The Hurt & The Healer
The faith that MercyMe celebrates on The Hurt & the Healer is filled with an almost palpable sense of wonder. The Christian band recaptures the awestruck reverence of its 2001 breakthrough hit “I Can Only Imagine” in these musically diverse and thematically linked tracks. The album embraces everything from the Beatles-esque bounciness of “To Whom It May Concern” to the spacy funk of “Don’t Give Up on Me” and the slide guitar–driven Southern soul of “Take the Time." (The latter features Needtobreathe’s Bear Rinehart on vocals.) Lead singer Bart Milland brings an unaffected spirit to thoughtful atmospheric pieces like “You Are I Am” and buoyant, radio-friendly numbers like “You Know Better.” What binds the album’s facets together is the wide-eyed quality of its worshipful lyrics. A deep humility and gratitude infuse tracks as different as the title track (an arena-sized praise ballad) and “Hold On” (a cheerful pop tune with a luminous finish). “The First Time” closes the album with a breathless contemplation of God’s limitless nature. The Hurt & the Healer is a standout in the MercyMe catalog.