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Posted September 23, 2016
By NRTeamAdmin, Staff Reviewer

Rather than review an album full of hits that have already been reviewed as part of their original collections, the NRT Staff got together and shared their favorite songs included in the WOW Hits 2017 collection. What's your favorite song? Share it with #WOWThatsMyJam!

"You Are Loved" by Stars Go Dim
This was my introduction to what has becoming one of my favorite new bands in the past year and I instantly knew it would be massive at radio. With just under 2 million views on the official video and 3 million streams on Spotify, the song has definitely put this band on the map. Lead singer, Chris Cleveland's falsetto vocals perfectly compliment a message that no matter what we've done or where we've come from, God loves us.
- Kevin McNeese, Creator/Founder

"Fierce" by Jesus Culture
Jesus Culture has been something of an underground sensation for many years in the worship world, but in the last several years, has emerged to the forefront as a powerful movement helping shape how we worship. For years, other people were doing their songs--Francesca Battistelli did "Holy Spirit"... Newsboys did "Your Love Never Fails"--but now, Jesus Culture's name recognition and spiritual gravitas affords them the ability to be the ones to carry their songs to the masses.

I'm extremely excited to see Jesus Culture featured on a WOW collection, particularly with this powerful song from Let it Echo which features Chris Quilala--the guy who wrote "Your Love Never Fails"--delivering a passionate song of praise about the powerful, overwhelming love of God. Hopefully inclusion in this collection will get this catchy, congregational standout into more churches!
- Marcus Hathcock, Executive Editor

"Happiness" by NEEDTOBREATHE
My first listen of NEEDTOBREATHE's catchy, somehow simultaneously exuberant and introspective "Happiness" had me hooked (and provided a great indication of how strong their album HARD LOVE would be). In addition to the song's magnetic melody, "Happiness" instantly sparked a mental highlight reel of my own life, the decisions I've made chasing the things I believe matter, and the moments where I've tried to sacrifice things that maybe weren't meant to be sacrificed. It's a sentiment captured well in NEEDTOBREATHE's trademark tight, intentional songwriting: "I got dreams that keep me up in the dead of night / Telling me I wasn't made for the simple life / There's a light I see, but it's far in the distance / So I'm asking you to show me some forgiveness / It's all for you in my pursuit of happiness."
- Mary Nikkel, Associate Editor

"It's Not Over Yet" by for KING & COUNTRY
In the moment Joel and Luke of for KING & COUNTRY penned their recent hit "It's Not Over Yet," they weren't necessarily thinking about encouraging millions of listeners, they were thinking about just one. Inspired by their little sister's battle with Lyme Disease, the uplifting track was written as a message of hope to her during her lowest moments with the disease. While the first verse lays out the honest struggles she faced, the chorus kicks in with a promise of redemption to those who keep fighting -- an anthem for anyone who feels stuck in a weary place.

Personally, the song is a daily dose of hope to me in my own battle with Lyme. It spends many days on repeat, blaring from my car's speakers at full volume as the catchy lyrics speak life into a hard season: "To anyone who's hit their limit, it's not over yet. Even when you think you're finished, it's not over yet. Keep on fighting."
- Caitlin Lassiter, News Curator

"Breathe" by Jonny Diaz
Day after day, year after year, I get used to the same old routine. When I was younger, I thrived on to-do lists. As I get older, I resent to-dos, because it takes away my time from relationships--God, my life, and others. This is the central message in Jonny Diaz's "Breathe: "Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor / It's off to the races everybody out the door / I'm feeling like I'm falling behind, it's a crazy life."

This song echoes the message in Psalm 46:10: "He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The very fact that God calls us to relax and be still is a message that is counter cultural to society's message: "Move fast, and accomplish all you can, for you." I feel that "Breathe" serves as a great reminder that God calls us to: "Breathe, just breathe/Come and rest at my feet / And be, just be/Chaos calls but all you really need / Is to just breathe." I use "Breathe" as my alarm song to remind me to take a moment or two to just breathe. This song is similar to The Bangles 1986 hit, "Manic Monday."
- Phill Feltham, Staff Writer

"Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle
NRT's Kevin Davis spoke with Lauren Daigle about her smash hit, "Trust in You." In that interview, she gave a quote about trust that really resonated with me about my recent circumstances: "Whenever we try to do things in our own strength and recognize our incapability, that's when we have to find our identity in Christ." God recently delivered me through a very difficult season in my life. Through these trying experiences, I found one valuable lesson, which Daigle sings in "Trust in You": "I've tried to win this war I confess/My hands are weary I need Your rest/Mighty Warrior, King of the fight/No matter what I face, You're by my side."

When I give my burdens to the Lord, I find peace. Daigle continues: "When You don't move the mountains I'm needing You to move/When You don't part the waters I wish I could walk through/When You don't give the answers as I cry out to You/I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You."
- Phill Feltham, Staff Writer

"My Story" by Big Daddy Weave
This band can really write a hooky and truth-filled chorus, and lead single "My Story" is catchy, relevant and worshipful. "My Story" is a modern adaptation of the hymn "Blessed Assurance." The song is an upbeat worship declaration sung with a stirring passion and filled with prayerful lyrics. You'll worship our King Jesus right along with Mike, in particular the proclamation in the chorus: "Of the grace that is greater than all my sin, of when justice was served and where mercy wins, of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in, to tell you my story is to tell of Him." Amen to that!
- Kevin Davis, Lead Contributor

"Feel It" by TobyMac

TobyMac was by far my favorite Christian artist growing up. As a young teenager, I had every lyric from Momentum and Welcome To Diverse City memorized, and I somehow always found myself in the front row of his concert every time he was in town. After not completely 'feeling it' after 2012's Eye On It, TobyMac's latest album is a satisfying return to form for one of my favorite artists. What makes "Feel It" so great is how it blends the fun, playful vibe of old-school TobyMac with the slick, classy pop goodness of the artist's latest albums. I've listened to this song hundreds of times since its release just over a year ago and it still hasn't gotten old. That's what makes TobyMac so special.
- Micah Garnett, Staff Writer

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