MercyMe [The Hurt & The Healer] | Posted May 07, 2012 Staff Reviewer
The Hurt & The Healer by MercyMe is a celebration of that moment when these two worlds collide... the deep need for healing and the God who provides it. Produced by Brown Bannister and Dan Muckula, The Hurt & The Healer features signature MercyMe anthems, engaging pop songs and worshipful and intimate moments. The title track radio single is sure to find it's place at the top of Christian radio to continue the band's uninterrupted string of number 1 hits. Lead singer Bart Millard, guitarists Mike Scheuchzer and Barry Graul, bassist Nathan Cochran, drummer Robby Shaffer, and keyboard player Jim Bryson have topped the charts for over ten years since they released their multiplatinum single “I Can Only Imagine,” which is the most downloaded song in the history of Christian music.
The album kicks off with “You Know Better” with an upbeat musical style like openers “This Life” and “Goodbye Ordinary” from their last two albums. The message of the song sets the tone for the album with the confessional lyrics “I know You know better, so why don’t I go wherever You say, come follow wherever You lead, so won’t You help me?” The hook-filled songs are all prayers and conversations with God in the style of my favorite MercyMe songs, “You’re To Blame” and “No More No Less” from Coming Up To Breathe (2006). “You Don’t Care At All” takes it up a notch musically with a piano-rock beat and another confessional chorus, “All of my yesterdays, all of my past mistakes, You’ve thrown them all away, You don’t care at all, You don’t care at all, No matter what I do, or what I’m going through, has already died with You, You don’t care at all.” Amen to that! That type of biblical truth is woven into the thesis statement of the album, the surefire hit title track “The Hurt & The Healer.” The last couple of albums have featured a Brit-rock musical style like The Beatles and electronic rock like Electric Light Orchestra and Maroon 5. Once again MercyMe has adapted and musically this album features gang vocals and an indie alternative rock musical style which reminds me of Arcade Fire and Muse. The chorus sums up our transformation as followers of Jesus: “I’m alive even though a part of me has died, You take this heart and breathe it back to life, I fall into Your arms open wide, when the hurt and The Healer collide.” The song is catchy and expresses the prayerful yearnings of my heart.
Another standout moment is found in “You Are I Am” which declares “You’re the One Messiah, You Are, I AM!” There’s absolutely no doubt Who these songs are worshiping as there are no ambiguous lyrics or allegory, just straight-up sincere and prayer-filled lyrics. Just when I thought MercyMe couldn’t get any better, the next song “Take The Time” rocks my world by featuring a duet with Bear Rinehart, the lead singer of my other favorite band, multiple Dove Award winning NEEDTOBREATHE. The song has a laid back Southern rock musical style like “Washed By The Water” both in music and message, including the signature rock guitar licks that can be heard from both of these incredible bands in concert. It is a match made in heaven for me and a can’t miss song on the album. The album closes with more potential hit songs, “Don’t Give Up On Me,” “Best of Me” and gorgeous closing track “The First Time.” I'm extremely moved by the passion behind the lyrics of all of these songs which speak of how the world says we are never good enough, yet Christ saw something beautiful in us worth dying for—a cohesive theme of every song ever recorded by this incredible band. If you’ve always been a fan of MercyMe or you’re just discovering them, this is a band that you can proudly share with your friends and family. MercyMe never fails to deliver an album proclaiming their faithfulness and adoration of our King and Savior Jesus. Amen.
I’ve been immensely blessed by MercyMe for over ten years. In my opinion each album has improved upon their previous excellent offering with All That Is Within Me (2007) and The Generous Mr. Lovewell (2010) firmly establishing MercyMe as the premier band in all of Christian music with No. 1 hits “God With Us,” “You Reign,” “Finally Home,” “All of Creation,” “Beautiful” and “Move.” My favorite aspect of savoring the next “best” MercyMe album is listening for their signature harmonies, songs with challenging biblical truth wrapped around hooky melodies, and hearing them set new musical trends in Contemporary Christian Music. The Hurt & The Healer (2012) knocks it out of the park with an indie alternative rock musical style like GRAMMY winning bands Arcade Fire and Muse and at least three more No. 1 hits, “You Don’t Care At All,” “The Hurt & The Healer,” “Don’t Give Up On Me” and gorgeous closing track “The First Time.” The Hurt & The Healer by MercyMe has been my most anticipated album of 2012, and I’m pleased to say it exceeds my expectations as I could not “imagine” they could outdo themselves. This incredible band has once again released their newest best album. It has a very warm musical style that will immediately soothe your soul and cause you to worship and sing along with these ultra-talented musicians. The album has a comforting and cohesive theme as each song threads the message of “when the hurt and the Healer collide.” Don’t miss out on the compelling sonic musical feel of this stellar five star album. Bart Millard’s vocals are stronger than ever and the encouraging and prayerful themes of this album are catchy, emotional and inspirational. I fully expect several GMA Dove Award nominations for group, pop/contemporary album/song and one of my selections for Song of the Year, “The Hurt & The Healer.”