Michael W. Smith has become a household name in Christian Music. From his bagpipe inclusive “This Is Your Time” to his more popular worship song “Healing Rain,” he has proven himself to be a capable songwriter and music producer. Nevertheless, when I was privy to a sneak peek of his upcoming album to be released on February 16th, I was amazed by the artistry present in many of the compositions.
The new album is an eclectic mix of Tropical House, Melodic House, Worship Music, Christian Contemporary, and Pop. Now, as some may have noticed in the last Christian music post I wrote, I am a huge fan of EDM, particularly Melodic and Tropical House Music. When I was told that the album had “EDM influences” I was bracing myself for a stale rehash of prototypical 80s sounds clashing with modern acoustic guitar strumming. However, Michael W. Smith pleasantly surprised me, and the album has some truly talent-filled House songs in addition to worship and Christian Contemporary songs. One particular song, “Louder,” really hit me when I heard it.
Not too many Christian artists have written Melodic or Acoustic House songs, and of the ones written, few of them are euphonic enough to be listened to more than a few times. However, Michael W. Smith’s compositional talent really shined through in “Louder” where he combines chiming bells, an acoustic guitar, a piano, lush string sections, an electric guitar, and catchy yet powerful melodies together to create a truly repeat-worthy song. When the album comes out, I recommend listening to this song first to hear some truly powerful and aptitudinal music.
Another great song on the album was Conversation, a Future Tropical House song with catchy melodies, a wide variety of instruments and powerful, thoughtful lyrics. If this song happened to appear on a secular playlist, I would not have noticed, apart from the lyrics, that it was a Christian song. Most of the time, Christian songs have their own style or sound, but with this song Michael W. Smith really broke from the typical stylings of Christian Music and made an amazing track that is in the same class with some of the best EDM producers.
In addition to Conversation and Louder, Hey Love had a nice piano riff in it that made the backbone to the song. It vaguely reminded me of classic soft Brit Rock. However, the song sounds mostly like a soundtrack to a provocative movie about love and life. The combination of strings and piano in the latter half of the track really makes for a puissant, museful, and inspiring song about the unpredictability of love.
There are few times when I hear an album and think it is one of the best albums to come out in Christian music. The only times I have ever made that declaration to my friends and others were with the Newsboys’ “Restart,” LZ7’s "Aftershow," Beckah Shae’s "Champion," and Tobymac’s “This Is Not A Test.” However, I can enthusiastically include Michael W. Smith’s upcoming album, “A Million Lights” in that list.
Photo courtesy: Facebook/Michael W. Smith
Publication date: January 26, 2018