Third Day's career of reaching for the “mountain of God”
Posted July 13, 2008
Third Day has been busy. What else can explain 23 dove awards, three GRAMMY Awards, and multiple ASCAP honors for their songwriting abilities? The first installment of the recounting of Third Day’s career was Chronology: Volume One, a few months later Chronology, Volume Two 2001-2006 was released. It Contains 18 songs of Third Day’s works over the last five years, and bonus material.
Third Day’s music is worship. Sure they have their moments of southern rock and lead singer Mac Powel does have twang in his voice but at heart their music is essentially praise and worship. Chronology recounts many of Third Day’s smash hits like the worship tune “Show me your glory” and “mountain of God” which is employs an emotional tune. Part of Third Day’s success has been rooted in their inspirational songs and the music that follows suit like “Cry Out To Jesus (Live in Mobile)” a ballad which was released to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Third Day lets loose occasionally with their southern rock act with songs like “rock star”, a song that is fast paced and appealing, but put up against rock hits, it sounds too edgy and unrefined. Other rock tunes are “come on back to me” and “come together”, but they are not as heavy and they are worship songs at heart.
Third Day’s music is generic. For all the hype and chart climbing (mostly sitting down on the number one song) their music is really nothing earth shattering like “tunnel” which is repetitive, and “I believe”. Since Atlanta is the spawning point for Third Day it’s not surprising that most of their live songs comes from that place in Georgia. “You Are So Good To Me (Live in Atlanta)” doesn’t lack the spark that some live songs lose on live discs, but “I can feel it” lacks because of a long introduction from Powel. But it manages to be a high energy song. “God Of Wonders (Live in Philadelphia)” loses a little fire in Philly, but it is a new recording of the song. The band apparently doesn’t mind singing other artists songs like “Creed (Live in Portland)” (Rich Mullins) and “Blessed Assurance (Live in Atlanta)” (Fanny Crosby), unfortunately neither are very good. The heavily country influenced “movin' On Up” was used on The Second Chance film. “I see love” proves Third Day, Mac Powel in particular, are pretty popular as he is joined by Steven Curtis Chapman and Mark Hall to sing on the guitar ballad that was used for the Passion of the Christ.
Third Day’s songs are very inspirational. It isn’t the music that gets Third Day to the top of the charts song after song, it’s their inspirational (sometimes way to) songs. “Come together” is an earnest cry for union between believers, but “sing a song” lacks a lot of depth (‘I want to sing a song for You, Lord/Lord, for You I want to sing a song’). There are not really any bits that would do “cry out to Jesus” any justice as it covers an abundance of errors, and of any Third Day hit this one may have the best song writing. “I see love” goes over the certain assumptions on who Jesus was, but the song actually never really picks one except ‘I see love’ with the ending lacking some objectiveness. “Come back to me isn’t a deep song but it does take the place of God as he looks on his children (‘Well, I got all you want/and everything you need/Come on back to me). A “rock star” feels like something is missing in his life (‘People waiting all day in line to see me/Doing my pose for Rolling Stone/…But, to you I'm something/Something so much more’).
Third Day’s lyrics are not complex. Picture the focal point on “I believe” in a pagan song “Most of all, most of all/I believe in love” it’s a perfect fit; it also says nothing about God. “You are so good to me” says ‘You are beautiful my sweet, sweet song’. Now where is that in the Scripture? There isn’t too much theological growth in “tunnel”, in fact it doesn’t mention God, what it’s about is: ‘There's a light at the end of this tunnel’. Not quite cliché but really simple lyrics show up on “nothing compares” (‘Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You, Lord’) and “I Can Feel It”. While “mountain of God” may sound really inspirational it really doesn’t hold deep truths. A good moment comes on "carry Me Home (from rare 2001 EP)” where Mac Powel sings ‘My will is broken /Your will be done /I'll follow you no matter what may come’.
Third Day will still be very popular. After being the first Christian band to land on the front of Billboard and another radio hit “call my name” (which incidentally sounds like “come back to me”) off of their upcoming album Revelation, it would seem to indicate that we can expect more of Third Day… and more chronologies.
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