I must admit, I do not like the concept of Christian rock. In my mind, it’s an oxymoron - there is usually something very unchristian about a rock band hitting the road and going about their business! Given this attitude, perhaps it is only fitting that there is really only one artist from this genre that I listen to and truly admire: Michael W. Smith.
What makes him special as an artist is that musically his best work is comparable to the likes of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney. “This Is Your Time” is good proof of that. However, we could just as easily praise Smith’s “Missing Person” or “Healing Rain”, which are in turn very Lennonesque. These are incredibly well-crafted tunes; however, the thing that sets them truly apart from most other releases from that era is that they are mature and timeless. Later on in his career, Smith would slowly but surely begin to succumb to the pressure of trends. Don’t get me wrong, he is still very, very good but during his classic period, from 1995 to 2005, Michael W. Smith produced albums that are something else altogether. They showcase songs that do not follow trends, songs that make you nod, songs that make your smile, songs that make you cry and songs that take you on an adventure - a spiritual journey, if you will - into your own mind. Yet, none of them does this better than “This Is Your Time” with its make-every-moment-count attitude:
"This was her time
This was her dance
She lived every moment
Left nothing to chance
She swam in the sea
Drank of the deep
Embraced the mystery
Of all she could be"
As the song enters its larger-than-life climax with wailing bagpipes and background vocals that send shivers down your spine, this listener finds himself hoping the track will never come to an end. Crescendos are not everyone’s cup of tea but if there ever was one that is truly magnificent, it is the finale of “This Is Your Time.”
Almost twenty-five years ago, when I was living in Louisville, KY I met a guy through work who was so incredibly into Michael Smith that the interior of his car was filled with Michael Smith memorabilia: stickers, pictures and all sorts of fan merchandise, such as coffee cups, baseball caps, shirts etc. You can imagine my surprise when he showed it to me during one of our lunches together. If you had been there, you would have also heard my jaw hitting the ground. I must say, I had never seen anything like that before. And just as I thought I had seen in all, he lifted his shirt to show me an Ichthys tattooed on his chest. Inside the intersecting arcs of the symbol, in small print but still readable, were the lyrics to the chorus of another Michael Smith classic called “Someday.” ”Someday” is a fantastic song indeed. Having said that, I still wouldn’t necessarily want it tattooed on my chest. Now, “This Is Your Time” on the other hand…why not?
Check out the official music video of “This Is Your Time.” It’s nothing earth-shattering but it’s a good one.
You can learn more about Michael W. Smith here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.