STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 22043-12664 LABEL: Sparrow SPD76512 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2 RELEASE DATE: 2007-01-19 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Simon Eden
If you go by the GMA (Gospel Music Association) Stephen Curtis Chapman is the biggest contemporary Christian artist in the world ever. 18 albums later, he has won a record 51 Dove awards and five Grammys. So if you are new to CCM, a boxed set that combines his 10th album release, the 1997 'Greatest Hits' and his 15th, the 2004 'All Things New' sounds like a great introduction to the best of what you may have missed. It also reveals the development of the formula that made him so successful. For non-Americans, the slight country music tinge heard on some of the hits may not be too appealing though no one could argue with the fine musicianship displayed through them all while songs like "For The Sake Of The Call" and "Heaven In The Real World" have memorable hooks. The success formula has been one of easily accessible radio friendly pop. The lyrics are light and fragrant but unchallenging, whilst the music is easy and inoffensive but verging on a little dull. It is probably this balance that has allowed his music to be acceptable to the mainstream secular radio stations. The 2004 album shows how Stephen has kept up to date musically and even brought an occasional blues lick and hard rock riff into the proceedings while retaining the sparkle vital for the mainstream crossover audience. Bottom line is that Stephen is still a master of his CCM craft.
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