aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news, and more.

Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

The Second Chance

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Dec
The Second Chance
Sounds like … a strong mix of gospel/urban with pop/rock, featuring the creative efforts of Michael W. Smith, Fred Hammond, Third Day, J. Moss, Jars of Clay, John Legend, and more.At a glance … The Second Chance soundtrack would have benefited from a little more original music, but it's still an impressive collection perfectly suited for Steve Taylor's thoughtful film of racial reconciliation within the church.Track Listing 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 Second Chance, one of the best "Christian movies" in years, is a "black-and-white buddy movie," as Taylor describes it—two guys forced to work together and overcome their prejudice. Michael W. Smith plays an associate pastor of a wealthy suburban church sent to work with the pastor (played by jeff obafemi carr) of the sister congregation in the inner city.

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 far more successful than the original (on his 2004 Healing Rain album).

There's also previously released material by J. Moss ("We Must Praise"), Fred Hammond ("I'm Glad About It"), American Idol Reuben Studdard (a stirring delivery of "I Surrender All"), and even John Legend ("Refuge," a romantic song that also works on a spiritual level). Jars of Clay's rousing alt-gospel duet with The Blind Boys of Alabama for "Nothing but the Blood" is a smart inclusion, as is a spirited rendition of Ben Harper's "Homeless Child" by The Holmes Brothers which similarly sounds at home here by fusing old with new.

The Second Chance includes four all-too-brief instrumental cues by Smith that further demonstrate after his Freedom album that he's got the necessary skills for scoring the "right" films; these tracks sound like they're meant to move the audience into tearing up during the most poignant scenes. Nevertheless, Taylor's musical sensibilities remain strong and he collaborates wonderfully with Smith to match strong music with his film. As with most soundtracks, some might be happier downloading only their favorite tracks, but this deserves to be heard as one cohesive work—a terrific mix of pop and gospel that reflects the film's theme of unity, and one that helps broaden the musical horizons of both sides of the church.

Copyright © Christian Music Today. Click for reprint information.