With this year marking the third annual release in the X series, it is clear that this compilation will be around for a while. Both X 2003 and X 2004 were a great success, and X 2005 looks to build on that. But what, exactly, is X 2005? While it is clearly being marketed as a "hits" CD, it would be wrong to call this record a rock version of the popular WOW Hits series.
The main difference between the two (besides the genres of music present) is the fact that, unlike WOW, X 2005 is not just a collection of recent radio hits. It has many songs which have not been issued for radio airplay, as well as bonus tracks, three of which are currently unreleased. The result is a strange mix that never really defines itself. The disc is more than just a compilation, but feels like one more than it does a "hits" collection. For example, the catchy track "Bowling Ball" by Superchic[k] is featured on the band's album that has the same release date as this record, so it's hard to call it a "hit" already.
A problem in the album is the presence of Switchfoot's song "Sooner or Later." First of all, it is by far the slowest song on the disc, and doesn't fit in with the overall upbeat sound of the album. Secondly, though the song is promoted as a track from their recently released Early Years CD, it was originally released over five years ago and feels out of place for that reason as well. With Switchfoot's new album only a few months away, it would have been great to hear a new song from the band.
Having said this, there is no question that X 2005 is an excellent project. It contains songs from some of the most popular bands in Christian rock, opening with Relient K's "More Than Useless," followed by "Hypnotized" by Pillar and TobyMac's "Gone." Other highlights include great tracks by Kutless, Hawk Nelson, and Underoath. Possibly the coolest part about the album is its addition of rare and unreleased tracks. New cuts from Kids in the Way and new acts Dizmas and House of Heroes are great extras. Other exciting elements include songs like Thousand Foot Krutch's "Everyone Like Me" and Skillet's "Open Wounds," which are both bonus tracks from re-released material.
At its root, X 2005 may not be more than a collection of various songs from popular artists. However, for anyone unfamiliar with Christian rock, there is absolutely no better place to start than with the X albums. Even if you already have some of the CDs from the bands on this record, the bonus material itself makes it worth checking out. While not perfect, X 2005 boasts an unparalleled lineup and is well worth its selling price. Pick up a copy for yourself and one for a friend.- Review date: 3/27/05, written by Spencer Priest
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