Mercy Me - The Hurt And The Healer
Last modified: 07 May 2012
are one of those bands that when they release a new album people take notice. They are up there with bands like Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, Jars of Clay and Third Day. (If I missed your favourite band in that list, I'm sorry!)
It was all the way back in 2010 that the band released their last album The Generous Mr Lovewell,
to huge reviews and it was played a lot of times in the Davies household I can tell you. The album entered the Billboard's Top 200 SoundScan Chart in the USA at number 3, giving the band the highest chart debut of their career.
If you want to pick one song that will always go hand in hand with this band, it would have to be the track I Can Only Imagine
, but of course Mercy Me are more than one album.
'The Hurt & The Healer
, produced by Brown Bannister, is a little step forward for the band, although not necessarily in style, because they haven't become a dance act over night. But from their last album you can see the band have really thought about this album, set out targets of where they want to go with it, and have really gone for it.
Frontman Bart Millard explains the meaning and theme behind the album saying "The Hurt & The Healer is a celebration of that moment when these two worlds collide... the deep need for healing and the God who provides it"
. You can see this theme running all the way through the album. From the opener You Know Better
, this is an album that says God You are in control, heal us during all the hard times. The lyrics throughout the album are all about this topic and that side of God's love.
You Don't Care At All
has a rocky edge to it, mixing with the big boys in Christian rock, this does sound in the same vain at what the Newsboys lads are doing at the moment. From two very solid opening tracks it's track three, the title track The Hurt & The Healer
, that really stands out. With its Elbow-esq festival anthem feel it's like a more acoustic Arcade Fire song. I love the chorus with all its clever magical extra musical bits, but I also love the way the words are sung. "I'm Alive, even though a part of me has died, you take my heart and breath it back to life"
To Whom It May Concern
has that pop rock, upbeat sound to it, think 'The Benefit of Mr Kite' (if you're a Beatles fan you know which song I mean, if not... carry on). If there is a song that brings the last album together with this album, it is this song, bridging both albums. Great song as well.
The tempo changes a bit with the track Take the Time
, the first three minutes are a mid tempo number, nothing much to write home about if I'm being honest. But suddenly out of nowhere the song just bursts into life. Guitars are turned on, the distortion pedal is kicked in and for the last minute of the song a repeated line sings "Take Take Take Take The Time"
. Moving on from the massive powerful ending is Don't Give Up On Me
which does sounds a bit 80's, even a bit Duran Duran (don't panic I'm too young to remember them, ask an older person). That isn't meant to sound rude, 80's is very cool at the moment.
Now I never like to be negative for negative's sake, but the album ends with Hold on
, Best Of Me
and The First Time
and I'm not saying they're bad songs, far from it. But they just don't standout compared to the rest of the album, especially the opening three songs. They're good songs and I'm 100% sure there will be people listening to the album saying, they're my favourite songs. But for me, there are other songs on the album I preferred to listen to.
I think overall this says more about the album than it does about me, as this has so many strong tracks on the album that actually the bar has been set very high. Would I recommend this album to people? Yes I would. The fans of the band will lap this up as usual. But within this album, and more than just the music, it's the theme and the lyrics that stand out. We all go through hardship in life and struggles, but God remains the same and will heal you in that hard time. Mercy Me have gently and maturely dealt with the subject of hurt and healing on this record and that has to be commended. A superb album for all to enjoy.
Review by Jono Davies
The Hurt & Healing
To Whom It May Concern
You Know Better