two new songs on here. Stylistically,
Rebecca has matured a lot, beginning as a straight-up pop artist with her debut, opting out of a more rock
sound with her three succeeding records, and picking up a more synth-fueled sugar pop/rock sound in 2000
with Transform. Last year the radio-friendly pop/rock was turned up for Worship God, but
here on Wait For Me, she returns to the ever-popular synth pop sound for her two new cuts,
"I Thank You" and "Expressions of Your Love."
The fast-paced pulsating beat of "I Thank You" propels this original modern worship tune forward, and is
easily a born hit-to-be. Rebecca teams up with former tour-mate and popular worship leader Chris Tomlin
for "Expressions of Your Love," but it seems slightly out of place on the record. While it's also born
to be a hit as well, Tomlin's vocals tend to overpower Rebecca's at times. It would be probably been a stronger
tune if Tomlin was more of background vocal support and Rebecca primarily sang the track. Regardless,
its transition to "God" is a fair one as the 1996 classic is a quick reminder of why Rebecca has become
such a beloved artist in Christian music. The title track from her 1998 follow up to God, Pray,
offers a more stripped-down pop rock sound. "Mirror," from the same project, follows before being
succeeded by a slightly remixed version of this project's title track, 2000's "Wait For Me." While there's a major
contrast between the styles of the raw "Mirror" and the produced pop of "Wait For Me," it seems to flow
surprisingly well together for this project. The contemporary pop of the Columbine-inspired hit
"Yes, I Believe In God" makes its first appearance on a Rebecca St. James project and is also at home
among the other offerings. "Song of Love," from Worship God follows, a catchy original worship
song, and is aptly followed by the amazing "Speak To Me," a definitive career highlight for St. James.
The only track from her self-titled debut, "Here I Am," is a song that sounds dated by its age
but nonetheless is a decent addition here. The anthemic "Stand," from Transform, follows beautifully
and leads into the upbeat techno-driven tracks "Reborn" and "Lamb of God." The classic ballad
"Go and Sin No More" serves as a good intro for the piano-driven "Until Your Love Broke Through,"
which originally appeared on the Keith Green tribute project Your Love Broke Through in
2002. "A Cradle Prayer" is a surprising track to find here, as it originally appeared on her 1997
record, Christmas, but because of its sound and lyrical content, it's a track for anytime of the
year and works well among the other more well-known hits.
"Breathe," regretfully tucked away at the end (instead of sooner on the track list), is an excellent
cover of the popular worship song. The more upbeat sound of the song
breaks up the string of ballads before the album comes to a close with the renowned "Psalm 139," which
originally appeared as a hidden track on God.
While there are a large number of other songs I miss on this project - namely "Merciful," "Quiet You With My Love,"
"You're The Voice," "For the Love of God," "Abba," "OK," and several others - we can't possibly have all of our favorites on one disc and
this fact is what allows Wait For Me: The Best From Rebecca St. James to be a worthy collection. If you're new to Rebecca St. James's music,
Wait For Me is the perfect introduction to her career highlights. Let's hope there's another collection like
this sometime soon...
- Review date: 3/03, written by John DiBiase