On the fateful day of September 11, 2001, America saw the release of the revolutionary worship project from Christian pop legend Michael W. Smith, Worship. Recently achieving platinum sales status, Worship was so widely accepted that it was a no-brainer for Smitty to release the sequel just over a year later, Worship Again.
Worship boasted Smith leading a massive choir powered by CCM giants like Amy Grant, Plus One, Out of Eden, Greg Long, and a barrage of other voices, in an evening of hardcore traditional worship. The sound was an aquired taste but the Spiritual power undeniable. The movement Smitty started amongst fans over the past year revolutionized lives and hearts globally. Worship Again picks up where Worship left off, but like almost all sequels, adds a different flavor the second time around. The biggest, most notable and most applauded change is the diminished choir supporting Smitty this time around. While the CCM bigwigs drowned out Smith on Worship, the choir is greatly reduced to just a mere 6 members of lesser known vocalists, allowing the audience to play a big part in the vocal department. This approach lows Smitty's vocals to stand out more and the worship experience to feel more heartfelt and open. It allows the listener to feel more like they're a part of the evening's performance.
The record opens with the pumped up "Step By Step / Forever We Will Sing" which features an excellent mix of an oldie with a MWS spin on it. The only minor problem with ...Again is that so many of the better known, more powerful songs were used on last year's Worship. While that may be true, Smith still manages to include some humbling and equally stirring numbers including "I Give You My Heart," "I See You," the Chris Tomlin hymn-like original, "The Wonderful Cross," and a studio recording of the Tim Hughes gem, "Here I Am To Worship." The album also features with a studio version of "Lord Have Mercy" featuring Amy Grant and closes with the patriotic ode to the U.S. flag, "There She Stands."
The second time around, Michael W. Smith offers a more accessible and relaxed worship experience which hardly suffers from sequelitis. Fans of Worship will love ...Again and if you like bigger worship productions but found the original a little much, Worship Again is a must-have.- Review date: 10/20/02, written by John DiBiase
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