Live the Life
Michael W. Smith claims that he wrote most of Live the Life, his follow-up to the astonishingly successful I'll Lead You Home, on a guitar, and that may account for the dircetness of the songs and the performance. Smith's music isn't raw by any means, yet there is a certain sweeping quality to the songs on Live the Life that distinguishes it from his other albums. That isn't to say that it rocks -- it just has a big, all-encompassing sound, which sounds even larger under the layers of production gloss. It gives the album crossover potential, to be sure, but the lyrical themes are undeniably Christian and none of the songs have a hook strong enough for a crossover hit. Nevertheless, Live the Life is an inventive CCM release that should satisfy fans as it expands his audience.