My favorite CCM band released a new album a couple weeks ago. I preordered it from MusicChristian and it arrived on the day of release. I eagerly popped it into the CD player, and like "Coming Up To Breathe", my first reaction based on Track 1 was that this isn’t the band I know and love. "Goodbye Ordinary" is heavier, for them, in electric guitar than I prefer, not to say that I dislike the song altogether. "Time Has Come" starts with a sound that, if I didn’t know to whom I was listening, I would think it is Chris Tomlin. Not until "I Know" does MercyMe’s traditional sound come through. I like "God With Us" (except the end with the strings), "Sanctified," "You Reign," and "Grace Tells Another Story." "Alright" is a feel-good track with an "Ooh ooh" ditty. I really like the false ending that segues into a tag that is repeated. They have done this on several tracks in the past, and there is just something about when they do that that I really like. Maybe it is to help burn the tag lyrics into your head or practice harmonizing with them. (If the former, it is "Count up your joy when the world comes crashing / Hold your head up and keep on dancing.") "My Heart Will Fly" continues their sound, but my favorite track is "Finally Home." Bart Millard has such a beautiful voice that you can just focus on his lyrics and singing. Aside from the electric guitar with its distortion coming through, this is a simple acoustic song, more about telling its story than the music (reminds me of "MawMaw’s Song"). I really like the one-voice melody that Bart sings, which progresses into a two-, then three-/ four-, and maybe even five-voice polyphony.
After listening to the album a number of times, I really enjoy it, and I am glad that I don’t judge it based on my first impression of the first track. This was the same with "Coming Up To Breathe," where repeated listening is what endeared the album to me. Hopefully for their tour they will choose to stop by Portland. Their album tours have not led them this way recently, though they have been to Puyallup for the WWC Fair and to Tualatin with Audio Adrenaline. I have seen them perform three times, so I look forward to the next time.