After his most recent, and highly successful release, A New Hallelujah, Michael W. Smith spent time on the road touring in the U.S. and internationally. This allowed him time to once again let his heart view the world we live in, and using his gift of music, begin to express the feelings and thoughts that arose out of these trips. These moments, and other life milestones were the genesis for his latest CD, Wonder. Ten new songs pack this new Michael W. Smith project with subject matter that is sure to pierce your heart, backed by a relevant musical journey. Smitty says, “These songs on this project are hopeful, anthemic, and healing – musically and lyrically. I had a lot I wanted to say and the songs on this album allowed me to open up and do just that.”
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The Wonder Project| Posted October 02, 2010
Wonder, the 16th Full Length studio release by CCM Pioneer and unrecognized father of Synthpop Michael W. Smith is a testament to his longevity, and also a great statement. Just because you get older doesn't mean that you have to mellow. The album is an expert blending of Rock, New Wave, orchestral masterpieces and mellow piano tunes. Even the most die hard rocker who can't stand anything soft has to admit that the arrangements alone are masterpieces and make this album a must have.
I was first introduced to Michael's music at the beginning as a young college DJ with The Michael W. Smith Project (1983) in 1984, and yes, I played "Friends" a lot. What I remember most about the album was the Synthesizer. Rock and Roll, especially Christian Rock, was very Keyboard/Synth heavy in the 80's and all the Supergroups of the time (Petra, Servant, Fireworks, DeGarmo & Key) all were as well. That changed in the 90's as bands dropped synthesizers and became guitar heavy. Thankfully, with the new century synths are back, not only with Techno/Dance groups like Group 1 Crew or The Echoing Green, but Industrial/Hard Music acts like Skillet have successfully blended Synthesizers into Rock once again. Smitty's music fit right in with the rest.
Over a quarter of a century later, it's obvious that he hasn't lost his touch. Save me from myself, the opening song, is a Techno/Synthpop throwback that only someone who remembers his early work can truly appreciate. Run to You starts mellow and builds to rock and roll throughout the song. My favorite song on the album is I'll wait for You. It's a fairly mellow AC Rock that appears to fade out after a few minutes and then BAM, ends with a Rock Choir. You'll never see it coming, I promise. The following song, Forever Yours, is another favorite. A Synth/Orchestra masterpiece of a love song. Maybe it's just me, but I can just see this one performed with a full orchestra at Red Rocks. Eat Your Heart Out John Tesh.
Mellow Piano tunes like Welcome Home and You Belong to Me round out the album, and make this a rare 5 Star Rating. It's no Wonder that this is an excellent album.
Wonder-ful!| Posted September 28, 2010
Sorry folks, it's early and I don't have it in me to analyze each song. However, I will say that "Wonder" arguably has to be Michael's best album to date! It's deep, raw, and emotional. Each track is beautifully crafted, and well balanced. Michael is one of the pillars of CCM, and it is evident by "Wonder" that he will be for a long time. My favorite tracks are "Save Me from Myself," "Run," "I'll Wait For You," "Forever Yours," "Welcome Home," "Rise," "You Belong to Me," and "One More Time." However, there isn't a dud on this album. This is solid and worth buying.
Thank You| Posted September 28, 2010
Thank you for the opportunity to listen to this new release here free this week on NRT. This is definitely one of the best MWS releases I've heard. It has a wide range of dynamics between each song and the production and songwriting quality is top notch. A very uplifting and encouraging release.
Smitty doesn't disappoint| Posted November 03, 2010
After twenty studio albums, nine Grammy Award nominations and six Dove Award victories, legendary Christian/Contemporary figure Michael W. Smith returns in 2010 with one of his most personal and tear-jerking albums to date titled "Wonder". With the release of his last excellent studio album four years ago (Stand), I had high expectations for this album. It's safe to say that even after so much success and so many albums that Smitty doesn't dissappoint.
The album opens up with the lead single "Save Me From Myself" which is the most aggressive of the album as well as being one of the most aggressive Smitty songs that I've heard. This song is a catchy pop/rock worship tune with a triumphant chorus highlighting that God is the only one who can save us from ourselves, as well as being someone we can lean on. Following this song is "Take My Breath Away" which is an upbeat pop tune that uses the strings and piano extremely well. "Run To You" is a great vocal performance from Smitty and also a solid soft rock ballad. "I'll Wait For You" takes a while to really get into the song but once the lively and passionate voices of the choir are introduced you'll have no problems at all. This song is one of the most personal and specific off the album. With lyrics like "and I'm tryin' to find a way to hold onto my faith...... while I wait for you" highlight the fact of needing God when the going gets tough in life.
For me the standout off the album is "Welcome Home" an emotional and personal piano ballad about dealing with loss. "I can't believe that I'm here having to say goodbye, and I can barely see you through these tears I cry." Smitty says he dedicated it to his wife's grandmother who "went home to Jesus". The song is sad at first because of the feelings of loss but then is filled with joy when you realise the incredible reality of going to heaven as a follower of Jesus. This song is my favourite because of the joyful message and the way it excels both musically and lyrically.
Smitty also goes very deep with the basis of his songs' meaning. "Leave" covers the issue of abuse with lyrics like "Daddy's on the sofa turning up another bottle to unleash when I get home" and also discusses the fact that we need God's help in these tough situations "And I just wanna leave, Oh God please help me now." Smitty's vocals sum up the feeling of the song and the amazing talent that he has. His vocals in the bridge sound as if he is really in the situation and crying out to God for mercy.
The lyrical depth on the album is incredible. The album covers themes of hope and loss on "Welcome Home", abuse on "Leave" and our need for a saviour on "Save Me From Myself", as well as dedication to his wife on "Forever Yours" and "You Belong To Me". The lyrics combined with the awesome vocals help to place the listener and Smitty himself in the situations of those described in the songs, and at the same highlighting the talent that this incredible artist has. Unfortunately in some parts of the album I felt as if Smitty had paid so much attention to the lyrics and forgot to mix up the sound a little bit. I thought his 2006 release "Stand" was amazing, but this new album from the legend Michael W. Smith is even better. There is a lot of depth on this album, especially lyrically. So if you're sick of the shallow rock n' roll songs that you hear on the radio then give this album a listen.
FANTASTIC! :D| Posted September 27, 2010
I've been hearing about this album for probably about a year now, and it's finally two days from officially releasing. It's going to be showing up in my mailbox soon, and I can't wait!!! :D Today I was pretty ecstatic to have an opportunity to listen to the full album, via Jesus Freak Hideout. (Don't worry, I'm still partial to New Release Tuesday!):D
I may be a little biased to say it's a FANTASTIC album, but I swear it was written just for me! :D
Right now I'm going through some tough stuff in life, that's driving me crazy! I'm pretty much laid up in bed, healing from surgery, and my family is crumbling around me. It just makes me want to 'Leave.'
I'm reminded that I can 'Rise' above it all, and give it 'One More Time.' :D 'This is what you're made for, standing in the downpour, Knowing that the sun will shine, Forget what lies behind you, Heaven walks beside you, You've got to give it one more try, One more time.'
I can't put into words how amazing this album is. It just 'Take's My Breath Away,' you'll have to give it a listen for yourself. :D
My favorite song is definitely One More Time, with Take My Breath Away, at a close second, and honorable mentions to all the rest! :D