Sounds like … Michael W. Smith classics reinterpreted in the modern pop, rock and dance genres

At a glance … today's top artists pay tribute to the legend through mostly inventive re-interpretations likely to introduce his older material to a younger audience

Michael W. Smith needs no introduction as one of the top artists in contemporary Christian music history. Given his track record and enormous impact through almost 30 years of music ministry, a tribute CD seems only fitting. It seems equally appropriate that the project would come from Rocketown Records, the label Smith founded. The ten-track CD, Ultimate Music Makeover: The Songs of Michael W. Smith, features some of today's top artists—and a few from yesteryear—putting a fresh spin on several of Smitty's most memorable songs.

Launching the list is "Go West Young Man," a pop/rock staple revisited by All Star United, whose Brit-pop influences shine through loud and proud, giving the track a more modern rock and melodic flavor. Sarah Kelly's "You Need a Savior" follows, giving the early classic a fresh rock interpretation just enough '80s seasoning. Stylistically, she sounds more like The Benjamin Gate or newcomer Sarah Brendel, but her mighty vocal still impressively soars. "Rocketown," another '80s classic, is surprisingly interpreted as a punk-influenced rocker by Shaun Groves—certainly his most aggressive performance to date, likely to reach a younger audience with an older song.

"Secret Ambition," as performed by the David Crowder Band, needed little change to make it work as an album highlight. Still, they tweak it just enough by spiking the familiar beats with some electronic elements. Smitty's synth-heavy "Lamu" hasn't held up as well ...

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Ultimate Music Makeover: The Songs of Michael W. Smith
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Release Date
August 2, 2005
Rocketown Records
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