miChaeL w. Smith Wonder (Reunion Records) FOR FANS OF: Elton John, Coldplay, old MWS QQQQ After spending the bulk of the past decade gearing his material around praise and worship, the legendary piano man, Michael W. Smith, returns to his radio-ready roots. Consider Wonder an unofficial follow-up to 1999’s This Is Your Time as it finds the tunesmith covering contemporary issues (from grief to romance and compassion) flanked in modern production. Surging chords and choruses evoke Coldplay at times, but also find Smitty blending symphonic grandeur with practically perfect pop that fans fell in love with for the first time nearly three decades ago. –Andy Argyrakis WE LIKE: “Take My Breath Away” BeBo norman Ocean (Sparrow) FOR FANS OF: Caedmon’s Call, Chris Rice QQQQ Let’s be clear from the outset: Ocean is Bebo Norman’s finest effort. Now a decade in, the early “aw, shucks” demeanor of the Georgia native has developed into a career built on finely tuned acoustic pop songs encasing lyrics as authentic as any in the industry. Beautiful pop gems like “everything i Hoped You’d Be” and “Here Goes” (co-written by Brandon Heath) along with the understated “The Middle” feature a songwriter in his prime. Ocean explores the deeper waters of faith in the most compelling ways. –Matt Conner WE LIKE: “Everything I Hoped You’d Be” the afterS Light Up the Sky (iNO Records) FOR FANS OF: Tenth Avenue North, One Republic, Remedy Drive QQQ After their success with singles “Never Going Back to OK,” as well as prominent placement in shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” it would seem the Texas natives are skyrocketing to success. With Light Up the Sky, they shift to a One Republic-esque sound that only emphasizes their cohesiveness. The radio- friendly title track boasts a synthed-up chorus that will likely sidle into more television placements with its polished vocal. “Saving Grace” is another standout, with a beautifully mixed keyboard backing and moving message of hope. Though it is somewhat formulaic in places, the band has crafted a third effort worth listening to over and over again. –Grace S. Cartwright WE LIKE: “Light Up the Sky” aduLt Contemporary reviewS All release dates and album titles are subject to change. For the most up-to-date release schedule, visit www.CCMmagazine.com/music/upcoming_ releases. aduLt Contemporary new reLeaSeS 09.28.2010 MiCHAeL W. SMiTH WOnDER (ReuNiON ReCORDS/PROvi- DeNT) BeBO NORMAN OCEan (BeC ReCORDiNGS/eMiCMG) DAviD PHeLPS DaViD PhELPS ChRiSTMaS (SPRiNG HOuSe/eMiCMG) adult Contemporary CCM 43