It's hard to believe that it has now been seven years since Christian pop/rock sensation MercyMe came charging onto the music scene earning countless fans with their smash hit, "I Can Only Imagine." Rather than being a mere one-hit-wonder, the band turned into one of the genre's most popular acts by selling millions of records, garnering numerous awards, filling up venues, and dominating the radio waves.
After years of consistent success at radio and retail outlets, it seems the MercyMe guys have gotten the art of creating a well-received album down to a science. All That Is Within Me sticks closely with the formula that has seemed to work for them for years. Over all, the album is beautifully crafted featuring smooth production and strong musicianship. Still, no new musical ground is broken. All the songs are enjoyable, but they're nothing fresh or original. The lyrics are solid, but are nothing particularly catchy or creative.
"Goodbye Ordinary" gets things started on MercyMe's latest project. With just enough driving guitar licks and edge in frontman Bart Millard's voice, it has the potential to be a new fan favorite and hit at radio. This opening track transitions seamlessly into the upbeat "Time Has Come," which also exhibits just as much hit potential as the first song. Most of the tracks from All That Is Within Me have more of a rock vibe to them than soft ballad sound of previous chart toppers "I Can Only Imagine" and "Word of God Speak." In fact, many of the tunes have such a similar feel that, at first listen, it is hard to separate one from another. But the more the listener engages in the record, the more it becomes an easily enjoyable disc to listen to. "Sanctified" and "Grace Tells A Different Story," as well as "All Right," are pleasantly, but comfortably, classified in the adult contemporary category. The acoustic guitar based "Finally Home" fills the void of the "ballad about getting to heaven" spot we've come to expect from MercyMe.
All That Is Within Me is a very strong, solid album, but nothing out of the ordinary. However, the clean production from Brown Bannister and the excellent skills of each band member compensate for anything that feels like it may be missing. It is sure to be a hit with listeners and further solidify MercyMe's place at the forefront of the contemporary Christian music scene.- Review date: 11/18/07, written by Lauren Summerford
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