Now that it's been two years since the powerful pop trio ZOEgirl broke up, an album like The Early Years would be perfect for that jog down music-memory lane. And it is - to an extent.
It would seem appropriate to open up with "I Believe," but that track is on With all of My Heart: The Greatest Hits, the 2008 Greatest Hits collection, as well as on The Ultimate Collection CD duo. Plus, it's not that lyrically strong when compared to some of the girls' later work, like "Dead Serious," which better accomplishes the goal of a bold professing of faith. But the Latin-influenced "Anything is Possible" makes me remember why I loved this group way back when. "Suddenly" often slips through the cracks, but I was pleased to see that this album included it. "Little Did I Know" shouldn't have been. "Living for You" would have been a more appropriate choice.
I was surprised that "With All of My Heart" was not included, but that "Ordinary Day" was. "Even if" and "Dismissed" are natural choices, and I, personally, can never get enough of those two songs, even after eight years. These are unique and mature-sounding pop songs with a bold message. "Here and Now" sounds much too like Jump5, despite the huge age gap between the two groups' members. It may have been a major single, but so was "Plain," and that was more well-received by fans.
The last two tracks were surprising. "You Get Me" was a #1 single, but it doesn't seem right to have it on a collection entitled The Early Years when the song was released barely three years prior to this collection. What's worse is that "Inside Out" was chosen as the second track from Different Kind of Free. The title track would have beem a better choice, or even "Beautiful Name," but I guess we don't all think the same.
In short, I wish this collection focused more on the EARLIER years of ZOEgirl. Why "With All of My Heart," "Save Myself," "Living for You" and "No You" were excluded is inexcusable. If you truly want to reminisce about the good old days when Christian pop was about beautiful harmonies, great rhythms, diverse beats and scripture-based lyrics, then get ZOEgirl's Ultimate Collection two-disc set. These girls are one of a kind, and no one else appeared to truly fill in the void they left in the market. As for this album in particular... don't buy it unless you want to complete your collection.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 5/6/09, written by Alicia for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Sparrow Records
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