Sovereign is hailed as Michael W Smith’s return to Christian contemporary music after a break of four years, but listening to it, I feel like he’s never gone. This is because the songs here sound exactly like the kind of songs he’d done many, many, many, many times before.
On one hand, there is a cozy sense of intimacy here as, often, it’s just him and the piano, with some minimal accompanying instrumentation in the background, as he goes on and on about the glory of the angels and the whole other gang up there. Yet, the choruses all sound like they come from the songs he has done before in the past. Most of the songs here are pretty unimaginative too. The choir comes in at the expected moments for the “ooh-ooh-ooh” effect, the same drum loops can be heard over so many songs.
These songs aren’t that bad, mind you, they are listenable in a church background ambiance music kind of way. They are just disappointing, because I’d have expected something more inventive after Mr Smith’s break. I do like The One That Really Matters, his duet with Kari Jobe, but that’s mostly due to how their voices harmonize. The melody of this song is of the same formula as the other tracks here, so I guess it’s the best out of a mediocre crop.
Sovereign is easily deposed, I’m afraid.