Over the past thirteen years Avalon has become a mainstay in Christian CCM. Their blend of pop, dance, and R&B inflected songs that invariably bring the honor to God are both infective and musically solid. Newcomers to the group can’t go in wrong in starting with The Greatest Hits, a generous sampling of sixteen of their most well known offerings.
Hard-core Avalon fans already in possession of the groups previous hit-filled compendium - Testify to Love: The Very Best of Avalon will find a large amount of overlap between the two discs. As a newcomer to the group myself, each song is fresh and previously unheard, but loner time fans will find only five tracks difference from the previous collection. In fact, the tracks that were recorded specifically for The Very Best of Avalon such as “New Day,” and “Everything to Me” have been taken from that disc directly into this one.
Still, dedicated fans may be able to justify the purchase. A new song, “Still My God,” proves to be a real tearjerker, highlighting God’s unchanging nature through our trials and challenges. The last four tracks on the disc: “All,” “You Were There,” “Orphans of God,” and “In Christ Alone” have been swapped in from previous albums.
“Orphans of God” is a particularly moving inclusion from Stand - a symphonic, tender song of reassurance that celebrates God’s unending grace. “All” is a somewhat more two-dimensional tune, exhibiting a bounty, R&B influence. “You Were There” is an introspective, mellow song with a surprisingly forceful chorus.
“In Christ Alone” draws from the vein that is ever popular amongst CCM artists – covering traditional hymns with their own distinctive arrangements. A beautiful rendition, Avalon’s take on the hymn features heart-plucking harmonies, big, bold vocalizations, and poignant guitar accompaniment in the simpler sections that bursts into an array of strong percussion back up during the chorus.
The classics that were previously included in the last greatest hits collection are clearly appearing again for a reason. “Testify to Love” is an addictive headliner that pops into my head throughout the day and demands to be sung. “Knockin’ On Heavens Door” proves itself as a perennial favourite on account of it’s chorus that depicts the insistent, never-ending prayers of a believer confident in her position as a child of God.