Michael Whitaker Smith was born on October 7, 1957 in Kenova, West Virginia. He released his solo debut MICHAEL W. SMITH PROJECT in 1983. ‘Great is the Lord’ and ‘Friends’ were two of the exceptional songs on it. MICHAEL W. SMITH 2 came out in February of 1984. It yielded the CCM hits ‘I Am Sure’ and ‘Hosanna’. Michael produced the album, with Michael Blanton and Dan Harrell serving as executive producers. Synthesizers were used on all ten songs.
Gary Chapman, Tim Marsh, and Smith wrote ‘A Way’, while Dan Huff played guitars and Gary sang backing vocals on it. It is an adult contemporary ballad that speaks of God’s faithfulness: “You find me waiting for a miracle/You hear me praying for a plan/You are the only One prepared to rescue me/Then You take away the distance/Found between the truth and me/And You give a simple reason to my restless rhyme/Woa, hide me in the heaven/You have held within Your hand/And make a way to find a way to soothe my mind”. ‘I Am Sure’ is one of three tracks penned by the duo of Mike Hudson and Smith. This light pop song offers spiritual hope: “I am sure there will be a day/But it will not be like the nations say/The Lord will come when this life is through/And His deep desire is to be with you/Hearts will fly when the new world starts/And joy will rise like the morning star/God will meet every cry of the heart/And it’s my prayer/I want you to be there”.
‘End of the Book’ deals with spiritual warfare: “Till He comes/God the Son teaches us to use the sword/And every fight has a light/When you know we win the war/So when hell starts to move/And the enemy marches on you/Hang on, it’s a fight/You’re a part of the army of light/When things get bad and you can’t stand to look/It’s time to read the end of the book”. Michael W. Smith is responsible for synthesizers, piano, and vocoder on ‘I’m Up’. It is a joyous, bouncy pop song: “There are times life is so fine I can’t contain it/Everywhere I look I see what God has done/And I don’t have to work and worry to sustain it/When I walk with God His joy will always come (2X)/I am up like the sun is up/I can feel my life on a rise/I am up like the stars at night/I get up on bein’ alive/I am up like the Lord is up/And my life is filled with His life/I was freed and I am saved/I am up (2X)”.
‘Glorious Grace’ is a praise and worship song: “May the God of our Lord the Almighty Father/Give you wisdom and peace, His comforting Spirit/That you may know His hope/You may know His riches/And you may know His mighty strength/To the praise of His glorious grace (2X)”. ‘Musical Instruments’ is a short, happy sounding instrumental.
Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith co-wrote the light rock duet ‘Restless Heart’. It encourages us as Christians to reach out to the lost and lonely: “On the street it never changes/There’s a chill in the air/Icy people, empty faces/Not a word, not a soul who cares/Do you give up?/Have you given in to the lie that a heart never changes?/Don’t be fooled by what you see there/Another man with another case of one restless heart/Who never could find love/Too many hurts to reach out again/How can he know love still wants to find him?/One restless shell of a man/Don’t look away/In a moment his life could be new/Just a moment and love could break through”. Gary Chapman, Amy Grant, and Smith wrote ‘All I Need to Say’. It is an easy listening tune that in some ways seems like a sequel to ‘Friends’. Here are the opening lyrics: “Sad goodbye/Never quite got said/Now the time is gone/We’re movin’ on/Even though it hurts so bad/If I could I’d turn back the days/And I’d love again/To be your friend/In a hundred different ways/But we can’t turn back the time, the days/So if I never said all I needed to say/I’ll say it now/You know I loved you once/I love you stronger today/Please love find me a way/Words I still need to say/But I don’t know how”.
‘Wings of the Wind’ is a pleasant instrumental that runs a bit over four minutes long. Last up is ‘Hosanna’, one of two songs here that Michael co-wrote with his wife Deborah D. Smith. Ten backing vocalists including Chris Harris, Bridget Evans, and Gary Pigg are used on this praise and worship song: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord/Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!/Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord/Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!/King of Israel, welcome to our hearts/Here to reign in righteousness/Oh Ruler of the world, Ruler of our hearts/Now ascend Your throne/You are the King of Kings/Hosanna!”
To be truthful MICHAEL W. SMITH 2 can’t hold a candle to Michael’s debut album the year before. Really, only four or five of the ten songs here are memorable. Why is this? First off, these songs seem to be directed at adults rather than youth and just don’t have the energy that the songs on his debut project had. Secondly, Smith likely should’ve waited at least two years before releasing a second album. It would have allowed more time for crafting better songs. This just may be Michael’s weakest record ever, but he would more than make up for it in the years to come! I’m rating MICHAEL W. SMITH 2 a 78%. For more info visit: www.michaelwsmith.com.