MercyMe released their major label debut ALMOST THERE in 2001. It included the mega-hit ‘I Can Only Imagine’, about heaven. Over the years, they became known for other songs too such as ‘Word of God Speak’, ‘Here With Me’, and ‘So Long Self’. In 2007 they released their fifth studio album, ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME (INO Records). It was produced by the legendary Brown Bannister and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and at #15 on the Billboard 200. Group members on this album are: Bart Millard (vocals), Barry Graul (guitar), Nathan Cochran (bass), Jim Bryson (piano and keys), Robbie Shaffer (drums), and Mike Scheuchzer (guitar). In the liner notes Bart shares: “The God I worship does not stand there with His nose in the air telling us we may as well give up because we have already messed up. On the contrary. He is cheering us on! Reminding us that He is greater than our flaws!”
A great rock song called ‘Goodbye Ordinary’ starts things off. It encourages us to reach our full potential: “We were never meant to compromise/Settle for mediocrity/This life was never made to be a waste of time/Well, all that is within me/Says no more just existing/Live like there’s no tomorrow/Love extravagantly/Lead a life to be followed/Goodbye ordinary (2X)”. ‘Time Has Come’ is an upbeat rock song reminding us of our true purpose: “From the moment of our first breath to the second we bid this world goodbye/And everything that is in between was made to magnify/The One who holds all things in place/The Ruler over time and space/Time has come to raise our hearts as one/And glorify the God of everything”.
‘I Know’ is an adult contemporary number that speaks of God’s rescuing power: “I’m certainly not claiming to know everything, but what I do will save your life/I know, I know that God is able/I know, I know that He still reigns/I know, I know that love has found a way/No matter what it is you’re going through/Even if you think you’re far beyond where hope can see/I know there is a hand that’s reaching out for you/Because He did the same for me”. ‘God With Us’ was the album’s first single, spending eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard Christian Songs chart. It’s a wonderful modern praise and worship song: “All that is within me cries/For You alone be glorified/Emmanuel/God with us/My heart sings a brand new song/The debt is paid, these chains are gone/Emmanuel/God with us/Such a tiny offering compared to Calvary/Nevertheless we lay it at Your feet”.
‘Sanctified’ is a song of testimony: “No greater love has ever been known than He who came to find the lost/No greater sacrifice has been shown than He who laid upon the cross/Let all creation sing/For He has come and He’s changed everything/Sanctified/I have been set free/Grace divine has swept me off my feet”. ‘You Reign’ was the album’s second single. It spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary Songs chart and is a co-write between the group and Steven Curtis Chapman. It begins with these words: “Even before there was a drop in the ocean/Even before there was a star in the sky/Even before the world was put in motion/You were on Your throne (2X)/You reign/Glory in the highest/You reign/Let creation testify”.
‘Grace Tells Another Story’ is a rock ballad that shares good news: “We’ve been told that the heart is just too far gone to save/But grace tells us another story/Where glory sends hopelessness away/Oh grace tells us another story/And though we may not understand/Why You’d give us another chance/We praise You who lets us start again!” ‘Alright’ is a pop song of encouragement: “We’re gonna have those days when it all comes crashing in/Wondering if the sun will ever shine/Before you go and convince yourself you cannot make it/Hold your head up, breathe in deep, remember/Ooh ooh, you know it’s gonna be alright (2X)”. Mike Haynes plays trumpet.
‘My Heart Will Fly’ offers optimism: “It won’t be long until we all go home/With all things revealed and on that day we’ll finally know/Oh, as we are fully known/And my heart will fly/When I finally see You face to face/And my tears will fly away, away”. Last up is the album’s third single, ‘Finally Home’. It’s a great easy listening track about heaven: “I’m gonna wrap my arms around my daddy’s neck/And tell him that I’ve missed him/And tell him all about the man that I became/And hope that it pleased him/There’s so much I want to say/There’s so much I want you to know/When I finally make it home (2X)”.
ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME is a real treat! It is made up of four rock songs, three adult contemporary, two pop, and one easy listening track. You will most definitely not become bored listening to this record! The London Sessions Orchestra is a nice touch. The main lyrical theme is praising and worshipping God for who He is and what He has done. It’s clear that the band puts their trust in God. There are also two songs anticipating our eternal home, heaven. Fans of Steven Curtis Chapman and Casting Crowns should acquire this album which I’m rating 100%. For more info visit: www.mercyme.org.