Worship albums are inundating the Christian music these days. Some are traditional or what some call "modern," and still there are others that can be considered really modern projects. Whatever the style, this trend, or movement in the industry is being used to spread the act of worship throughout the Christian masses. Legend Michael W. Smith steps out this time to offer the scene and his fans a worship album, Smitty style.
Now that we've selected a worship leader, uniquely Mr. Smith, the next step is to chose how to execute this. Recorded live? In the studio? Just Smitty? A wide array of background vocals? Smitty here decides the way to go... is big. How can you not consider this big when the live MWS choir is made up of Shaun Groves, Ginny Owens, Chris Rice, Greg Long, Cindy Morgan, Erin O'Donnell, Mark Shultz, two of the Plus One boys, Phillips, Craig, and Dean, Wes King, Out of Eden, Amy Grant, and still yet other vocal talent? Plus, the church the live recording was made at, had over 9,000 in attendance that night. What am I getting at here? Is this bad? No, actually, it's not... Is it overkill, though? Not necessarily.
Although worship music is something to connect you with the Heavenly Father as You exalt His name and aknowledge how great He is on an intimate, personal level, it still makes sense that a great God would deserve a grand, ceremonious worship service every once in awhile. While you may feel a little lost in the midst of this grand recording, you may also find it a tool to help you connect with the Lord on your own personal level another way.
Musically, I prefer the more "really" modern sound or a more stripped-down, personal feel that such artists as Justin McRoberts have nearly perfected in capturing. Although it appears that a lot of worship leaders prefer large backing vocals and choirs to aid their praising of the Almighty God, I personally don't prefer this in a recording (however, in moderation, it can be amazing). Often, unfortunately, for Smith, his excessively talented choir tends to take over in vocal power and the listener may actually forget they're listening to a Michael W. Smith project. It's not until the final bonus studio tracks "Purified" and "Above All" that we get the full MWS experience. Also, the up-scale feel of the live recordings may also make some feel they are more-so watching it from the outside than really getting into it and feel included. Again, though, for those who prefer the big choir sound, you will find exceptional musical offerings on this project.
A big, loud, powerful worship experience that explodes with heavenly praise, Worship by Michael W. Smith is a top-notch recording, but it may be so big, that you may feel more like an usher in the church rather than a part of the congregation.- Review date: 9/5/01, written by John DiBiase
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