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Music review: Awaken: The Surrounded Experience by Michael W Smith

Music review: Awaken: The Surrounded Experience by Michael W Smith

Music review: Awaken: The Surrounded Experience by Michael W Smith

12 October 2019

Michael W Smith’s latest live album is an anthology of his favourite worship tunes.

By Jessica Morris

It seems like Christian music icon Michael W Smith comes out with an anthology every other year, but his 2019 offering comes with a difference – it is a live recording of some of his favourite worship tunes. And most of them aren’t even his. 

Actually, the vast majority are the most popular worship hits of the past two decades. It provides us with a collision of the old and new: on one hand, you have Smith’s trademark vocals, which lean towards the simplicity and soulfulness of the 90s and 00s.

This comes out most fervently in ‘Healing Rain’ and the timeless ‘Nothing But The Blood’. Yet at the same time, we are presented with songs like Cory Asbury’s ‘Reckless Love’, title track ‘Surrounded (Fight My Battles)’ from Upper Room, and Jesus Culture’s ‘Revelation Song’.

By collaborating with a variety of artists who co-lead worship with Smithy, this album is given more dimension and depth than a greatest hits collection. Ce Ce Winans is spectacular on ‘King Of Glory’, (can anyone else feel the Spirit fall like it’s 1995?), and Skye Reedy makes ‘Agnus Dei’ her own.

Cut in a noughties prayer for revival by Pastor Alex Seeley of The Belonging Co church (formerly of Aussie worship band Planetshakers), and you could say this album captures the essence of a simpler time in worship – when songs where sung purely based on Scripture, the piano was a steadfast friend on stage, and vocalists would give verbal cues so we didn’t miss the next verse.

Your mum will love this album. Your youth group kids will be mystified that it lacks synth and no one is yelling or rapping, and Gen Y will be taken back to their childhood. Pick up a copy of this if you want to revisit the classics and experience some new worship songs sung with soul.

Available at Koorong and iTunes.



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