Editors’ Notes By the early ’90s, Michael W. Smith had already released a clutch of CCM ballads that shimmer like gemstones. I’ll Lead You Home, from 1995, also delivers the goods, especially the gospel-kissed title cut that yearns for the promised land. But it’s also clear that Smith is bucking expectations: Both “Breakdown,” a moody political number that rides tight funk rock, and “A Little Stronger Everyday,” an inspirational with finger-snapping beats echoing Paul Simon, upend his reputation as a pop balladeer.

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