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The Scoop
Rounding up the latest in Christian music ... and beyond
by Andree Farias | posted 9/20/2004



After much speculation, false information, and a publicity stunt or two, U2 have finally released concluding details about their upcoming album for Interscope Records, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Set for a November 23 release, U2's eleventh studio album has been four years in the making, and it features the production skill of Steve Lillywhite, the same engineer who brought to life the band's seminal releases Achtung Baby! and The Joshua Tree. We hear Christian music's own Michael W. Smith was invited to play keys on the record, but it's not yet determined whether his contributions made the final master.

Speaking of Smitty, we have some details about his 18th recording and first pop record in five years. Healing Rain (Reunion, due Oct. 26), Smith's first pop effort since 1999's This Is Your Time, promises to be a much needed return to form after a phase that included an instrumental album (Freedom) and two live worship releases (Worship and Worship Again). The new album's eleven cuts (ten originals, plus a cover of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water") were co-produced by Matt Bronlewee and Sam Ashworth, including the songwriting input of Wayne Kirkpatrick and Martin Smith of Delirious?

Kierra "KiKi" Sheard had incredible first-week sales figures for her EMI Gospel debut, I Owe You, which topped the Billboard's Top Gospel chart and hit #4 on the magazine's overall Christian chart. And that on top of numerous weeks at radio for her first single, "You Don't Know." Like mother, like daughter …

Besides keeping busy with his stint on Third Day's Live Wire Tour and his work on his upcoming Welcome to Diverse City album, tobyMac wants the world to know what music he's currently jamming to. For those who have iTunes loaded on their computers, Toby has added a list of his favorite music to the Celebrity Playlists section of the popular downloading service, and it includes selections by the likes of the Fugees, Lenny Kravitz, The Police, Sade, and the Black Eyed Peas. Hey, what about some MarsILL?

The votes aren't in yet, but the gospel music community is up in arms over the inclusion of Kanye West's The College Dropout in the Rap/Hip Hop CD of the Year as a potential contender for next year's Stellar Awards. The album, with lots of profanities and an explicit lyrics label on the cover, has sparked heated debates in gospel music circles, mostly due to its religiously-charged third single, "Jesus Walks." The official list of nominees isn't out yet, but the preliminary ballot lists the controversial album as a potential contender, probably on the strength of said song. The song is good and all, but album of the year?

The list of nominees for the upcoming American Music Awards has been revealed, and the same usual suspects have been tapped for awards. Besides the ever-so-ubiquitous Usher, Avril Lavigne, and Jessica Simpson in the general categories, the Contemporary Inspirational category nominated pop favorites Steven Curtis Chapman, MercyMe, and Third Day. The show will air on ABC on Sunday, November 14, at 8 p.m., and Jimmy Kimmel will host. All we need now is a three-way tie.

If you're still on the fence with regards to Chevelle's upcoming album for Epic Records, the band has made available clips to every song on their official website. This Type of Thinking (Will Do Us In) releases September 21st, and Christian Music Today's take on it will be up next week




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