A couple of days ago, I shared current thoughts on the 1998 album Exodus. Below is the review I wrote for Worship Leader Magazine in 1998. I’m pleased to discover that I had at least positively noticed the concluding “I See You” then, although I haven’t paid it as much attention in the intervening years.
The radical worshipper possesses a heart discontent in stagnation, and vision-setter Michael W. Smith is profoundly impacted by this truth. “Moving the masses” is not unfamiliar to Smitty; through this diverse collection of new worship material he urges on a sadly captive New Israel.
Smith’s mostly instrumental title track is a dramatic introduction evocative of an awakening, traveling human spirit. Jars of Clay, dc Talk, Sixpence, Cindy Morgan, Chris Rice, The Katinas, Third Day, and Crystal Lewis have all offered creations especially for this recording, which aims to “stretch traditional perceptions of worship.”
In dc Talk’s “My Will” we are reminded of a core worship concept: aligning my will with God’s supreme will. The humble “Needful Hands” from Jars of Clay then takes the baton, carrying the theme of yielding in order to find potency completely in God.
Third Day’s brawny rendering of Smith’s “Agnus Dei,” not necessarily an improvement on the original, does incorporate a couple of sparkling surprises. The simple, repetitive “Nothin’” by Rocketown artist Chris Rice will be a favorite.
Though the musical makeup of The Katinas’ “Draw Me Close” isn’t extraordinary, these pure, adoring prayer words are destined to be sung nationwide. Crystal Lewis’s anthem, a towering trumpet-call, is an outstanding marriage of music to the text from Revelation!
Smith salutes Rich Mullins in “I See You” — reminding us that God is visible even though bondage is still there in the rear-view mirror. The Israelites came to see more clearly a cloud-and-fire God whose interest in loving relationship was spectacularly displayed. Michael W. Smith, please keep soaring ahead, impelling us — believers also in transit — to new views of the same amazing God.
– Brian Casey, July 1998