The genesis of Third Day can be traced to Marietta, Georgia. In 1996 they released their successful self-titled, debut album. In 2009 they were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. MIRACLE is their 12th album. It was released in 2012 on Essential Records and sold 29,000 copies in the first week. On this project Third Day is: Tai Anderson (bass), David Carr (drums), Mark Lee (guitars), and Mac Powell (vocals). MIRACLE was produced by Brendan O’Brien who has worked with the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and Bruce Springsteen. O’Brien also plays B3 organ, piano, keyboards, percussion, and parlor guitar on the album. Most importantly he provides a lot of great backing vocals. He is quoted as saying: “When I hear this music…it’s very inviting. It brings people in. It’s saying ‘Come along and hear what we have to say’. It really moves me. I really appreciate the hard work these guys have done”. Longtime touring band member of Third Day, Scotty Wilbanks, plays piano, B3 organ, CP70, and mellotron on MIRACLE.
The album opener ‘Hit me like a Bomb’ is a pounding rock song that speaks dramatically of how God can take a person’s life by storm: “Hear the sound of the sirens ringing/See the world of a life that’s changing/Well, You hit me like a bomb/I was scared and I started running/Can’t say I never saw it coming/When You hit me like a bomb”. ‘Kicking and Screaming’ is a pop song about a person who is totally committed to another: “What if I told you that I love you?/What if I showed you just how much?/I would do anything to hold you/Give everything to prove my love/Yeah, yeah, no one can keep me from your side/Yeah, yeah, but if they ever even try/They’d have to drag me away/Kicking and screaming”.
The next song ‘Your Love is Like a River’ is pretty and contains these poetic lyrics of testimony: “When I am tired and so afraid/Your love is like a fire that will light my way/When darkness falls and my vision fades/Your love is like a fire that will light my way/And it’s always burning and stirring my soul/To know You and love You much more/It never stops or ever fades/Your love is like a fire that will light my way”. ‘I Need a Miracle’ is the awesome lead single and one of the best CCM songs in recent memory. It confirms that God is the One most folks cry out to when at the end of their rope: “Well, no matter who you are/And no matter what you’ve done/There will come a time/When you can’t make it on your own/And in your hour of desperation/Know you’re not the only one/Prayin’ ‘Lord above, I need a miracle/I need a miracle’”.
‘You are my Everything’ features beautiful instrumentation and could be addressed to God or a human love interest: “Well, I’ve been in love before/But it’s never felt like this/When you’re knocking at my door/How can I resist?/And I’ll give you all I have/And I hope that you believe/I’d do anything you want in this world/Just to have you here with me/You are my everything”. ‘For the rest of my Life’ finds Mac Powell practising his falsetto. This song is a declaration of love for and dependence on God: “You rescued me from the darkness/I feel the warmth and the light/Somehow You’ve pulled me out of/A sea of pain and doubt/I’m never gonna go that way again/For the rest of my life/Will You be by my side?/I can’t make it by myself/I want You and no one else/For the rest of my life”.
‘I Want to Believe in You’ is an energetic number that finds the band pouring out their hearts: “I want to believe in faith and hope and life and dreams/Grace and love and all those things/Most of all, I want to believe in You/I want to believe in peace and freedom for all man/Redemption and a second chance/Most of all I want to believe in You/I want to believe in You”. ‘The Victory’ is a gritty rock song of bold determination, that many of us will be able to relate to: “I’ve been fighting like a soldier/From the day that I was born/Trying to make it through the hard times/Of this cruel world/But I’m keeping my head up/Even if I am alone/And I’ll be fighting till/The good Lord takes me home”.
‘Take me Back’ again includes very relatable lyrics: “I wonder if I’ve gone too far/Lord, please help me get back home/Where I belong”. These words from ‘Forever Yours’ seem to be spoken by one awaiting the day they will be reunited with their spouse in heaven: “When it’s time to leave this world/And reach the other side/I’ll wait for you upon that distant shore/For I have made a promise/And I hope you won’t forget/I will always remain forever yours/Somewhere far beyond this place/And in another time/I know we’ll be together once again/For I have made a promise/And I hope you won’t forget/I will always remain forever yours/Forever yours”.
‘Time’s Running Out On Me’ is a cool rock song that includes good guitar work and finds the band grappling with their mortality: “There’s so many places I wanna see/So many things that I wanna be/But time’s running out on me/There’s so many places I gotta go/So many things that I need to know/But time’s running out on me/Time’s running out on me”. The last song ‘Morning Has Broken’ is skillfully performed and its lyrics were penned by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931. This song ends MIRACLE on a cheerful note: “Mine is the sunlight/Mine is the morning/Born of the one light/Eden saw play/Praise with elation/Praise every morning/God’s recreation/Of the new day”.
In the liner notes Third Day write: “All glory to God for His mercy, provision, and grace”. Drummer David Carr says: “If there is any overarching theme on the record, it’s about pressing on and holding onto faith in the midst of doubt”. MIRACLE proves that Third Day is one of the best and tightest bands in CCM. The musicianship and vocals are top notch and their lyrics are relevant to today’s society. My only beef is that there are not enough all out rockers on the album. I’m rating MIRACLE 87%. For more info visit: www.thirdday.com and www.providentpress.com.