11 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
40 Ratings
40 Ratings
Radical_Dreamer_X ,

This album rocked

When I was 7 years old in 1989, I found a copy of this album in CD format sitting on a shelf with about 10 other CD's my dad had bought for his laser disc player (remember those?). I don't remember him ever playing it... So it's contents were a mystery... I loaded the disc into the family room stereo and sat on the carpet by the speaker (which was my favorite spot). As Lamu began, my mind was blown... It was so different from the other Christian music my parents played. I immediately became a MWS fan, I enjoyed his later stuff, but never like I enjoyed this album. I listened to the big picture probably a million times. I read the lyric insert until it fell apart. This was my first real experience with music and I'm sure it contributed to defining my taste in music. This was THE album of my childhood and I still love re-visiting it 26 years later.

reveds ,

Best MWS ever

I literally wore this tape out in my Walkman - so incredibly 80's. Still an excellent message, and still relevant.

EndlessDream94 ,

BRILLIANT!!!!

26 years ago! Like stepping into a time machine and feeling RIGHT AT HOME!!!! One of the greatest albums of all time, in my opinion.

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