Amazon.com essential recording
Compassionate images and heartfelt concern open a window of grace on lives stifled in darkened corners of mediocre existence as Smith takes on the poignant issues of his youthful audience: self-esteem, peer acceptance, teen suicide, immature sexual expression, and living in the will of God. In compositions written with Wayne Kirkpatrick (Amy Grant also adds her two bits on "Lamu"), Smith uses memorable melodies and danceable rhythms to drive home how life's decisions affect our attempts to move to the beat of the cosmically different drummer.
While stretching beyond what some of his fans Smith has made a bold effort to communicate the gospel of Jesusequated in one song with "all the love you need" to those who struggle with the choices and voices of our world that come from both without and within the confines of the Christian music subculture. The much-debated controversy over Grants unguarded will no doubt continue with Smith as new fodder, but the point is moot given the clearly articulated faith in Jesus that Smith sets as the basis of a clearly Christian standard for moral decision-making and this standard permeates each track of The Big Picture.
Smiths keyboard finesse dominates the multi-textured tracks as the digitally mastered sonic sounding board moves from layers of percussive 80s drum sounds to gutsy guitars in a broad and lush stereo oasis. One can only applaud a record of such high craftsmanship, timeliness and integrity. The big question is whether Michael W. Smith fans can follow his lead into bigger sound and catch his vision of The Big Picture