MercyMe “Always Only Jesus” Album Review
Prime Cuts: Heart Beats for Your Good, Then Christ Came, To Not Worship You
Overall Grade: 3.75/5
While many Christian artists are turning more and more to worship music, MercyMe is one of the few acts that are still holding to the fort of pop centric CCM. "Always Only Jesus" is by no means perfect, but there are also many areas of commendations. For starters, this album is a return to the fundamentals. And the titular says it all: these 10 cuts point to Jesus and the message of the Gospel. Though riding along many cliché lines, the title cut "Always Only Jesus" spells out the direction of the record: "Just for one name/always only Jesus/Let my heart cry holy."
Unlike many rookies, MercyMe's know the human heart thoroughly. Responding to how people often allow their own self-pity to stay in the way between themselves and the Gospel, "Forgivable" deals with the issue head on. Citing Josh Wilson's "Trying to Hold the Ocean in a Cup" in its lyrics, "Hands Up" is a marching radio-made single about giving praise to Jesus. With their last album ("inhale [exhale]") being formulated around the idea of breathing, they return to the same concept in "To Not Worship You." Fortunately, the song is salvaged by its engaging and catchy melody.
"Then Came Jesus" was supposed to be on their previous album. But because the team could finish the song in time, they only included its chorus. Now we get to hear the full song --- which is a well-written power ballad about Jesus' transforming power. If you like their ballads, don't miss "Heart Beats for Your Good." Despite its clumsy title, the song is heartfelt response to the issue of suffering boasting lots of moving lines, such as "Remind me that this hurricane/Is nothing but a breeze to You/'Cause I'm afraid that every wave's/About to break this boat in two."
If you are into breezy pop with a crisp beat and a singalong chorus "Lost in You" is a delight. Meanwhile, album closer "Nothing But the Blood" tries to put a new tune behind the hymn of the same title. Here MercyMe falls on treacherous ground; not many new melodies can match the eternally endearing originals. Sadly, MercyMe are unsuccessful too. On the whole, "Always Only Jesus" does have its moments of greatness; but it isn't flawless either.
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