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The Big Picture

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iTunes Review

With the release of 1986’s The Big Picture, Michael W. Smith sought to burst out of the confines of Christian music and reach a mainstream audience. Producer John Podoker brings his experience as an engineer on Talking Heads’ Remain In Light and U2’s War to bear on the tracks — the sounds here are bold and hard-edged, bristling with techno-funk rhythms and volleys of lead guitar. Smith’s engaging singing style takes on more nuance for moody tracks like “Rocketown” (a story-song highlighting his own conversion experience) and “Voices” (an ethereal synthesizer-dominated tune). The hope-infused lyric content of the album matches well with the propulsive grooves of “Lamu,” “Tearin’ Down the Wall” and “The Last Letter.” Smith captures the struggles of the young and alienated with empathy, particularly in “Old Enough to Know” and “Goin’ Thru the Motions.” In many ways, The Big Picture’s adept use of secular musical trends and contemporary themes was ahead of its time. Despite a few dated production features, these songs still sound fresh and relevant today.

Customer Reviews

Still love it!

I remember buying this album (as a tape of course) in junior high and only kind of liking it. Then it really began to grow on me, and grow, and grow! I still love it after all these years. Yes, it sounds very eighties at times, but I believe it is one of MWS's best albums ever.


I got this LP when I was a kid and I loved it at the time I was listening to stuff like Duran Duran, Thompson twins, and such. I remember going to church and telling my youth leader at the time I hope to tour with that guy one day . Well God answers prayer I went on to work on 3 of Smittys tours and also got to work with DC Talk and other bands.

Smitty's best

This by far is Smitty's best work. iTunes is missing the follow up live album, "The Live Set."


Born: October 7, 1957 in Kenova, WV

Genre: Christian & Gospel

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

Michael W. Smith became one of the most enduringly popular artists in the contemporary Christian music market while also finding success as a mainstream artist. The songwriter was born in Kenova, West Virginia, the son of an oil refinery worker and a caterer. He became a devout Christian at age ten and spent his teenage years around a support group of fellow believers who frequently gathered to create music. That support group split up after high school, and Smith turned to alcohol, drugs, and wild...
Full Bio