Style: Message-driven pop; compare to Phil Wickham, Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North
Top tracks: "Crazy Enough," "Only You Remain," "Won't You Be My Love"
MercyMe is famous for writing hits. Big hits. Their name-breaking single, "I Can Only Imagine," was recently awarded platinum status in the digital domain for 1 million downloads, a first in Christian music. And though smash singles have certified that every one of their albums has gone gold or platinum, the band's message has remained strong, ministering to millions with the gospel of hope.
For their fifth studio recording, The Generous Mr. Lovewell, the inspirational heavyweight shifts the focus from the sweet by-and-by to the here-and-now. Igniting a "pay it forward" campaign centered around the record's fictional title character, frontman Bart Millard explains Mr. Lovewell's example in a press release: "He may not be the next Billy Graham, but he's changing the world in every little word and deed." Rather than resting on their laurels, the popular band is personally taking the challenge via a corresponding "Lovewell" radio program by awarding regionally nominated families a gift package of show tickets, a personal acoustic concert, and financial resources.
Themes of sacrifice pervade this 11-song CD, kicking off with "This Life," a surprisingly programming-heavy accompaniment and a directive to get busy living and giving. That's followed by the title track, a whimsical pop tune brimming with glockenspiels, Beach Boys-esque background vocals, and two-beat handclaps to introduce the album's benevolent leading man: "He believes it's the little things that make a great big change … C'mon Mr. Lovewell we could use a few more just like you / That care enough to give this ...1