Matthew West can write a hit single. He proved it a few times over on his debut Happy two years ago. If you're not familiar with the name, he's the guy who wrote "More," - the "I love you more than the sun and stars" song (Everyone with a collective "Ohhh…that guy!). He also wrote the quirky "The End," and the sweet "You Know Where to Find Me." Playing an acoustic brand of pop/rock, he has a like-ability about his music that is hard to resist, and Happy perfectly displayed that potential. Now, in 2005, West returns with the equally likeable History.
The album is a little more epic and eclectic than Happy was. It starts on an almost epic note on the title track, which deals with redemption. The Matthew West that fans have come to expect returns on the next track, "Next Thing You Know." It's quick, catchy, and personable. Fans will have fun singing the "la la la"s of this already-hit single.
But that's about all they will get in the way of light, fluffy pop. The rest of the album is piano driven, or more rock-oriented. Regardless of which, the songs are decisively heavier lyrically. And to be perfectly honest, most do not really stand out, with the exception of a few quite exceptional tracks. "The Day before You" is a sweet ballad to either God or West's wife, Emily. Whichever way you want to take it, it's a beautifully thought out track that displays what West is capable of.
So in the end, History is a mixed bag. A song may start to bore you, but then the next one gets you singing along. And back and forth until the album concludes. Some songs are forgettable, but others are brilliant. Matthew West has obviously matured since Happy, but he hasn't lost his sense of fun or adventure. There's still some growing to do, and West hasn't solidified his place in CCM history just yet; but a few years down the road, and with a couple of more albums under his belt, things could be very different.- Review date: 09/06/05, written by Josh Taylor
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