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The Second Decade 1993-2003

Michael W. Smith

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Album Review

For an artist in any musical genre, releasing a disc celebrating ten years of popularity and hits is quite an accomplishment. To be able to do the same thing ten additional years later is truly amazing, and Michael W. Smith is one of the fortunate few who has had the enduring popularity to achieve this feat. Although The Second Decade 1993-2003 is full of hit songs, this retrospective is not necessarily a greatest-hits package but a general overview that highlights the best moments of a ten-year period in a remarkable career. Therefore, popular songs like "Let Me Show You the Way" or Smith's duet with Jim Brickman, "The Love of My Life," are omitted in favor of other career highlights like the title track to Freedom, his passionate instrumental album from 2000. Also taking space away from the hits are two new songs that bookend the collection; however, these are welcome additions that merit inclusion. "Signs," with lyrics co-written by his son, Ryan, opens the disc with quiet, solitary piano lines as Smith's gravelly voice joins in and drives the song forward to an exuberant and memorable chorus. "Raging Storm" is a piano-based ballad that gracefully closes the disc, and the decade, for this talented singer/songwriter. In addition to brilliant hits like "Missing Person" and "This Is Your Time," a new remix of "Breakdown" beefs up the driving sound of this 1995 song. Concert performances of "Above All" and "You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)" from Smith's set of live Worship albums warrant inclusion by showcasing his talent on the stage, but sound a bit out of place amid the studio tracks. Taken from the Dove Hits 2003 compilation, "Friends 2003" is an all-star update to one of Smith's most durable standards, but even with guests like Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Point of Grace, this well-worn early hit could have been left out to make room for a more appropriate hit song. However, it's a small concession to make when the balance of the disc offers some of the best music that Michael W. Smith has created over his second decade in the spotlight, and with his 2002 Dove Award for Artist of the Year, it seems he is well on his way to a successful third decade.

Biography

Born: 07 October 1957 in Kenova, WV

Genre: Religious

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Michael Whitaker Smith became one of the most enduringly popular artists on the contemporary Christian music front and also found considerable success as a mainstream artist. In 1981, he signed to Meadowgreen Music as a staff writer, providing gospel hits to such artists as Sandi Patti, Kathy Troccoli, Bill Gaither, and Amy Grant. His 1983 debut album, Michael W. Smith Project, garnered him a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance. Afterward, he changed musical directions and began recording...
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The Second Decade 1993-2003, Michael W. Smith
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