Michael W. Smith followed up his classic debut Project with another equally impressive effort: his sophomore album, simply entitled Michael W. Smith 2. Following much the same blueprint as Project, MWS2 finds Smith offering another strong mix of upbeat pop songs, melodic anthems, and powerful ballads.
Instead of working primarily with his wife Deborah, Smith opts this time for a series of co-writers, including Gary Chapman, Mike Hudson, and frequent collaborator Amy Grant. The results are fairly consistent as the album starts off with two of Smith's most recognized songs from the '80s: "A Way" and "I Am Sure." The former is a mid-tempo, yet powerful song about the restless search for assurance that precedes faith, while the latter is an optimistic glance towards the impending return of Christ. Both songs are melodically brilliant and spiritually relevant, a combination that - more than twenty years later - still makes Smith's songs an enjoyable treat to listen to. The rest of the album, meanwhile, is equally impressive: "I'm Up" is a vibrantly joyful song in both its outlook and its sound, "Restless Heart" is an engaging duet with Amy Grant, while "Hosanna" remains one of the best and most enthusiastic worship songs of Smith's career.
Overall, MWS2 is a successful second effort for Michael W. Smith and is a testament to his impressive consistency. Unfairly overlooked by most fans (perhaps the most overlooked album of Smith's career!), MWS2 is a classic Smitty album in every sense. Striking twice in a span of two years is no mean feat, but as we all know, he would continue to deliver over the next two decades, hitting the stratosphere of Christian music like few before him (or since).- Review date: 2/10/07, written by Sherwin Frias
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