Third Day take their name from the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. They put out their self-titled debut album in 1996. Their seventh album WIRE (2004, Essential Records) won the Grammy for Best Rock Gospel Album in 2005 and also won the Dove Award for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year. The album was produced by Paul Ebersold. Band members at the time were: Tai Anderson (bass), Brad Avery (guitars), David Carr (drums), Mark Lee (guitars), and Mac Powell (vocals, acoustic guitar). Unless otherwise noted, Powell wrote the words and the whole group is credited with writing the music.
The album opens with ‘Til the Day I Die’ which is a manly rocker musically. It reflects on the permanence of marriage vows: “I said ‘Forever’/I said ‘Forever’ and I mean it/I made a promise/And I intend to always keep it.../Forever is so far beyond the reach of my mind/So I’ll give all I have/My heart, my love, my life”. ‘Come on Back to Me’ is another great rock song. Scott Hardin performs background vocals. This song finds God speaking to one of His lost children: “I have loved you/From the beginning/Long before you knew My Name/And even though you’ve broken My heart/I’ll love you just the same/I’ll love you anyway/Never mind your worries/Never mind your fears/They can only take you far from Me”.
Mark Lee wrote the words to the title track, ‘Wire’, a terrific rock ballad with string arrangements by Paul Buckmaster. The song features vulnerable lyrics about being a Christian rock star: “I am walking on a wire/I tiptoe in through the fire/Never looking down to see that/I am walking on a wire/The pressure’s getting higher/But I don’t look around.../Your time at the top only lasts fifteen minutes/Then they just leave you behind”. ‘Rockstar’ speaks of how celebrity can deceivingly look so appealing to outsiders: “Living lifestyles of the rich and famous/Turning all heads in the music scene/Flying in my own jet plane to Vegas/Riding in a big black limousine/Well, it’s alright/Yeah, it’s alright.../No I ain’t got nothing/But to you I’m something/Something so much more”.
Richard Thomas plays cello on ‘I Believe’ which has a pretty chorus with inspiring lyrics: “I believe in a faith that’s strong/I believe in a hope that carries on/I believe in these things and more/Most of all, most of all/I believe in love”. ‘It’s a Shame’ is a slow, melodic number that speaks of relational dysfunction: “She longs for better days/She’s always been afraid.../You left her without leaving/You hit her without swinging/You took away without giving a thing/Except for pain and sorrow/I’m praying that tomorrow/You will open up your eyes and see”.
Boyd Tinsley plays violin on ‘Blind’. This is a well-crafted song of gratitude to God: “How could I have been so blind to not see You?/The more that I look the more I find/You’ve led me to the truth/That I am nothing if I’m without You/You opened my eyes and helped me to find/How could I have been so blind?.../You took my heart and You changed it/With Your words of life/You took my eyes and You opened them/And gave me sight”. Chrystina Lloree Fincher sings backing vocals on ‘I Got a Feeling’. This gritty rocker finds the band excited about sharing their faith: “I got a mission/I got a sign/Is anybody listening?/I gotta make sure this time/I’ll tell the people/What’s on my mind/Maybe I will tomorrow/Maybe I will tonight.../I got a message/I got a song/Everybody help me sing along”.
‘You are Mine’ is a song of praise to God for what He has done: “Whenever I hear/Of Your saving grace/And how You gave Your life/In exchange for mine/Sometimes I wonder why You even love me/And why You ever chose to call me ‘child’/Then I remember/It’s by Your sacrifice/I can say that/I am Yours and You are mine”. Mark Lee penned the words to ‘Innocent’. It builds in intensity musically and revels in spiritual liberty: “I am innocent and I have been set free/And I no longer have chains around my feet/And no matter where I go or what they say/I am innocent”. Scotty Willbanks plays piano and B3 on ‘Billy Brown’. This rock song seems addressed to a Hollywood star: “Super Star Billy Brown/Whatcha doing to this town?/Don’t cha know that everybody here/Want to be like you?/All of your adoring fans/Sitting in the seats and stands/Listening to every word you say/And watching every move/Once I saw a sign that said/’Billy Brown for President’”.
‘San Angelo’ is one of my favourites on the album. It includes these very relatable lyrics in today’s day and age: “The day it feels like winter/The night it feels like stone/You turn around and you remember/When you’re surrounded/You can still feel so alone”. The last cut is ‘I Will Hold My Head High’. Here are some of the words penned by Mark Lee: “Sometimes the night starts closing in/And I’ve lost my way home again/I’m running out of places I can turn/Enemies on every side/Not a friend around for miles/That’s the time it really starts to hurt/Beat me up and drag me down/I’ll never be afraid/I will hold my head high/And lift my hands to the sky/Rise above all who try to bring me down/I will hold my head high”.
In the cd booklet, Third Day writes: “All glory to God for His mercy, provision, and grace”. WIRE is a wonderful album. Mac Powell’s vocals are great and I appreciate that this album leans more towards rock than adult contemporary. I also like the album cover depicting a fellow balancing on a high wire above a city. Third Day skillfully examines being adored by their fans on this album. Fans of Nickelback and Kutless will like this one. I’m rating it 90%. For more info visit: www.thirdday.com and www.essentialrecords.com.