1994 Benson Music Group
Produced By: Michael Sweet & Greg Fulkerson
Michael Sweet: Lead Vocals, Guitar
Gregg Fulkerson: Guitar, Organ, Keyboard, Background Vocals
Jamie Wollam: Drums and Percussion
Michael Spears: Bass
Doug Beiden: Background Vocals
Does this album really need any sort of introduction. Michael Sweet, frontman of the iconic Christian band, Stryper. After the band originally called it quits, Michael went on to pursue a solo career and signed with Benson, the distributor of Stryper's albums to the Christian market.
When I first learned of this album I was super excited. On one hand I was bummed that it meant Stryper was no more, but on the other hand I was excited I would be getting some music that I figured would still be in that Stryper vein. His self titled solo debut does contain that Stryper sound, but this is no Stryper album. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I would describe the sound of the album in general as commercial rock. That's not a knock against the album though as I still enjoy listening through it. Like with Stryper, there are some great guitar riffs and solos. Michael is a underrated guitarist in my opinion and he's got some good work on the album. The songs have big vocal chorus, making it super easy to sing along with. As I type this the chorus of All This and Heaven Too and J.E.S.U.S. are stuck in my head.
Tomorrow, Tonight and Someday are the required ballads. The album was dedicated to his wife Kyle, and you can tell that by the lyrics to Tomorrow Tonight. Even though in the liner notes he credits Ephesians 5:25-28 as the source for the lyrics, the chorus reads:
Can we dream about tomorrow, tonight, oh baby
And we'll dream that everything's gonna be alright
The next verse continues:
I've got a thousand prayers, each one is for you and I
Lord knows I really care for you baby, I would live and die for you
I know I've hurt you before, I know I've hurt you, now I wanna heal you
Baby I'm sorry once more, for what I've put you through
I honestly don't think he's referring to Jesus here with "baby". I really don't care if this love (?) song is about God or not. It appears as if it's more of an apology song to his wife more than anything. I don't have the context here so I don't know what Michael is exactly referring to, but the whole song just sounds like a commercial rock ballad.
Overall I think it's a good solo effort and if I'm being honest I prefer it over some of his more current Sweet & Lynch stuff. It's dated, 90's Christian rock. While some of Stryper's songs may not have been overtly in your face Christian, Sweet doesn't shy away from his faith with this album. Since this album followed Stryper's controversial Against The Law album, I wasn't sure what we'd get w/ Michael's first solo effort.
Some of the songs may sound dated (I Think You Hear Me Knockin') in today's market and a song about abstinence (Ain't No Safe Way) may sound out of place in today's society, I still believe that this album still holds up well in 2018 and should go back into my CD rotation. The album is pretty easy to find and is usually pretty dirt cheap. If you're a fan of Michael's music or just a Stryper fan that wants more, why not check it out. It may not blow your socks off, but it's a good solid album in my opinion.