Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Wow Hits 2003 [Sparrow, 2002]
Christians--they're back, they're bad, get mad at them. Not that the pap on this annual bestseller suggests the lust for power of the new suburban zealots--just their slickness, their bad faith, and their skin color (with Cece Winans tokenizing as hard as she can). What unites all 30 "hit songs from Pop, Rock, Adult Contemporary and even Worship genres" is derivativeness--a year or a decade behind the times, these artists live and breathe music like Bush lives and breathes freedom--and their use of the second person to refer to Jesus. So far, their bestseller status is strictly relative--triple-platinum P.O.D. sound like Nirvana plus Public Enemy by comparison. In a nation tipping evangelical, this failure to move units is a blessing. But the new suburban fascism being what it is, don't bet it'll last forever. E+