(Album Review) 9/25/00
Written by Robin Parish.

Where I Wanna Be
Score: **** out of 5

Will it never stop? Christian Music seems to have cornered the market on girl groups (the opposite sex version of boy bands) with at least five different bubblegum pop, all girl groups releasing debut albums within one year's time. This one has been coming for quite a while, though. V*enna has a lot going for it. The pairing of Lucy Bitten (a Brit) and Sharnessa Shelton (an American) gives the group an international sensibility. They're on Essential Records, which has a track record of taking new groups to great heights (that Lounge Freak guy notwithstanding). And the album was co-written and produced by Zarc Porter of World Wide Message Tribe, someone with a proven track record in the danceable euro-pop sound. The result is the best girl group album of the year I've heard so far. What makes Where I Wanna Be more enjoyable than many of their counterparts like ShineMK and Zoegirl is that V*enna isn't afraid to use modern sounds and production values to make that hot pop music that kids are craving. Many of their counterparts sound like their albums were recorded in the 1980s, but V*enna is firmly rooted in the 21st century with very modern, beat-heavy music. Their lyrics, while not terribly profound, all point straight up to God, while dealing with issues that teens face daily. V*enna is the best Christian alternative to Britney that I've heard yet.

Top Picks: "Make That Noize," "Do You Wanna Know?," "Why Did I Let You Go?" (which sounds a great deal like Britney's "Baby, One More Time") and "All the Way to Heaven."
Pros: Modern sounds, infectious grooves, positive Christian lyrics.
Cons: The album's one pitfall is that Bitten and Shelton themselves do not contribute to the songwriting on any of the songs, which is one thing that most of their contemporaries can lay claim to.

The Verdict:
If teen pop is your thing, you won't find much better than V*enna. Does for girl groups what Plus One did for boy bands.