Style: Pop rock; compare to Bebo Norman, Phillip LaRue, Steven Curtis Chapman
Top tracks: "My Own Little World," "Broken Girl" and "To Me"
What happens when you put a hit-machine like Matthew West in a cabin and feed him real-life stories from fans? On his latest, we find out. Culled from about 10,000 letters, the songs are personal ("Broken Girl" is about spousal abuse, "To Me" is about middle school angst) and, in many ways, spiritually gratifying. West is a master of getting you to think about the eternal in the midst of the temporal. Unfortunately, his musical palette is a bit limited. Every song seems to start with acoustic guitar and builds to a big chorus. That said, West is stretching himself thematically—divorce happens, pain is real, but God still triumphs.1