Since their last full album in 2014, WELCOME TO THE NEW, we’ve heard quite a different sound from MercyMe than what we might expect from the band who gave us songs like “I can only Imagine,” “Word of God Speak,” and “So Long Self.”
The change in style and sound hasn’t affected the message of their songs or the quality of the music. Songs like “Greater,” and “Dear Younger Me,” have powerful lyrics and are still popular radio plays because they mean something to the listeners. It is apparent, listeners love the new music! The first single from the new album,“Even If,” found its way to the top of multiple charts including No. 10 on the Billboard Top 200 and No. 1 on Billboard Christian Album Charts at its debut. I’m not surprised.
One of my favorite parts of a MercyMe album is the very beginning. They always grab you at the very start and from then on, you’re hooked! LIFER is no different, from the first few seconds of the first song, you’re pulled in. It gets even better from there. The title track, “Lifer,” sets the upbeat tone for the rest of the album. The vibe from the cd isn’t as sporadic as “Welcome To The New.” It is peppy, but laid back. Even with the edgy sound on the vocals and clap of the snare in the background on songs like “We Win,” it never feels like too much or too hard.
There are some CDs I wouldn’t mind driving down the beach side with the top-down and speakers cranked. This is definitely one of those. The pacing is excellent; songs are arranged to be message-centric, leading from start to climax to resolve in such a way so that you never have three fast or slow songs simultaneously.”Heaven’s Here” emphasizes the joy we should have in Christ because He lives inside of us. Heaven is our reward, but the joy of the Lord is our strength, and Jesus is what makes Heaven so glorious. The line, “We don’t have to wait, Heaven’s here with us,” stresses the fact that rejoicing isn’t just our final destination, but we should rejoice in the journey. We should glory in Christ until we are made like Him in all His glory!
As a good CD should, the last song leaves us with things to ponder and challenge us. LIFER does this well as the last song speaks of the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost. Actually, the entire album leads to the point where we receive the full effect of the final song. This final track titled “Ghost” speaks about the Holy Spirit of God who lives within us, convicts us, haunts of sins. He calms us and searches us. The holiness of God haunts us and yet brings us peace. The Holy Ghost changes everything within us, for He is constantly purging us, purifying us, making us more like Jesus. It is the challenge to every Christian to surrender more each day to the will and way of God by His Holy Spirit working in and through us.
I definitely recommend this album to everyone, particularly those looking for something atypical in the Christian Contemporary genre. The album is available digitally on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon. The CD is sold in Walmart, Cracker Barrel, or online at www.mercyme.org.