The Beautiful Letdown?

Feb 12, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Some songs hit right on target, proving they've got the rock still in 'em

Cons:Some songs find Third Day falling into the all-too common CCM cliches

The Bottom Line: Still can't beat Wire or Conspiracy No. 5, but contains just enough stable material to stand its own



[The Consuming Fire of Christian Music]

Third Day has been rocking the Christian music scene for nearly ten years now. With eight
albums to their credit (plus a couple live projects) and millions of CD’s sold worldwide, saying
Third Day is big just might be an understatement. While many might expect them to follow up the
rocking “Wire” with another surefire rocker, Third Day never does the expect-able. Instead, they
bring a much more polished record to the table, with an almost Adult Contemporary feel to it, but
don’t get me wrong – it still rocks.

[A Beautiful Letdown?]

The first single, “Cry Out to Jesus,” came to the radio around the time of the Katrina tragedy
and it gave me the impression that this could be their best album to date. Is it? While it is good, it
is somewhat a disappointment when compared to the incredibly high expectations most held. Still,
when you take it for what it is, it could easily be considered one of the year’s better releases.

[Tunnel]

“Wherever You Are” starts off with an upbeat rocker, “Tunnel.” It is among the few “rockers”
on “Wherever You Are,” while it doesn’t rock as hard as the majority of “Wire” or “Conspiracy
No. 5,"it is bound to be a fan favorite. Musically, it draws greatly from the work of U2, Edge-like
guitars and “big” drums drive the melody of the song. Lyrically, it lays out the theme for the entire
album. The verses can be quite catchy, while the chorus is quite repetitive and built on weak
lyrical hooks, “There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, There’s a light at the end of this tunnel for
you, There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, Shining bright at the end of the tunnel for you.”
While it becomes quite repetitive, it does serve it’s purpose: sending a simple message of hope.

[Eagles]

“Eagles,” dare I say, is the weakest song on the album, possibly from Third Day overall. While
it reminds me more of something that may appear on “Offerings” I or II, it is one of their less
engaging songs. It is more of a pop tune, with yet another poorly built chorus. Simply repeating
the same phrase. Musically, it is almost boring, while the guitars are cool, the rest is just kind of
dull.

[Cry Out to Jesus]

Following the somewhat dull, “Eagles,” comes a breath of fresh air, “Cry Out to Jesus.” Ever
since I first heard it on the radio, it has become one of my favorite 3D songs, which is something
to be said when almost every song they do is amazing. Released when the Katrina tragedy was the
only thing that was shown on the news for weeks on end, the first verse and chorus easily
summed up what many wanted to say to the millions of victims. “There is hope for the helpless,
rest for the weary, love for the broken heart, there is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing,
He’ll meet you wherever you are, cry out to Jesus.” One can also notice that the album’s title is
taken from the last words of the chorus.

[I Can Feel It]

“I Can Feel It” is probably the rockiest song on the album, beginning with some cool guitars
and some fuzz combined with Mac Powell’s flawless vocals, during the chorus is when it really
breaks out into a “rock song” with heavy drums echoing throughout the following verse and the
rest of the song. While lyrically the chorus is as week as the first two songs, the verses
supplement the only flaw to an overall great song.

[Keep On Shinin’]

“Keep On Shinin’” is another fun song. Drawing from more of their previous work, it has
more of a Southern sound, yet isn’t near as “raw” as their other efforts. I have never heard Mac’s
vocals much outside of his mature deep tone; in the second verse he stretches (falsetto) it higher
than I have ever heard it – this comes as a pleasant surprise, adding variance to a typical 3D song.

[Communion]

No true “worship songs” were on “Wire,” which came as a surprise to me since Third Day
brought creativity to such a cliched variance of CCM. “Communion” is a straight out worship
song, although, like many worship songs, it is sort of repetitive. It is mainly meant for Church
worship, so this can be expected as it sounds like a public worship song. A truly heartfelt worship
tune, but somewhat out of place here. Someone will probably find some use with it in church and
such.

[Carry My Cross]

“Carry My Cross” is easily one of Third Day’s best. Beginning with slight static then engaging
piano and cello come on the scene, which build to drums and nearly faint electric guitar. Lyrically
it is probably the strongest on the album, describing the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Thematically it
is very similar to “Thief” from their debut, but it is presented with a different perspective: through
the thoughts of Jesus. This perspective creates a stirring thought, and presents this story from
whole new angle, rarely explored by the majority of CCM (thematically similar, slightly, to Dallas
Holm & Praise’s “Rise Again”).

[How Do You Know?]

One of the more interesting songs on the CD is “How Do You Know.” Lyrically it keeps
things interesting, freshening things up. Musically it sounds like something you would expect from
3D, beginning with some dry electric guitar and drumming at a mediocre pace – it’s your typical
Third Day fare, yet somehow different. A superior cut that holds a lot of the weight of the album.

[Mountain of God]

This song isn’t the strongest cut of the album, it falls into many of the cliche traps of this style
of CCM, but for some reason I tend to like it. It’s a ballad, with the (what some call) “weepy
strings,” but it holds its own amount of originality. I, for some reason, found this song quite
likeable. The tune is nice and lyrics get to people on a real level. This one you may or may not
like, in my opinion it is good, not the best, but it holds its own with 3D ballads. Still one of my
fave’s from this CD.

[Love Heals Your Heart]

Oh here we go... this is not what I wanted from Third Day, the lyrics are kind of so-so, while
the music has a nice tune, but it’s overdone. I think this will connect with the majority of the
Christian music culture because its just what they seem like they want to hear. The only subtly
sound material I found when sorting through the song would be the second verse, it has nice
meaning, but Brad Avery might not want to go into song writing permanently.

[The Sun is Shining]

Before the release of “Wherever You Are,” the label tried talking this, and some other so-so
songs, as Third Day’s best, I don’t see it. Music is kind of bland. Lyrics are good but not perfect.
It’s the music that ruins this song, it has that heard this before feel to it, again it’s not what I want
to hear from “Third Day.”

[Rise Up]

Well Third Day manages to pull off a so-so ending, another song penned by Avery. Here his
lyrics are a little stronger than before. Musically it starts as kind of bland again, but it builds into a
few minute instrumental ending, proving they can still rock. It isn’t as strong as “I Will Hold My
Head High” from their phenomenal “Wire” CD, or “Give” from “Time,” but it holds its own. Not
a perfect song, but it works. A rock anthem for the likes of the Church.


[Wherever You Are Bonus CD]

Included with the album for the lucky few who preordered the CD was included a nice little
three song package that is sure to be a collectors item. It included two songs that they didn’t put
on the record and a remix of “Cry Out to Jesus.” Also included was some enhanced features
which included an advertisement video with a few short interviews with some members of the
band.

[Falling to Pieces]

Okay, I though that these “leftovers” would be pretty bad if some of the songs on the record
were just so-so. But I was surprised, there totally better. This song rocks harder than the whole
album, while Avery does the lyrics here they’re actually very good, maybe he is a good
songwriter? Musically it is an awesome song, more polished than some of their previous stuff but
an awesome guitar solo is featured here as well, in a Conspiracy No. 5-ish way. Why they didn’t
put this on the record totally beats me, but all I can say is if you don’t have it, get it.


[That’s How the Story Goes]

This song begins with some acoustic guitar oddly making me think it is going to be an acoustic
pop song, but instead it’s another rocker, not as strong as the previous, but it is good. Lyrics is
the only place it falls short, yet the lyrics are still good, they just are kind of all over the place.
Musically it reminds me of “Come On Back to Me” just much, much more polished. It even
features another guitar solo, which is truly a treat. This time around its bigger and rawer. The best
moment of the song is when the music stops to nicely used orchestral strings, then moving quickly
back into the rock song. Another great song.

[Cry Out to Jesus (remix)]

I don’t like this. I don’t know why you would take a perfectly fine ballad and do nothing to it
except make the guitars sound really cheap, and the recording pitiful. They added some weird
background noise and that’s it, its not a remix, it’s a poor demo faked as a remix for a few fans
who like poor demos renamed remixes, that’s it. A genuine rip-off.

[As For the Enhanced Material...]

I’m afraid this is also a rip off, all you get is a handful of web-links to their site and a few
minute commercial for an album you already own. Nothing much here.

Although the enhanced stuff and a so called remix don’t pan out as well as hoped, this CD is
well worth whatever you pay for it just for the two good songs. I would get it now if you can, for
it’s bound to become a rare collectors item.

___________________

[Download These...]

It’s the internet age, so everyone but me is downloading their tunes, here’s the scoop on this
album’s best ditties to dig:

“Tunnel”
“Cry Out to Jesus”
“I Can Feel It”
“Carry My Cross”
“How Do You Know”

[The Skip-ables...]

Does it win or does it lose, a lot of albums have their losers, how ‘bout this sucker? Here’s the
FYI on this CD’s “skippers”:

“The Sun is Shining”
“Eagles”


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