Get the new album from Free Chapel!

Get the new album from Free Chapel!

JFH Staff Review




Michael W. Smith
The Big Picture



Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 50 Minutes, 59 Seconds
Street Date: 1986


The Big Picture, Michael W. Smith's third full-length for Reunion, was a slightly different change of pace for the budding CCM star. Whereas Smith's previous two albums, Project and Michael W. Smith 2, were self-produced, mostly keyboard driven efforts, The Big Picture sounded conspicuously like a lot of contemporary pop albums of the time: big synths, loud guitars, and that overarching "'80s sound" that sounds so horribly dated today. The catalyst for this sonic metamorphosis was undoubtedly the introduction of well-known pop producer John Potoker. Having previously worked with '80s artists Brian Eno, Talking Heads, and Madonna, Potoker infused Smith's music with a "bigger" sound in an attempt to make it more appealing to pop music fans of the day. This change was foreseeable considering Smith's strong desire to reach mainstream fans with his music, although I still can't help but cringe every time I hear its over-the-top production techniques with 21st century ears.

That being said, Smith's songwriting must be commended, because he never allows his songs get buried beneath the excessive production. This is due to the fact that the songs on The Big Picture are melodically just as strong as ever and, in fact, features some of Smitty's best songs to date. A great example is the epic "Rocketown," a touching tale about the importance of being Christ's light in the midst of a dark world. Perhaps the most affecting song of Smith's career (apart from "Friends"), it eventually became the inspiration behind Smith's record label, as well as the Nashville hot spot of the same name.

The rest of The Big Picture has its share of highlights: "Lamu" is a melodically memorable song about the emptiness of escapism; "Pursuit of the Dream" is a strong encouragement about following God's plans in life, while "Old Enough To Know" is an encouraging and hook-laden song about the virtues of staying pure in the face of peer pressure.

The more one listens to The Big Picture though, the more its artificial sounds grate on the ears. It's unfortunate that the album's overall musical impact is dulled by the dated production, but once you get through its hard, artificial sonic surface, you'll find that there are a good number of melodic gems underneath. With its unparalleled melodicism and top-notch songwriting (no doubt the result of Smith's budding partnership with lyricist Wayne Kirkpatrick), The Big Picture is another solid - though now-slightly dated - effort by Michael W. Smith.

- Review date: 2/10/07, written by Sherwin Frias

 

CD

Buy This CD Online


. Artist Info: Discography
. Record Label: Reunion Records
. Album length: 11 tracks, 50 Minutes, 59 Seconds
. Street Date: 1986
. Buy It: Amazon.com

  1. Lamu
  2. Wired For Sound
  3. Old Enough To Know
  4. Pursuit Of The Dream
  5. Rocketown
  6. Voices
  7. The Last Letter
  8. Goin' Thru The Motions
  9. Tearin' Down The Wall
  10. You're Alright
  11. (Instrumental Hidden Track)
spacer Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics

 

 

go to main Album review page
go to Album review archive

 

JFH Sponsor Spot:

 

 

           
Listen to the new album from Connor Flanagan!

Search JFH



Music Out This Week

This Friday, October 19
Gawvi Panorama [Reach]
Hollyn Everything and More / Isaac - Single [Gotee]
Iron Bell Music Glory to Glory [Essential]
Matt Maher The Advent of Christmas [Essential]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth Part III EP [Integrity]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth CD/DVD [Integrity]
Switchfoot Native Tongue - Single [Lowercase People]
Tenth Avenue North The Things We've Been Afraid To Say EP [Reunion]
CeCe Winans Something's Happening: It's Christmas with CeCe Winans [Thirty Tigers]

NEXT Friday, October 26
Francesca Battistelli Own It [Word]
Lauren Daigle Behold: Deluxe Edition [Centricity]
Ben & Noelle Kilgore A Resting Place EP [Integrity/The Creak Music]
Lovelite Apocalypse Hymnal (independent)
Marc Martel My Way, Vol. II: The Queen EP (independent)
Matthew Parker Daydreamer [DREAM]
Fight The Fury Still Breathing EP [Atlantic]
Chris Tomlin Holy Roar [Sparrow]


For all release dates, click here!
 


New Music Reviews


Listen to the new album from Three Bridges!

New Indie Reviews


New Movie Reviews


Free MP3 Downloads