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"Second Chance" Soundtrack Reinforces Film Experience

"Second Chance" Soundtrack Reinforces Film Experience

Artist:  Various
Title:  "The Second Chance:  Original Motion Picture Soundtrack"
Label:  Reunion

Those of us who have followed Steve Taylor’s career over the years have come to expect great and surprising things. He has been (and, at various times, continues to be) a songwriter, an artist, a record producer, a video director and a record label founder. At each creative juncture, he has always challenged his audience to think – and rethink many of those things we thought we had already figured out.

For several years now, we have been waiting for his debut as a Motion Picture Director. Of all the prospects within the Christian artist community, he has always been the one who seemed most qualified to wow us. (Steve Taylor could film the phone book and I would watch it. Twice.)

Coming to your local multiplex on February 17, "The Second Chance" is a film about two men – one from a well-to-do white church in the ’burbs, one from a black church in the inner-city. Although the two churches were founded by the same man, each church manifests its mission in a very different way. Co-written and directed by Taylor, and starring recording artist Michael W. Smith, jeff obafemi carr (Panther, NPR’s “The Tavis Smiley Show”) and J. Don Ferguson ("Remember the Titans"), this film is the story of a rebellious son and a street-smart pastor struggling to bridge the gap between their respective churches and cultures.

Just as the film is about finding commonalities between two worlds, "The Second Chance:  Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" bridges the gap between the two worlds of Christian pop music and urban gospel. Appropriately, the soundtrack smorgasbord expertly matches all the bases covered by the film – old and new songs, instrumental and vocal tracks, popular contemporary Christian artists and popular gospel artists.

The album kicks off with a rocker from Third Day, an earthy remake of the classic “Movin’ On Up,” originally recorded by the ‘90s underground rock band Primal Scream. Then comes the pivotal “All in the Serve,” with music by Michael W. Smith and lyrics by Steve Taylor; much like the film, the song is a surprisingly pleasant collaboration between Smith’s pop sensibilities and Taylor’s acerbic, thinkerly approach.

The heart of the album, though, are the hymns and praise songs – including solid team-ups between Smith and Andraé Crouch (on the Walter Hawkins classic “Follow Me”) and Jars of Clay with Blind Boys of Alabama (a nice arrangement of “Nothing But the Blood”). Also of note are tracks by John Legend (“Refuge”), The Holmes Brothers (“Homeless Child”), Ruben Studdard (“I Surrender All”), Fred Hammond (“I’m Glad About It”) and J. Moss (“We Must Praise”).

And for Smith, not only does he play one of the central roles in "The Second Chance," he provides the backbone for the soundtrack, as well. In addition to the aforementioned tracks, he also leads the choir in “The Solid Rock” and “Total Praise,” kicks out the jams with a remix of “Hang On” (with urban male trio 21:03), and lends sweet and dramatic moments with several instrumental pieces with Nashville String Machine.

And for those who miss that good ol’ Steve Taylor whimsy of yore, the liner notes include “Steve Taylor’s Acceptance Speech (as imagined for an unspecified awards ceremony).”

Overall, "The Second Chance: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" reinforces the experience of the film, but also stands alone as a solid collection. “Second chance”? Listeners will be hitting “play” on this CD every chance they get. 

© 2006 CCM Magazine.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.   Click here to subscribe.