Disclaimer: I know Micah Tyler. I’ve shared “Boneless Thursdays” with him at Buffalo Wild Wings back when both of our Body Mass Indexes hovered dangerously close to the “more boneless than not” metric. Micah is a friend. Even though he gave me tracks to listen to along his recording journey, I bought the album on iTunes today. I’m a paying customer.
That being said, this is a review of his album that drops today and is already (at this writing) at #3 on the iTunes Christian/Gospel list.
For those that don’t like to read, here’s your version of the review:
Buy it. Singer/songwriter, wordsmith, radio catchy, theological weight with wordplay whimsy. Here’s the recipe: Grab your blender. Insert MercyMe, Big Daddy Weave, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris Rice, Jason Mraz, and Matthew West. Add ice for cool and doctrine for heat. Press blend. Pour it out into a glass. Realize you’ve just killed a bunch of people in your musical bass-o-matic. Throw everything into a dumpster behind a grocery store 50 miles from your house and don’t tell a soul. Delete your internet history. Go to iTunes and download the album.
Now for the whole review…
I don’t review many things because I always want to be brutally honest and I don’t think the people asking me know that or they don’t know how much of a critic I am. Plus, I endorse next to nothing because I really have to believe in the product no matter how much I respect, like, or love the person who made it.
That said, I love this album. You will have a favorite song on this album. Which one it’ll be, I have no idea. Because this album is like a kid in a candy store. Want a dark, driving rock guitar anthem about Christ the conqueror? “The Warrior” is your new fav. Want a KLOVE/WAY-FM ready pop song that takes aim at Katy Perry’s theological stance in “Firework”? Then “Shine” it is. Have a not-so-secret love of black gospel church music? “Headed for the Mountain” will have you looking for a purple choir robe. I really don’t know if it was Micah as the kid in the candy store for this Nashville produced/recorded album, or it was the producers and co-writers that were the kids in the candy store with Micah’s extraordinary gifts. I could go on and on about each track and how they’re different, but the glue that holds them all together is the lyrical magic and Micah’s vocal gymnastics.
Cutting his teeth and earning his chops on the the Texas youth camp circuit plus years of serving as a youth pastor, that playfulness comes through in his lyrics along with a much needed theological weight that makes doctrine catchy. I once heard Micah sing a parody of Justin Bieber’s “Baby, Baby. Baby” as a retelling of the infant Moses being found and adopted in Egypt (“Baby, Baby, Moses, OH!, Baby, Baby, Moses…”)
My personal favorites on this album, in reverse order:
3. The Story I Tell (You Don’t Even Know My Name) – This favorite comes with a quibble that has nothing to do with the song itself (brace yourself for the critic.) The song should be titled “You Don’t Even Know My Name”. I think it was titled this originally, and I have no inside info to confirm this, but this seems like a label/producer decision to make the song less negative. The song is a convicting one, with Micah recounting all the people in the stories we love throughout the gospels where we don’t even know their name. Like the adulterous woman or the lame man that was lowered into a house by his nameless friends. Ultimately, the song culminates with all the people we walk by, ignore, or forget, including Christ himself. The song is convicting and a great reminder. “You Don’t Even Know My Name” is the memorable hook and the subject of the entire song. The title just got over thought.
2. What Are You Waiting For? – This is the last track of the album. For better or worse, this could become THE go to altar call solo for the next decade or longer. Altar calls aside, this song is a powerful and penetrating plea sang from Christ’s perspective to call our prodigal hearts home. If you’re in any kind of rough spot, I challenge you to go for a drive, crank this one up, and NOT have tears of repentance flow down your face. The beauty of the gospel is that we need it preached to our souls every day. This track is my daily altar call.
1. It’s Raining, It’s Pouring – One Boneless Thursday, Micah just rattled off some lyrics, sans melody, because he knows I’m a word guy. I liked a ton of them, but there was one lyric that when I heard it, I knew it was a hit. Then, when I heard the first rough cut from the studio of IRIP, I told Micah that I could hear Carrie Underwood singing that song. Seriously, if anyone knows Carrie or her people, they need to jump on this song for her next album and make it the last track; where many country music artists place a gospel-ish track. If I was a betting man (and I am,) I would lay odds that “Shine” will be the first track released to radio. But in my narrow opinion, this is the crown jewel of the entire album and the musical arrangement is top-notch Nashville to the core.
I could do this for every track on the album. I thought about doing it, frankly, but decided against it because I can see how others will love this album but love the tracks that were my least favorite and vice versa because of that fact that the album is so varied. “Feels Like Music” is a Chris Rice-ish love note to his wife, “Mighty to Love” is a slowed down version of his first self-published album from a few years back (and candidate #2 for radio release.) “Glory Be” feels like a lost MercyMe track (and a good one to boot.) In my ears, the track progression gets better as you go; I prefer the second half of the album to the first, but the first is eminently listenable. But regardless of your favorites, let me say this: Micah Tyler is the real deal. A humble man who loves his family more than his gift, and who loves his savior even more. Micah Tyler is going to be a big deal because he wants to let his gifts speak of and point to the Real Big Deal.