Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some fun songs
Cons: Sound and lyrics too similar to each other
The Bottom Line:
Some tracks I enjoy
But overall disc is flat
Not better effort
I'm Trying to Embrace the New, but It Doesn't Feel That Exciting to Me
Ever since I started listening to MercyMe, I've enjoyed their blend of fun music with good lyrics. Rarely do they ever have anything truly outstanding to say, but the mix is still very enjoyable. Unfortunately, Welcome to the New doesn't quite have that same mix to it. It is their first release that has left me under impressed.
Over the years, the group has evolved from an adult pop/soft rock feel toward more rock and less pop. That change is evidenced here with the rockiest release they've had yet. There are lots of upbeat tracks here with only a few slower moments. Unfortunately, they haven't found a way to differentiate the rock tracks from one another, and that is probably one of the biggest weaknesses of the disc. These songs just sound too much alike to me. Even after a week of listening, it's hard to remember which song is which.
Unfortunately, the lyrics don't help at all. The songs are about the new life we can have in Jesus and the changes that brings into our lives. Again, it's nothing especially original (or should I say new?), but it is a theme worth exploring. Unfortunately, none of the lyrics ever go too deep and many could be exchanged with any other song.
Now before I get any more negative, I should point out that I do actually enjoy some of the songs here individually. It's just taken as a whole where they start to get too repetitive. For example, the title track starts things off with a wonderfully upbeat number that is hard not to like. "Gotta Let Go" reminds us to leave our past back there and press on to live for God now. "Greater" is based on the reminder from I Peter that God is greater than anything we will face in the world. And "Flawless" reminds us that thanks to the mercy and grace of the cross, God doesn't see the sin in our past.
Oh wait, even with those four songs, I've already hit on two very similar themes, haven't I?
My favorite song on the disc is the final track. "Dear Younger Me" find the band looking at the past and wondering what they could say to smooth out life without changing who they are. Ultimately, it's about remembering who God has made us then about what we've done along the way.
Several of these songs will be enjoyed mix in with other artists in iTunes, but the rest of the disc is just average. Hopefully MercyMe goes back to penning better songs because Welcome to the New wasn't one of their better efforts.
CD Length: 37:31
1. Welcome to the New
2. Gotta Let It Go
5. Finish What He Started
7. New Lease on Life
8. Wishful Thinking
9. Burn Baby Burn
10. Dear Younger Me