Tuesday, January 18, 2011


     Michael W. Smith is one of the trailblazing male vocalists of Contemporary Christian Music.  Musically, his latest offering WONDER (2010, Reunion Records) will appeal more to his long time fans who have aged with him, more than to a teen audience.  There are some standout pop numbers here, but they tend to be of the lighter fare.
     Looking at the lyrics, the album could just as well have been called HOPE.  'I'll Wait for You' is about those times when God doesn't seem quite as close to us: "Now I lie awake at night/Tryin' not to think/But these are the hardest times I've ever seen/I'm still holdin' on."  'One More Time' picks up the theme: "When your destiny is out there in the distance/But the road ahead's a mine field in disguise/And you keep on moving/You just keep on moving/You will make it through this."  'Rise', a song that could just as well have been penned by Robert H. Schuller or Joel Osteen, nails home the point: "Stand upon the waves/And walk with me/Journey through the door/Come see what I can see/All the reasons we were made/Who we were meant to be/Rise, He's calling you to go."
     The other two themes on the record are a love for God, and a love for his wife Debbie.  'Take my Breath Away' finds him in awe of God: "See me, all I am/These empty hands/Are all I can give/That You would die so I'd live/Your sacrifice I can't believe/You fascinate."  'Take me Over' is a piano ballad: "With just a glimpse of Your face/All my fears melt away/Lost within Your embrace/I'm pouring out all my admiration/Jesus, Jesus/Take me over now/I surrender/Everything I have, I lay it down/All of me."
     Michael whispers 'sweet nothings' to his wife on 'Forever Yours': "Come walz with me through the twilight/And we will dance as seasons pass/We move together."  On 'You Belong to Me', he sings: "Oh girl, you are more than beautiful/How can it be that you belong to me." 
     WONDER is one of Smitty's stronger albums of late.  It is a seasoned, mature effort.  I'm giving it an 85%.