And he has the songwriting chops to pull all this off. Chapman rarely needs to resort to the move, so common among CCM songwriters, of writing essentially secular love songs that barely hint at a divine object of love. The extremely infectious hooks of Chapman's up-tempo songs carry explicitly Christian enthusiasm, not generalized notions of love and commitment, and the result is music with a certain idealism. The intolerance of a Falwell or a Robertson is nowhere in evidence here, and non-Christians (I write as one) in search of some common ground with the country's dominant metaphysical outlook might check out Steven Curtis Chapman for what he has to offer.
One word of caution is in order: pop music with strong percussive elements tends to collapse into a barrage of overwhelming, lyric-obscuring noise in Hill Auditorium, and out-of-town sound crews unfamiliar with the hall's hypersensitive acoustics tend to make the problem worse. Someone who was at the concert told me this happened the last time Chapman was here. Why doesn't anybody hold rock shows at Crisler Arena anymore? It would seem a better deal all around.
[Originally published in March, 2002.]