MercyMe [The Generous Mr. Lovewell]
Posted April 27, 2010
MercyMe’s new album is called The Generous Mr. Lovewell. The album has already garnered a No.1 song with “All of Creation,” almost four weeks before the release date. “He’s like Buddy the Elf meets Forrest Gump,” says MercyMe singer Bart Millard of the fictitious namesake behind the band’s sixth studio album. “He sees the good in everyone and knows his neighbors enough to know their needs. Mr. Lovewell may not be the next Billy Graham, but he’s changing the world each day in every little word and deed.” His advisory board—Millard, guitarists Mike Scheuchzer and Barry Graul, bassist Nathan Cochran, drummer Robby Shaffer, and keyboard player Jim Bryson—equips the red balloon-toting make-believer with airy ideas (“Pay for a stranger’s lunch today”) that were already being embraced by MercyMe fans before this batch of songs left the studio.
The album kicks off with “This Life” with an electronic rock beat in the style of Electric Light Orchestra. The chorus “this life was meant to shine” sums up the message of the song and album. I’ve been telling people that the new MercyMe album reminds me of a classic theme album like Sgt. Pepper by The Beatles or Songs For Jane by Maroon 5, both in musical diversity and with the challenging lyrics. The title track keeps the dance floor beat going and brings the theme into focus with these lyrics “He wakes up every day believing he’s gonna make a change. ” I was amazed at the energy of the first three songs as “Move” actually takes it up a notch musically. “Move” has a fantastic rock-dance arrangement like “This Love” by Maroon 5. True to form lyrically, the song keeps the Love Well theme going as Bart passionately sings “gonna move to a different drum no matter what life brings.” A major strength of the album is how the theme of loving others is found in every single song mixed with basically three musical styles. “Crazy Enough” and “Back To You” usher in a more laid-back musical style yet continue the focus on Christ’s commandment to “love one another.”
For those looking for MercyMe’s classic worship-filled musical style, “All of Creation,” “Only You Remain,” “Free” and “Won’t You Be My Love” are all worship choruses written for the Church in the style of “You Reign” and “God With Us.” There are no songs that I find out of place and I love how MercyMe seamlessly weaves the best of what I’ve come to expect from this incredible band with some new twists and turns. Amazingly, even after all of those great new songs, the songs I keep coming back to are “Beautiful” and the closing song “This So Called Love.” “Beautiful” was written with the band’s daughters in mind. Having three young daughters, I’m extremely moved by the passion behind the lyrics speaking of how the world says we are never good enough, yet Christ saw something beautiful in us worth dying for. Closing song “This So Called Love” is equally moving as Bart sings “If all that we do is absent of Jesus, then this ‘so-called’ love is completely in vain.”
The message of committing to extravagant selflessness and faithful optimism threads its way through every song, and while “It’s one thing to be kind to someone, to be decent,” Millard concludes, “ if we really believe we have this hope, then to stop short—to not be the hands and feet of Jesus—seems almost offensive. Our dream is for this album to inspire others to ‘pay it forward’ to the cross. It doesn’t have to be about major sacrifices. Just let your life become such that people know what you stand for.”
The Generous Mr. Lovewell is RIDICULOUS!! That means AMAZING if you remember when that word meant something else. If you are like me and have been enjoying this band ever since the first time you heard “I Can Only Imagine,” then surely this is your most anticipated release of 2010. This album truly establishes MercyMe as the premier artist in all of Christian music. I didn't think MercyMe could top All That Is Within Me but The Generous Mr. Lovewell rocks, has some incredible new musical twists and Bart's vocals have never sounded better.
Rating: 9.8 out of 10 (98%, A+)
Review written by: Kevin Davis | Review can also be found here.
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