Into the Light
Part of Phil Stacey's problem on American Idol was that he fit into no easy category: he had a clear, clean voice suited for adult contemporary pop, but a personal background that suggested he could fit as a country singer, an idea pursued on his awkward debut. Several years later and a major-label past now behind him, Phil Stacey finally lands in the right genre with his second album, Into the Light: CCM. Into the Light is a very contemporary Christian album, it is aware of the sounds and songs of the outside world and some of this feeds back into the album, particularly in the spacy textures that suggest U2 as filtered through Coldplay. As this indicates, this is pop music with an inspirational bent, and that fits Stacey's earnestness precisely. He sounds comfortable in this setting, rising with the crescendos without pushing too hard, but this isn't just about Stacey's performance: he also has a solid set of songs that hold together as an album, a set of songs that work not just as inspirational numbers but also as adult pop tunes.