Reviewed by Michael Ehret
Far From Home : The FFH Collection
"...[Far From Home] reminds me of how good FFH really is."
It’s a bit of a sneaky marketing ploy, actually, and I wish someone at Essential Records would explain it. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the latest release from Christian pop group FFH, Far From Home: The FFH Collection.
Oh, you say, there’s a new FFH greatest hits disc? Actually, no. That’s the sneaky part. This is not FFH’s Greatest Hits, which rightfully could have been expected after six full albums, seven number one singles, and 17 overall top five hits.
No, this disc is called The FFH Collection, which must be how they get away with including only 10 songs – 10. Not 17, as in how many Top Five hits they’ve had. Just 10. They didn’t even include all seven of their number ones (missing is “Before It Was Said,” On My Cross,” and “Watching Over Me”). And did I mention this is not a “value-priced” collection?
And it’s a shame, really, because FFH is one of the flagship artists of contemporary Christian pop music. Right up there with Avalon. FFH deserved a true greatest hits collection – and so did we, their fans. But this isn’t it.
This disc includes three songs from their label debut I Want To Be Like You (1998); only the title track from the follow-up Found A Place (2000); just two songs each from Have I Ever Told You (2001) and Ready to Fly (2003); and the title songs only from Still the Cross (2004) and Voice from Home (2005).
What is included reminds me of how good FFH really is. “Big Fish” still sparkles with infectious enthusiasm. “Open Up The Sky” remains a transcendent slice of pop magic that also encourages believers that this world is not all there is. “You Found Me,” where Jeromy and Jennifer Deibler trade vocals, exults in the realization that God is always looking for His children – even when we aren’t looking for Him.
Your average CD holds about 78 minutes of music. There are 41 glorious minutes here – and 37 wasted ones. No greatest hits collection contains everything, but normally listeners at least get a couple new songs to make up for it. Not this time.
As good as everything here is, I can’t recommend you spend your money on Far From Home: The FFH Collection. Save for the inevitable follow up package fans will demand. Maybe it will be a true greatest hits.
Michael Ehret is a music maven who has written about music, secular and Christian, as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star newspaper, several Internet sites, and even CCM magazine. He is also the editor of the newsletter Afictionado, the e-zine of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is testing the waters with his first novel, Beyond December, while working on his second, Skipping July.