A Hearty Welcome | Posted March 31, 2014 Staff Reviewer
When you hear a band like MercyMe declare that it is “out with the old and in with the new,” there are several different things your mind can think.
Longtime fans of the group that has penned some of the most well-loved songs in CCM (“I Can Only Imagine”, anyone?) might worry that their beloved band has gone off the deep end and created something so far removed from their signature sound, that any trace of familiarity is gone. On the other hand, you have scoffers who can’t help but wonder if anything has really changed at all. I mean, how many musical bandwagons can you hop aboard before it starts to leave you a little cynical?
I admittedly fell into the latter group when I received my copy of MercyMe’s latest studio project, Welcome to the New. While I’ve always been a fan of their Adult Contemporary-friendly sound, I couldn’t picture this prestiged quartet doing anything differently, let alone doing it well. However, what I soon discovered upon listening was a series of songs that left my stuffy misconceptions utterly shattered.
“Welcome To The New” introduces the sonic shift, which is bent towards a balance of upbeat pop, and synth rock. They’ve always been something of a mature pop group at heart, but this completely renovates anything they’ve done before. Far gone are the days of sleepier jingles. This is something that stands up to the best of ‘em.
The song also introduces the theme you’ll find tied into almost every song on the record, about how Christ has set us free from the laws of religion and offered us grace enough to repeatedly fall down and get back up again: “You broke your back, kept all the rules, jumped through the hoops to make God approve of you, oh tell me, was it worth it? / The whole time you were spinning plates did you stop to think that maybe He’s okay with just you? / There’s no need to join the circus.”
“Gotta Let It Go” blazes out of the gate and quickly sets itself atop a long list of some of the best material this band has put out, musically speaking. It carries a blisteringly powerful modern rock vibe, while somehow tipping its hat to the sounds found in much of the music birthed at the start of the millennium. Think Smash Mouth, without the cheesy nostalgia.
Another smokey rocker—no pun intended—is found on “Burn Baby Burn,” perfectly incorporating synth elements into the backdrop of a gritty anthem about shining boldly for Christ. It’s a theme that’s being touched on more and more in CCM lately, but yet have I heard it come from such a fresh perspective.
OK, so the band has clearly proven that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks, but what about those fans who actually liked the old dog? Fear not! While Bart and boys have mastered the ability to reinvent themselves, fans who’ve been with them since the beginning with be glad to hear that worshipful and cutting MercyMe mainstays are indeed present here.
Lead single ”Shake,” the folksy “Greater,” future radio darling “Finish What He Started” and open letter “Dear Younger Me” all return to the core of the group, which is to both challenge and inspire. Each song offers some of the strongest songwriting of their lengthy career.
One of the biggest gems will be found in ”Flawless,” which was originally slated to be the title track. It sums up everything good about this album in just over four minutes. Old meeting new, incredible lyrics, and a message that sternly reminds us that God isn’t looking for our perfection, He just wants us: “No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises, no matter the scars, still the truth is, the cross has made, the cross has made you flawless.”
I could say Welcome To The New is a step forward for MercyMe, but that would be lie. It’s more like 12 steps and a giant leap. I’m thoroughly impressed by the production here, which is neither bypassed or overdone, something that has plagued some of their prior albums of the past. Bart Millard’s lead vocals are the strongest I’ve heard yet, and the band is all playing together better than ever.
I have few complaints about this album, other than it was a little shorter than what I’m used to from them, but as I always say, if you’re left wanting more, obviously they’re doing something right. This is one of the strongest albums Christian music has to offer in 2014, and a step in the right direction for a band who has clearly shown that they still have many years ahead of them.
Song To Download:
“Gotta Let It Go”
People of earth. So here’s the deal. We want you to share your “Shake.” Don’t know what that is? Check out this video below, and we’ll show you how it’s done.
People have asked if this new passion for identity and grace shows up on the upcoming MercyMe album “Welcome To The New”…April 8 by the way (wink)
Yes. Hence the title of the album and the name of this blog “TheNewBart”
But just in case you’re not sold, here’s a song from said album. Continue reading
Do you live in Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas or Houston? We’ll be hanging out at some Lifeway Christian Stores in your area to celebrate the release of our new album in April, and would love to see you. Scroll below for details or connect with us on Facebook here to learn more.
Date: Tues 4/8
Event: Moody Lifeway Christian Store – Meet & Greet with KLOVE
ADDRESS: 150 W. Chicago Ave.Chicago, IL60610
Located on the campus of Moody Bible Institute at the corner of Chicago Avenue and LaSalle Boulevard
Date: Wed 4/9
Event: Bridgeton LifeWay Christian Store – Meet & Greet with Joy FM
Address: 11977 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO63044
Date: Thurs 4/10
Event: Franklin LifeWay Christian Store – Meet & Greet with The Fish
Address: 1725 Galleria Blvd.Franklin, TN37067
Date: Fri 4/11
Event: Liveway Christian Stores – Meet & Greet with Joy FM
Address: Coming Soon…
Date: Mon 4/14
Event: Vista Ridge Mall Acoustic Show + Meet & Greet with Lifeway Christian Stores & KLTY
Address: 2401 South Stemmons Freeway Lewisville, TX 75067
Date: Mon 4/14
Event: Hurst Lifeway Christian Store – Meet & Greet with KLTY (Grand Opening)
Address: 884 NE Mall BlvdHurst, TX76053
Date: Tues 4/15
Event: Webster LifeWay Christian Store – Meet & Greet with KSBJ
Time: 11:00 AM
Address: 1513 W. Bay Area Blvd.Webster, TX77598
Located in Bay Area in the BaybrookVillageShopping Center across from Baybrook Mall
Date: Tues 4/15
Event: Katy LifeWay Christian Store – Meet & Greet with KSBJ
Time: 2:30 PM
Address: 20230 Katy Freeway Katy, TX77449
Located off Katy Freeway at the Fry Road exit, one-half mile past Fry Road on access road.
Date: Tues 4/15
Event: NW Houston LifeWay Christian Store – Meet & Greet with KSBJ
Time: 6:00 PM
Address: 17776 Tomball Pkwy.Houston, TX77064
Located at Highway 249 and FM 1960 next to Willowbrook Mall in Willowbrook Court
Did you know the enemy most likely has a better grasp of who you are in Christ than you do?
Roughly 2 years ago, a couple of dear friends helped me realize this. Daily they would remind me who I am in Christ. Constantly telling me I’m holy, righteous and redeemed. And you know what? Over time I started to believe it. Maybe that’s what it means to set your mind on things above.
Here are the scriptures my buddies were constantly pouring over me.
I believe if you stand around truth long enough, it just might change you. So by all means, stay a while. The truth has certainly changed me!
My Identity in Jesus Christ
John 1:12 – I am a child of God (Romans 8:16).
John 15:1,5 – I am a part of the true vine, a channel (branch) of His Life.
John 15:15 – I am Christ’s friend.
John 15:16 – I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit.
Acts 1:8 – I am a personal witness of Christ for Christ.
Romans 3:24 – I have been justified and redeemed.
Romans 5:1 – I have been justified (completely forgiven and made righteous) and am at peace with God.
Romans 6:1-6 – I died with Christ and died to the power of sin’s rule in my life.
Romans 6:7 – I have been freed from sin’s power over me.
Romans 6:18 – I am a slave of righteousness.
Romans 6:22 – I am enslaved to God.
Romans 8:1 – I am forever free from condemnation.
Romans 8:14,15 – I am a son of God (God is literally my “Papa”) (Galatians 3:26; 4:6).
Romans 8:17 – I am an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ.
Romans 11:16 – I am holy.
Romans 15:7 – Christ has accepted me.
1 Corinthians 1:2 – I have been sanctified.
1 Corinthians 1:30 – I have been placed in Christ by God’s doing; Christ is now my wisdom from God, my righteousness, my sanctification, and my redemption.
1 Corinthians 2:12 – I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God.
1 Corinthians 2:16 – I have been given the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19 – I am a temple (home) of God; His Spirit (His life) dwells in me.
1 Corinthians 6:17 – I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:19,20 – I have been bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 – I am a member of Christ’s body (Ephesians 5:30).
2 Corinthians 1:21 – I have been established in Christ and anointed by God.
2 Corinthians 2:14 – He always leads me in His triumph in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:14,15 – Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – I am a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:18,19 – I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – I am the righteousness of God in Christ.
Galatians 2:4 – I have liberty in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life.
Galatians 3:26,28 – I am a child of God and one in Christ.
Galatians 4:6,7 – I am a child of God and an heir through God.
Ephesians 1:1 – I am a saint (1 Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).
Ephesians 1:3 – I am blessed with every spiritual blessing.
Ephesians 1:4 – I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him.
Ephesians 1:5 – I have been adopted as God’s Child.
Ephesians 1:7,8 – I have been redeemed and forgiven, and am a recipient of His lavish grace.
Ephesians 2:5 – I have been made alive together with Christ.
Ephesians 2:6 – I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven.
Ephesians 2:10 – I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do His work that He planned beforehand that I should do.
Ephesians 2:13 – I have been brought near to God.
Ephesians 2:18 – I have direct access to God through the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19 – I am a fellow citizen with the saints and a member of God’s household.
Ephesians 3:6 – I am a fellow heir, a fellow member of the body, and a fellow partaker of the promise in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 3:12 – I may approach God with boldness and confidence.
Ephesians 4:24 – I am righteous and holy.
Philippians 3:20 – I am a citizen of heaven.
Philippians 4:7 – His peace guards my heart and my mind.
Philippians 4:19 – God will supply all my needs.
Colossians 1:13 – I have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ.
Colossians 1:14 – I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been canceled (Colossians 2:13,14).
Colossians 1:27 – Christ Himself is in me.
Colossians 2:7 – I have been firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built up and established in Him.
Colossians 2:10 – I have been made complete in Christ.
Colossians 2:12,13 – I have been buried, raised, and made alive with Christ, and totally forgiven.
Colossians 3:1 – I have been raised with Christ.
Colossians 3:3 – I have died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:4 – Christ is now my life.
Colossians 3:12 – I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (1 Thessalonians 1:4).
1 Thessalonians 5:5 – I am a child of light and not of darkness.
2 Timothy 1:7 – I have been given a spirit of power, love, and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:9 – I have been saved and called (set apart) according to God’s purpose and grace (Titus 3:5).
Hebrews 2:11 – Because I am sanctified and am one with Christ, He is not ashamed to call me His.
Hebrews 3:1 – I am a holy partaker of a heavenly calling.
Hebrews 3:14 – I am a partaker of Christ.
Hebrews 4:16 – I may come boldly before the throne of God to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 Peter 2:5 – I am one of God’s living stones and am being built up as a spiritual house.
1 Peter 2:9,10 – I am a part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession.
1 Peter 2:11 – I am an alien and stranger to this world that I temporarily live in.
1 Peter 5:8 – I am an enemy of the devil. He is my adversary.
2 Peter 1:4 – I have been given God’s precious and magnificent promises by which I am a partaker of the divine nature.
1 John 3:1 – God has bestowed a great love on me and called me His child.
1 John 4:15 – God is in me and I am in God.
Lead single “Shake” picks up 75 adds at Christian Radio in first week, music video receives nearly 700,000 views.
Nashville, Tenn. (January 15, 2014) – Ending 2013 on a high note with the release of their energetic single, “Shake,” GRAMMY®-nominated, American Music Award and Dove Award winning band MercyMe carries the enthusiasm into 2014 as they announce their eighth studio album Welcome To The New, available April 8, 2014 from Fair Trade. Collaborating with producers David Garcia and Ben Glover (TobyMac, Mandisa), Welcome To The New represents a shift in tone for the multi-platinum selling group.
“At 41-years-old, I feel like I am just starting to grasp who I am in Christ,” says lead singer Bart Millard. “I grew up in a somewhat legalistic environment where the harder you try, the better God likes you. It was about two years ago a dear friend of mine reminded me I cannot do enough great things to make Christ love me more than He already does. Not to mention, I can’t sabotage this relationship and be taken from His hand. In other words, all the work was truly done on the cross and I cannot mess it up! This is not a new season in my life, it is my life! Everything has changed from this point on, and I want to tell this to anyone who will listen and be the first to welcome them to the new!”
Last fall, MercyMe released “Shake,” their first single from Welcome To The New. The song was an instant hit with radio audiences, gaining adds from 75 stations including K-LOVE, Air 1, Salem Music Network, KLTY/Dallas and more, while shooting up into the Top 20 on the Billboard National Christian Audience Chart.
The single’s impressive momentum has translated well for the “Shake” music video. Filmed on the downtown streets of Huntsville, Ala. with dancers from the NorthAlabamaDanceCenter and over 100 local extras, the high-energy, choreographed music video has been viewed nearly 700,000 times over several video platforms. Fans of the band have been buzzing about the video, using the hashtag “#MMShake” to share their own videos and responses via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The album will be available for pre-order at Lifeway, Family Christian Stores and other participating retailers on January 28, as well as iTunes® on February 18.