Friday, October 29, 2004

Smitty Keeps on Rockin' in the Free World

In case anyone cared, Michael W. Smith just released his first studio album in a number of years. His middle-aged fan base is eating it up. I'm tired of soccer moms telling me how many sleepless nights they've had anticipating this new artistic milestone. Just buy the album and keep your Smitty fantasies to yourself.

In their description of the album, Family Christian Bookstore says Smith, "...stands as a pillar in the Christian community and beyond." And beyond? Since when does anyone else care who the hell Michael W. Smith is? Most Christians under the age of 30 don't even care who he is.

My disgust for Michael W. Smith stems from two things: 1)his horrendous song "Cross of Gold" (audio sample is at the bottom of the page) and 2) the cover of his 1984 album Michael W. Smith 2. Although "Go West Young Man" still kicks ass in a kitschy nostalgic sort of way.

35 comments:

Marguerite said...

Just read your entire blog and laughed my ass off. Thanks for the entertainment.

Yes, I am a Christian in case you're wondering. An old lady Christian, no less.

Please keep writing. I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

Yikes. That old album cover made me physically recoil...very scary. The audio sample you pointed me to--only slightly less bad. Hope you don't have to hear this guy being played over and over at the store...

Anonymous said...

you've got to read james stewart's angry letter to m-dub.

-kate

Kevin said...

No more worship cds??? That's too bad. Is that fad over with for now? I forgot that he made his own music.

Neb said...

Oh my word. The two cuts I listened to sounded like JC Penney's or Mentos commercials. Way too bubble-gummy for my taste, erk. Most Christian (using the term loosely) contemporary music leaves me totally bored, if not annoyed. It doesn't have the craft, depth, or artistic merit of good classical, opera, folk, or rock music...

jwb said...

I remember having several discussions with fairly significant and decent musicians who have no love of CCM, but a high level of respect for smitty. A few of them where I used to live would do cover gigs of mws, and they weren't durgatory or joking at all. They really liked MWS.

He's lost a lot of his edge - well, _all_ of his edge I guess - but in his early days he was a great songwriter and musician. "Cross of Gold" might arguably suck, but Project (1986) and Big Picture (1987) are inarguably great pop albums.

I think smitty has had something akin a Carol King effect happen to him. His songs have been karaoked in churchs so much in the last 20 years that it doesn't matter if his songs were good, no song good the 8 billionith damn time you've heard it and seen a youth group choreograph it.

I had a friend who lived in Nashville, went to the same Christian school as smitty's kids and babysat them on the weekend. She shared in much of my then anti-christian culture viewpoints, but she thought smitty was a pretty great guy who spent more of his time giving to people, even in his day to day life, than he did making music that she didn't much care for.

Expat Birds said...

The "and beyond" refers to Smitty's appearance at the Republican National Convention ;)

Great blog! Kudos from a fellow seminarian :)

Rouver said...

"and 2) the cover of his 1984 album Michael W. Smith 2."

Will you act all surprised when he comes out of the closet like George Michael? Or will you claim to have known all along?

Rouver said...

...and you call the man "Smitty"?! I just puked in my own mouth.

Neville said...

Ben, I'm sorry to say but I happen to know a fellow Taylor grad (who I actually had lunch with today) who would drop dead if he read this post. He loves Michael W. and whenever you mention even his name in conversation, he's quick to say, "Oh I love Michael W. Smith!" or something like it. Just wanted you to know that there are people under 30 who REALLY REALLY do care for him. However, that doesn't mean this post didn't make me laugh--a lot--because it did in fact. Keep up the rants and raves.

karen said...

Hmm.. does this mean the let's-produce-a-worship-album trend over now? *phew* Back to poppy, soppy songs in the studio.

Joel said...

My wife and I pulled out the greatest hits this weekend. His 80s stuff was amazingly good!

Bob said...

Does it mean that I'm middle aged when I can remember that his Big Picture album was great driving music. Did I really say album? Guess I am old.

BTW, he is making a movie with Stephen Taylor about racial reconcillation--hopefully you'll like it better than the new CD. Or at least the soccer mom's will

Donna said...

Hi! I found you through another blog and I'm loving your posts!

I'd love to hear more about "Veggie Tales" in your store and customer reactions.

As a barely-believer, I loooooooove those Veggies. But I hear that true believers object to the decreasing level of hard-line religion in later stories.

Abigail said...

Smitty is one of those remnants of my childhood that I don't really mind too much. I still know all the words to "Love Crusade", and some of his songs were good -- not great, but good.

I have to say, Smitty came to Taylor and did concerts a couple of times when I was there, and I went to both concerts, and really enjoyed them. I don't know if it was nostalgia or what, but it was fun.

I don't listen to CCM at all now, and have no plans to rush out and buy this CD, but I don't have the same repugnance for MWS that I do for other Christian "artists".

Jim said...

Poor dude looks like he's on the run from a Color Me Badd death camp...

erika said...

smitty is totally my guilty pleasure. it's just that when i'm looking for a reason and roaming through the night to find my place in this world, he's always there. he holds a special place in my heart that no other CCM artist ever could.

ike said...

So do you see any abuses of overtime at your store during the christmas rush?

I think Family Christian Stores would go bankrupt if every employee who actually worked overtime during the christmas season actually were paid legal overtime.

I know many people who worked 60-70 hour weeks and only got paid 40 hours. These were normal hourly sales associates.

jwb said...

Ike: Welcome to retail. I've done retail for far too long in my lifetime, and nearly every place is the same. They manipulate people into working overtime by bribing them with promise of promotion, store credit, pizza parties, or the threat of a crappy schedule if you don't work.

Marla said...

Okay, but what about Agnus Dei? And especially what Third Day has done with it. I'm 32, so I admit to getting nostaglic about MWS and Amy Grant (plus I look like her)...but one thing that can be said for Smitty is that he has kept his integrity. I'm even less of fan of SCC (Steven...) but I'd say the same for him. I may not adore their music, voices, etc. but I trust them. They've also done a lot of good works that demonstrates the genuineness of their faith--i.e. using their celebrity status to really help people.

joe said...

i2(eye) is the greatest mws album.

WiseGuy said...

hmm. i see where your cynicism comes from. but your research is lacking. i feel sorry for you.

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Ryan said...

Well, I grew up listening to Michael's music when I was a kid and all through high school, etc. and now I'm 27. His songs have touched me on such a deep level emotionally and musically, especially his greatest hits albums, the First Decade and the Second Decade. I actually started writing songs back in the 90's and will eventually record an album, even if it's just a home recording. As for the album cover of his second CD, I always thought it was just funny to look at and laugh at. Most of the songs on it aren't that great either. If I ever do get tired of his music all I have to do is listen to something else for a few weeks or months, then I can listen to and enjoy all his music again.

Casey said...

i didn't quite catch if you're a Christian or not, but if you are I might recommend rethinking how you talk about your brother in Christ. You can dislike his music and still "love" the man.

Just something to think about.

They'll know we are HIS followers by our love...

Todd and Sharon said...

Wow. I am under the age of 30 and LOVE MWS's songs. His older albums are my favorites, and I like some of his newer songs. I have been a fan of his for almost 20 years. My fav. album is: i 2 (EYE). I never get sick of hearing that album, and wore the tape out playing it over continuously. I'm in the process of recollecting his old albums he did.