Thursday, March 8, 2012

Decades of Worship - Michael W. Smith




Worship is not a passing fancy for Michael W. Smith.

Decades of Worship
Artist: Michael W. Smith (www.michaelwsmith.com)
Label: Reunion Records
Length: 12 tracks/63:42 minutes

Some might think that Michael W. Smith jumped on the praise and worship bandwagon when he released Worship (2001) and Worship (DVD) (2002). It is more accurate to reckon that adoration has been part of his music from the beginning. He composed the music for “Thy Word,” made famous by Amy Grant. He is also credited as a co-writer with Grant on “Emmanuel.” His first solo release, The Michael W. Smith Project (1983), included “Great is the Lord,” which you may find in a hymn book.

That early offering of honor is now remastered and included here as a bonus track. Since I already had every other song, this is the main reason why I wanted this collection. It has been a favorite since the time I first heard it. I like the quirky synthesizer intro, which also holds the song together. Being the first of other horizontal songs that would grace Smith’s albums over the years, it is entirely fitting for it to be here. I am grateful for its inclusion.

One might think that the rest of the songs come from Worship (2001) and Worship Again (2002). Though they do make for a majority, there are a total of seven different releases represented. The only song not previously available on CD is “Awesome God” from Worship (DVD).

There is no denying that this contains some of Smith’s best moments in this genre. However, if you have a majority of these songs, it may not be worth the purchase unless you want the new-sounding “Great is the Lord,” which you won’t find anywhere else. The recording from which it comes may never get the same treatment.

Ironically, some of the material from the two Worship CDs, which are like the backbone of this release, are weighed down by repetitive phrases. This is why I favor A New Hallelujah (2008), from which two songs are drawn. The newer material highlights more of Smith’s creativity. I suppose it is a matter of taste, for I know people who prefer the Worship releases, which had a big impact when they were first released.
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