The Second Chance
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2005 1 Dec
- Movin' On Up—Third Day
- All in the Serve—Michael W. Smith
- The Strangest Day
- Follow Me—Michael W. Smith featuring Andrae Crouch
- Refuge (When It's Cold Outside)—John Legend
- Nothing but the Blood—Jars of Clay feat. The Blind Boys of Alabama
- Total Praise—Michael W. Smith
- Footwashing (instrumental)—Michael W. Smith
- Homeless Child—The Holmes Brothers
- I Surrender All—Reuben Studdard
- Hang On (PAJAM remix)—Michael W. Smith and 21:03
- The Last Hallelujah (instrumental)—Michael W. Smith
- I'm Glad About—Fred Hammond
- Ethan Testifies (instrumental)—Michael W. Smith
- The Solid Rock—Michael W. Smith
- On the Rooftop (instrumental)—Michael W. Smith
Hard to believe it's been ten years since Steve Taylor's last album. Not that he's been idle; he's kept busy with album production and record label management. And most recently, the longtime aspiring film director has been working on his first feature movie, coming in February 2006.
The story's themes necessitate some form of cultural bridge in its music, namely the urban gospel of the inner city and the pop/rock of the burbs. Though such a mix of styles is nothing new, this soundtrack gets it right more than others of its kind. The music matches the tone of the film, primarily rooted in gospel and R&B, yet never too far from pop/rock with artists like Smitty involved, and often blending the two. Besides, Smith's music with Taylor's production and occasional lyricism—how can it go wrong?
Two of the tracks rank among the best from the artists involved, starting with Third Day's delightful cover of Primal Scream's uplifting "Movin' On Up," an alt-rock gem from the early '90s. Benefiting from a gospel-infused melody and Tom Grose's buoyant piano and B-3 organ, it finds the band fully embracing their Southern rock core more than they have in the last five years. It makes you wonder why they don't sound this spirited on their own recent albums.
Then comes "All in the Serve," the best of Smitty's most recent artistic efforts. Built on a solid pop/rock groove with a rich and infectious melody, it's reminiscent of his best work from the late '80s and early '90s. The song, with lyrics penned by Taylor, is a perfect summary of the film's message: "Never gave you nothing people couldn't explain away/Never gave you nothing without something to gain/Never could slow down enough to study a face/But now I wanna know your name." These guys need to write together more often.
Smith also shines on a handful of other new tracks that fuse gospel and R&B with his sound. He teams up with his hero Andrae Crouch (not quite sounding like his old self) for a jubilant cover of Walter Hawkins' "Follow Me." There are fine deliveries of the hymn "The Solid Rock" and a slightly hurried inspirational gospel cover of Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's "Total Praise." And while the lyrics are still simplistic, a slick PAJAM remix of Smitty's "Hang On" is
There's also previously released material by J. Moss ("We Must Praise"), Fred Hammond ("I'm Glad About It"),