Something to Say
- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 1 Jan
- Something to Say
- The Motions
- You Are Everything
- The Center
- Save a Place for Me
- Life Inside You
- Safe and Sound
- Moment of Truth
- Friend in the World
- All the Broken Pieces
- Stop the World
Just when it seemed like Christian music couldn't make any more room for another radio darling, singer/songwriter Matthew West came from out of nowhere and scored one of the most played songs of 2004 with his debut single "More." His odds of becoming so popular on the airwaves seemed slim with veterans like Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day still dominating radio at the time, while up-and-comers Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin were just beginning their rise to superstardom.
West still beat the odds and "More" became a huge hit. By comparison, his first two albums—
Yet just as West got done signing a new record deal with Sparrow Records—the same label that distributed his first two albums on Universal South—and prepped for the recording of his third project, things grew awfully quiet for him … literally. He was diagnosed with vocal cord polyps, a condition that forced doctors to recommend surgery and a period of complete silence for the singer.
It was a trying experience, and one that could have provided great spiritual insight and perspective for a new album. Curiously, none of it is specifically reflected in
The first of those surprises is "Life Inside of You," a story song about a young pregnant girl and a boy with addictions who are about to make tough choices about their future. Sounds like a heady subject matter, but West avoids taking Mark Schultz's power ballad route, instead setting his characters against a bouncy, pop/rock arrangement. It's an interesting juxtaposition of style and substance, but one that totally makes sense in the grand scheme of West's repertoire—he's a pop songwriter at heart.
The other bright spot is the downbeat, slightly Beatle-esque "Moment of Truth," a stark piano-driven ballad where West goes one-on-one with a couple about to give up on marriage. The song is pop music with a heartbeat, reminiscent of some of the best moments in the singer/songwriter's decorated
By comparison, the remainder of
The songs are fine from a
West does have an identity of his own, and that's whenever he talk-raps his way through a series of fast-paced, semi-comical lines about everyday life and one's purpose in it, all over an ultra-catchy pop/rock sound. Think of it as an AC-friendly hip-hop version of tobyMac, an artist whom West namedrops in the endearing "Friend in the World."
Though likable and leisurely,