MercyMe – Lifer (2017) – Album Review

For those that don’t know, MercyMe is a Christian rock/pop band out of Texas who have been tearing up the Christian charts since 2001.  You might know them and not know it. Back in 2001, they had a crossover hit to mainstream radio with the song “I Can Only Imagine”.  This was the song that introduced me to the band and has made me a fan ever since.

Back on March 31, 2017, MercyMe has brought us their 8th studio album (this does not include the 6 independent releases they had before signing with a major label).  Their new album ‘Lifer’ has another batch of catchy songs that celebrate Christ, and life in general, but in a way that does not feel preachy.  It actually feels fun and not slammed down your throat. ‘Lifer’ is really a party album that will make you dance, celebrate and might actually make you feel good.

With the way modern radio is, we probably won’t see another Christian crossover song and that is a crying shame.  I preach about this on every Christian album I review.  The mainstream media won’t play Christian music because it is taboo for some reason.  They feel Christian music should be relegated to the Christian only radio stations.  My problem with that is people are missing good music…sorry…GREAT MUSIC!!!  Who cares if the topic is God or Jesus or anything Christian.  The message is way better than the crap that is being played right now.  The world could use a little positivity right about now.  It is always doom and gloom.  Sorry…Got off topic there for a second.  Please forgive me.

“And now Ladies & Gentlemen” back to the album.  The first song on the album is the title track “Lifer” and since we know all songs are Christian themed I won’t go into that on every song.  I will only do it to make a point about the song.  The song will immediately get you on your feet and dancing.  The simple, yet catchy chorus is surrounded by great beats and Bart Millard’s voice throughout.  You can’t go wrong with that.

The band has no intentions of stopping the fun yet and you go immediately into the equally danceable song, “You Found Me”.    The Drummer, Robby Schaffer, is continually driving that heavy beat that keeps your feet moving and is the energy to the song.

For the third track, MercyMe, changes up a little with “Grace Got You”.  I different keyboard opening and Bart is at his best. The man’s voice is so smooth and has such a special quality.  There is an effortlessness to it, that not many can match.  There is also a swagger to it because he is seems so comfortable in what he does.  As a result, this is one of my favorite songs on the album.  It even has a little rap breakout in it, featuring John Reuben.  It would fit nicely on the radio since all pop songs have a hip hip piece to them…right!

“Best News Ever” is another song that gets you moving and I can see this being played in Church during a worship service as has that feel and would get my hands up in the air.  I will mention that I like how the story of the song is basically telling you that Christ has already done all the work for you to be saved and you just need to believe.  That isn’t just good news, it is the Best News Ever!!  It is simple and corny…but it works for me.

Now we have their first single, “Even If” which slows things way down with such a beautiful ballad.  The song is so moving and I have attached the lyric video so you can really listen to the lyrics and we what I mean.  An amazing song and another favorite of mine and maybe can help you through some dark times.

“Hello Beautiful” starts off with a little acoustic guitar and goes into a drum beat.  The overall tempo is slower than most of the other songs, but that adds to the charm of the song.  It is so inspiring and worth mentioning.  The song talks about saying goodbye to regret and everything negative in your life and say hello to all the beautiful things in your life.  At least that is what I get out of it.

Next up we have a great rock anthem (or maybe Christ Anthem).  “We Win” is one of those songs that must be played during their live shows.  I can see the crowd on their feet singing along and then everyone screaming in unison “We Win”.  It would also make a great worship song.

The most fun song on the album is “Happy Dance”.  It is no Pharrell Williams song, “Happy” (thank goodness), but has that same vibe.  The song wants to get you on your feet and make you feel good and it succeeds.  It has great dance beats and the way they “Happy Dance” was cool for me.  Overall great song!

“Heaven’s Here” is one of the cheesier songs on the album.  What I mean is that the song is a typical Christian message song and nothing overly earth shattering.  Very basic.  However, I still enjoy it and won’t be deleting it out of my library.  It fits well with the flow of the album and still works to a certain degree. It is not my favorite, but still worthy.

The final song, “Ghost”, is the song that is the most dramatically different then the rest.  It is a haunting ballad and much darker tone.  There is a sadness with the organ playing and the overall sound and way Bart sings it.  It is really an amazing song.  It picks up a little bit in the last half where the person comes out of the darkness.  This could very well be the best song on the album.  What a way to end it.

Track Listing:

  1. “Lifer” – Keeper
  2. “You Found Me” – Keeper
  3. “Grace Got You” – Keeper
  4. “Best News Ever” – Keeper
  5. “Even If” – Keeper
  6. “Hello Beautiful” – Keeper
  7. “We Win” – Keeper
  8. “Happy Dance” – Keeper
  9. “Heaven’s Here” – Keeper
  10. “Ghost” – Keeper

Band Members:

  • Bart Millard – vocals
  • Nathan Cochran – bass
  • Michael John Scheuchzer – guitars
  • Robby Shaffer – drums
  • Barry Graul – guitars

10 keepers out 10 songs – 100% (5 out 5 stars)  I don’t think I can say enough great things about this album.  MercyMe out does themselves with this release.  It might be my favorite non-Rock release of the year so far.  Timing has a lot to do with it as the album came out when I needed an album like this to listen to and help me through some tough times.  And it did that.  Even if I wasn’t in a bad space at the time, I think I would have still loved this album and I think you will too.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

 

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