Prime Cuts: Come What May, Faith Sees Best in the Dark, Now It's Our Turn
Overall Grade: 3/5
We Are Messengers (WAM) are back with album #3. Wholehearted is supposed to be the band's response album to the recent pandemic, where many acts in the music industry have had their income stream blocked with cancelled concerts and live shows. Like many of their peers, WAM spent the bulk of 2020 reflecting and writing songs for this new record. And like many of the records out there, WAM gives exposition to familiar themes that many other CCM artists have been expounding, issues such as God's goodness, presence, and sovereignty over our circumstances. However, what gives Wholehearted an edge is that they try to delve deeper lyrically than many of their peers.
Current single "Come What May" has one of the most arresting opening lines on this side of the pandemic: "Sometimes sorrow is the door to peace/Sometimes heartache is the gift I need." These two lines by themselves are theologically rich enough to inspire sermons and books. Similarly, "Now It's Our Turn" gets your attention from the get-go with "As sure as death and taxes/You know I'm gonna let you down." However, it is also the angle and perspectives WAM bring to the songs. Case in point being "Friend of Sinners:" dealing with the issue of the absurdity of grace, the questions asked within the song are intriguing and realistic. Refreshing also is "Faith Sees Best in the Dark" which doesn't pray for God to remove hardships. Rather, it quips us to see God in the darkness.
However, the major problem with the album lies in the production. Wholehearted sounds like everything you loathe about Christian radio. The melodic progression of most of the songs are so tailored made for radio, that it is predictable. The bombastic choruses with overbearing percussion sounds repeated right through the album get extremely repetitive and tiresome halfway through the album. Though WAM tries to get back to their Irish roots with "The Parting Glass," the track could have sounded better if they have eased on the overpowering keyboard and resort to more rustic instruments.
"God You Are" is WAM's contribution to today's worship music. The track does have a decent melody, but the song suffers from an anonymous sounding backing. Here's the final line: WAM does have the potential to be a standout artist in CCM, they just need to fire the producer(s).