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Kevin Max
Seven Day Jesus
Michael Tait and Pete Stewart
Rebecca St. James
Geoff Moore and the Distance
Considering Lily
The Normals
Audio Adrenaline
dc Talk
End Times Warriors (ETW)
Degarmo and Key
Michael Anderson
Dana Key

X: The Birthday Album - Click to view! X: THE BIRTHDAY ALBUM (1998)
The one label ever changing, ever expanding, ever willing to test the boundaries of Christian music celebrates its 10th anniversary in 1998 with a special 29-track, 2-CD project that is in itself quite different from all other compilations. The eclectic Now Cd is clearly the big draw, and has many interesting twists on celebrating the label's birthday. First, there's the funny-yet-obnoxious-after-three-listens demos of "Robert Johnson," which makes absolutely no sense. Then Kevin Max of dc Talk fame hits it off with "Birthday" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I must confess I never heard the original, but I do love this rockin' track. While AA's "Big House" (the opener on disc two) has gotten old, Seven Day Jesus is able to breathe fresh new life into the never-forgotten favorite. Next, "Uphill Battle" gives us a picture of ForeFront's struggle to be home to diverse and original artists when the rest of the Christian music world was only Steve Green, Smitty, and Whiteheart. Aren't you glad they persevered? Cuts from Rebecca St. James,' the Normals' and Raze's new albums are featured as well, showcasing more original sound we'll be hearing more of soon (all minus Raze, whose rap died out 10 years ago). And for those of us who loved the song "Heavenbound" but HATED dc Talk's debut comes Bleach's awesome remix of the cut. Geoff Moore is able to throw a little theology in the mix, likening being born again to a "Second Birthday," while Eli slows down the mosh-pit pace with his acoustic remake of Degarmo and Key's "I'm Accepted." Hardcore ForeFront fans will like Now simply because we gain a deeper perspective of our current favorite artists, while at the same time rediscovering unknown hits from years past. Speaking of which, there's a another Cd included: Then. It's basically an 18 TRACK treasure trove of radio hits spanning back to 1988. You'll hear dc Talk's "Walls," AA's "Walk On Water," the oh-so-80s "Sound Alarm" by Michael Anderson, Rebecca's first hit "Above All Things" and Bleach's trademark "Epidermis Girl." Every style from inspirational (Geoff Moore's "All is Said and Done") to Celtic (Iona's "Treasure"), from rap (ETW's "Stay Together") to 70's anthems (Dana Key's "The Outlaw,"). X: The Birthday Album pays tribute to the label of paradox, a home for such an alternative bunch of artists--and followed by an equally diverse crowd of music lovers.
- Josh M. Shepherd
May 1999

The first disc Now has a neat multimedia presentation with it playable on most CD-ROM computer drives. There's a long video with interviews and footage from their celebration at the 1998 Dove Awards. The catalog is simply a list of all ForeFront albums to date, with all the tracks listed. Two disappointments: No reviews of the albums and no addition of the Ardent/ForeFront bands (BTR, Skillet, etc.). The real news here is that there's a secret "easter egg" hidden within the program. these kind of things usually open by like double-clicking something or another. Anyway, of the thousand of X Cds sold, only one person has found the easter egg (no, it wasn't me). There is some big prize offered for the first 10 people to find it. For the details, open the readme.txt file included on the Now CD. Let's start looking!
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