Click here to listen to the song, “Time Has Come” and to see the music chords.
No matter how much you may idolize a band, it’s inevitable that you skip at least one or two songs on every CD. There will be ones that propel your feet to tap the floor incessantly, but there will be ones that drive you to press the ‘forward’ button.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the case with MercyMe’s latest CD, “All That Is Within Me.” Following the engrossing, infectious rock beats of their 2006 release “Coming Up to Breathe,” the band infuses their songs with a trademark abundance of verve and life; fans of the last album will not be disappointed by this one.
At first listen, the songs meld into each other—the album seems like one musical stream-of-consciousness punctuated by bass strains, staccato drum beats, and Bart Millard’s energetic voice. But, with repeated listening, your ear begins to discern the subtle differences that separate each track from another and your ear also learns how to slow down during more contemplative tracks such as “Sanctified,” “Grace Tells Another Story,” and “Finally Home.”
The songs are fresh, fast, and upbeat, starting with the first song, “Goodbye Ordinary,” which opens with escalating choral sounds that call to mind Jars of Clay (think their original title album). “Goodbye Ordinary” is easily one of the best songs on the album—it’s an open vow to say goodbye to the old self and start a life that’s meaningful, a vow that’s important for a committed faith journey. What makes MercyMe one of today’s best Christian bands is their unapologetic declaration of faith, their ability to connect an obvious love for God in lyrics that aren’t sanctimonious and that are backed up by flawless percussion. “I Know” is that song of open declaration—”I know, I know that God is able / I know, I know that he still reigns / I know, I know that love has found a way.” Another stand-out track is “You Reign,” an earnest worship song with roots in Psalms: “You reign. Glory in the highest, your reign. Let creation testify….Every knee will bow and every tongue proclaim that Jesus reigns.”
While it’s unfair to compare any Christian band’s sound with another, most of them have well-produced melodies and harmonies that seem to cross-reference each other. Listening to this CD calls to mind not only Jars of Clay but also Casting Crowns, Newsboys (particularly the old album, “Step Up to the Microphone”), and NeedtoBreathe. Even certain sounds of secular musicians The Fray and John Mayer seem to sneak in here and there—John Mayer’s presence from “Stop This Train” (off his album “Continuum”) seems to pervade the last track, “Finally Home.”
MercyMe has come a long way from the slightly saccharine song “I Can Only Imagine.” This CD is a deeply connected music journal—its priority is to find God on a higher plane, clear out the old with the new, and literally shout out God’s love from the mountaintops. With CD releases that average at least one debut a year, MercyMe’s determination to compose and share praise with God is definitely ambitious but no less admirable.