Coming Up to Breathe

Coming Up to Breathe
Coming Up to Breathe
Studio album by MercyMe
Released April 25, 2006
Recorded

2005 in the United States and England

Genre Christian Rock
Length 56:10
Label INO
Producer Brown Bannister
MercyMe chronology
The Christmas Sessions
(2005)
Coming Up to Breathe
(2006)
All That Is Within Me
(2007)
Singles from
Coming Up to Breathe
  1. "So Long Self"
    Released: March 2006
  2. "Hold Fast"
    Released: 2006
  3. "Bring the Rain"
    Released: 2007
Alternative covers
Acoustic Version

Coming Up to Breathe is the fifth major label, full-length studio album from MercyMe. Released in on April 25, 2006, the album was intended by MercyMe to be edgier and heavier than their previous efforts. Coming Up to Breathe received almost universally positive reviews from critics, and sold 58,000 copies its first week, MercyMe's biggest sales week at the time. It peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, No. 1 on the Christian Albums chart, No. 5 on the Rock Albums chart, and No. 13 on the Alternative Albums chart. Coming Up to Breathe was certified gold by the RIAA in 2007, signifying shipments of over 500,000 copies. It was also nominated for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album at the 49th Grammy Awards, and for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year at the 38th GMA Dove Awards.

Three singles were released in promotion of Coming Up to Breathe. Lead single "So Long Self" peaked at No. 1 on the Christian Songs chart, and spent four weeks atop that chart; it also peaked at No. 16 on the the Adult Contemporary chart. The third and final single from the album, "Bring the Rain", also peaked at No. 1 on the Christian Songs chart. The second single from the album, "Hold Fast", peaked at No. 3 on the Christian Songs chart and at No. 27 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Additionally, an album cut, "No More No Less", peaked at No. 30 on the Christian Songs chart.

Contents

Background

MercyMe had considered themselves a rock band when they started out.[1] The group's label, INO Records, gave the band permission to record a heavier record, due to musical trends towards heavier music at the time;[1] The record label's president, Jeff Moseley, also told the band that "maybe the guitars need to be a little hotter".[1] With the circumstances lined up, MercyMe recorded what guitarist Mike Scheuchzer described as "fun music".[1] Scheuchzer also described the album as "a little more organic",[1] as opined that "I think we’ve captured who MercyMe is live better on this record than we have in the past".[1] MercyMe also decided to switch producers, replacing Pete Kipley with Brown Bannister.[1] Bannister had previously worked with the band on their Christmas album The Christmas Sessions, and although the group considered Kipley a 'seventh member of the band', they felt it was time for a change.[1] The band was particularly impressed with Bannister's experience as a rock producer, as he had produced White Heart's record Freedom, a personal favorite of lead singer Bart Millard.[1] They were also attracted to Bannister's encouraging role and more laid-back approach, which allowed the band to run through their avenues before Bannister would give his input.[1] The different approach allowed the band to reassemble and reinvent songs.[1]

Abbey Road Studios, where the strings on the album were recorded.

The tracks were recorded in Allaire Studios in Shokan, New York,[2] which had previously hosted artists including Norah Jones, Tim McGraw, and David Bowie.[1][3][2] Overdubs were recorded at Oxford Sound in Nashville, Tennessee.[2] Strings were recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, England by the London Session Orchestra.[1][2] Recording sessions at Allaire started in October of 2005,[1] and lasted a month.[3]

Composition

Music

Although Coming Up to Breathe possesses an overall heavier tone than MercyMe's previous albums, it has been described as an an extension or a shift in presentation rather than a total departure.[1][4] The rock sound of the album has been described as "poppy" and "contemporary",[4] and the guitars are more prominent.[5] In particular, guitar solos are more prominent in the album.[4][6] Millard noted that the band "really focused on up-tempo songs,"[3] also stating that "I don't think we are trying to reinvent the wheel, it's just trying to put a little more edge into what we are creating".[3] The band varied the tempo of the album more, mixing what one critic described as "adult contemporary ballads with stylized arrangements and some good rockers",[6] while another noted the album had an overall mid-tempo sound, "mild to moderately aggressive with a few ballads thrown in".[4]

The tracks "Last One Standing", "You're To Blame", and "Coming Up to Breathe" have been described as having a 'Brit rock' feel resembling Delirious.[6] "Something Like You" has been compared to the sound of U2 (particularly the song "Where The Streets Have No Name"),[6] while "3:42 a.m. (Writer's Block)" has been described as 'soulful classic rock'.[6] "One Trick Pony" has been described as one of the more diverse cuts from the album,[5] which has a more southern-influenced[5][7] and 'bluesy' sound.[5][6] The guitars in the bridges of "Last One Standing" and "Hold Fast" have been compared to the Foo Fighters and Coldplay, respectively.[5][6] "No More No Less" has a radio-friendly pop rock sound,[7] but features a gospel-influenced backing choir near the end of the song[7] that has been compared to The Temptations.[5] Ballads on the album include "Bring the Rain"[4][6], "Safe and Sound",[6] and "I Would Die For You".[6][7]

Lyrics

"Bring The Rain" and "I Would Die For You" both trail into a 'praise chorus' anchored by Millard's vocals;[4] the latter is also a tribute to a teen who died after serving on a mission field.[6] "One Trick Pony" is a response to MercyMe's critics who argue that the band recycles the same song over and over.[6] The title track likens life without God to being in bondage,[4] while "No More No Less" is about being honest with others.[4] "So Long Self" is about bidding farewell to sinful nature,[7] while "Hold Fast" is a reminder of God's presence through difficult times.[3] "Something About You" and "3:42 a.m. (Writer's Block)" both relate to the difficulty of writing a song about God.[6]

Singles

Three singles were released in promotion of Coming Up to Breathe. The first single, "So Long Self", spent four weeks atop the Christian Songs chart, and also peaked at No. 16 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[8] The second single from the album, "Hold Fast" peaked at No. 3 on the Christian Songs chart, as well as at No. 27 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[9] "Bring the Rain" was released as the final single from the album, and peaked at No. 1 on the Christian Songs chart.[10] Additionally, an album cut, "No More No Less", peaked at No. 30 on the Christian Songs chart.[11]

Release

Coming Up to Breathe was released on April 25, 2006.[5] Coming Up to Breathe sold 58,000 copies in its first week, debuting atop the Christian Albums chart and at No. 13 on the Billboard 200.[12] The album beat out MercyMe's previous best sales week (56,000 copies), which came following the release of their 2004 album "Undone".[12] "Coming Up to Breathe" also peaked at No. 5 on the Rock Albums chart and No. 13 on the Alternative Albums chart during its chart run.[13] Coming Up to Breathe ranked at No. 6 on 2006 year-end Christian Albums chart,[14] and at No. 14 on the 2007 year-end Christian Albums chart.[15] In 2007, the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, signifying shipments of 500,000 copies.[16][17]

An acoustic version of the album, Coming Up to Breathe: Acoustic, was released in late 2007 and peaked at No. 22 on the Christian Albums chart.[18]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 5/5 stars[19]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
CMCentral.com (positive)[4]
Cross Rhythms 9/10 stars[20]
Christian Music Today (positive)[6]
Jesus Freak Hideout 4/5 stars[7]

Coming Up to Breathe received almost universally positive reviews. Brian Jones of About.com gave the album five out of five stars, commenting that "I am by nature (being a musician myself) somewhat hard to impress when it comes to music... but I can honestly say that I was blown away by this one".[19] He further commented that "All of the songs offered here are great from start to finish".[19] Steve Losey of Allmusic gave the album four out of five stars, and opined that "In a concerted effort to revert back to the days when they were more a rock band and less of a hitmaking machine, MercyMe delivers",[5] further noting that "MercyMe is able to rock on portions of each song but they always bring it back to a memorable chorus or a hooky verse. That's the formula that has always worked for them, and it does here, too".[5] Cross Rhythms reviewer Tony Cummings gave the album nine out of ten stars, and opined that "Throughout the album the melodies are strong, Bart's voice retains its rough-hewn bluesy quality while the production by studio maestro Brown Bannister is an exemplary example of pitching rock at Top 40 radio",[20] while also commenting on the album's string arrangements.[20] In a positive review of the album, Ed Cardinal of Christian Music Today commented that "Despite MercyMe's best efforts (so far), this project doesn't seem destined to become a classic and probably won't match the double-platinum sales of 2001's Almost There (which includes "I Can Only Imagine"). That said, Coming Up to Breathe still represents a huge leap forward for MercyMe and is easily their best album yet".[6]

Lauren Summerford of Jesus Freak Hideout gave the album four of five stars, commenting that "Coming Up to Breathe is an undeniably strong project from MercyMe".[7] Summerford argued, however that [Coming Up to Breathe] does have its slight flaws. Occasionally the lyrics from the latest batch of songs seem to be predictable. That's not to say the whole album comes off with that "overused" feeling; in fact, some places display some of the best songwriting we have heard from the band so far. It's just those few disappointing spots that seem all the more unfortunate because we know what the band is capable of penning".[7] Brenten Gilbert of CMCentral.com gave the album a positive review, opining that "Coming Up to Breathe is considered to be the first true rock endeavor from the group known most for their big, heartfelt, inspirational ballads ("I Can Only Imagine", "Homesick"). However, the album doesn't so much represent a departure from the "MercyMe" sound as it does a shift in presentation and perhaps focus. The poppy, contemporary rock sounds that are evident on this new release have always been there in the past - it's simply that they weren't as well publicized".[4] Gilbert also stated that "[Coming Up to Breathe] brings MercyMe another step forward, cementing them as one of the biggest names in Christian music".[4]

Coming Up to Breathe was nominated for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album at the 49th Grammy Awards.[21] It was also nominated for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year at the 38th GMA Dove Awards.[22]

Track listing

(All songs written by MercyMe)[2]

No. Title Length
1. "Coming Up to Breathe"   4:18
2. "So Long Self"   4:03
3. "Hold Fast"   4:38
4. "Something About You"   4:55
5. "You're To Blame"   4:14
6. "No More No Less"   5:46
7. "Where I Belong"   4:39
8. "Bring the Rain"   5:30
9. "Last One Standing"   3:39
10. "One Trick Pony"   3:26
11. "3:42 A.M. (Writer's Block)"   3:35
12. "Safe and Sound"   3:43
13. "I Would Die For You" (hidden track "Have Fun In Life" appears at the end of the album[23]) 12:49

Personnel

(Credits lifted from the album liner notes)[2]

MercyMe
  • Jim Bryson – keys
  • Mike Scheuchzer – guitars, background vocals
  • Barry Graul – guitars, background vocals
  • Nathan Cochran – bass, background vocals
  • Robby Shaffer - drums
  • Bart Millard - lead vocals, background vocals
Additional performers
  • Eric Darken - percussion
  • Blair Masters - programming, additional keyboards
  • Mike Haynes - trumpet
  • Barry Green - trombone
  • Joe Murphy - tuba
  • Sam Levine - clarinet
  • Gene Miller - background vocals
  • Travis Cottrell - background vocals
  • Michael Mellett - choir
  • Fiona Mellett - choir
  • Da'dra Crawford Greathouse - choir
  • Mandisa Hundley - choir
  • Abel Orta - choir
  • Lisa Bevill - choir
  • Jovaun Woods - choir
  • Steve Crawford - choir
  • The London Sessions Orchestra - strings
Technical/Misc.
  • Brown Bannister – producer
  • Steve Bishir – recording, mixing
  • Matthew Cullen – recording (assistant)
  • Bob Clearmountain – mixing
  • Brandon Duncan – mixing (assistant)
  • Steve Marcussen – mastering
  • Aaron Sternke – digital editing, additional engineering
  • Billy Whittington – digital editing, additional engineering
  • Tracy Bishir – production assistant
  • Carl Marsh - string arrangement, conducting
  • Mike Casteel - music preparation
  • Eberhead Ramm - music preparation
  • Tony Stanton - music preparation
  • Gavyn Wright - concertmaster
  • Andrew Dudman - assistant (string recording)
  • Shatrine Krake - art direction, design
  • Bob Hedlund - additional design
  • Kenny Comerford - photography
  • Philippe Lardy - original paintings

Chart Positions

Album charts

Chart (2006) Peak
position
US Christian Albums (Billboard)[24] 1
US Rock Albums (Billboard)[25] 5
US Digital Albums (Billboard)[26] 10
US Billboard 200[27] 13
US Alternative Albums (Billboard)[28] 13

Year-end album charts

Chart (2006) Position
US Christian Albums (Billboard)[14] 6
US Christian/Gospel Albums (Billboard)[29] 11
Chart (2007) Position
US Christian Albums (Billboard)[15] 14
US Christian/Gospel Albums (Billboard)[30] 15

Singles charts

Year Song Peak Chart Position
US Christ
[31]
US AC
[32]
2006 "So Long Self" 1 16
"Hold Fast" 3 27
2007 "No More No Less"[A] 30
"Bring the Rain" 1
Notes
  • A ^ "No More No Less" was not released as a single, but peaked at No. 30.[11]

Certifications

Country Certification Units shipped
United States Gold[16] 500,000[17]

Chart procession and succession

Preceded by
Precious Memories by Alan Jackson
US Christian Albums (Billboard) number-one album
May 15, 2006–May 22, 2006
Succeeded by
Precious Memories by Alan Jackson

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Black, Beau (April 30, 2006). "Breathe Deep". Today's Christian Music. http://www.todayschristianmusic.com/artists/mercyme/features/breathe-deep/. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f (2006) Album notes for Coming Up to Breathe by MercyMe, p. 7. INO Records.
  3. ^ a b c d e Banister, Christa (April 27, 2006). "MercyMe Is Ready To Rock". SongTouch.com. Crosswalk.com. http://www.crosswalk.com/culture/music/mercyme-is-ready-to-rock-1393627.html. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gilbert, Brenten (May 2, 2006). "MercyMe Takes Time to Rock With "Breathe"". CMCentral.com. Crosswalk.com. http://www.crosswalk.com/culture/music/mercyme-takes-time-to-rock-with-breathe-1394564.html. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Losey, Steve. "Coming Up to Breathe - MercyMe". Allmusic. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r827739/review. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Cardinal, Ed. "Coming Up to Breathe (Review)". Christian Music Today. The Fish. http://www.thefish.com/music/reviews/11619476/Coming-Up-to-Breathe/. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Summerford, Lauren (April 22, 2006). "MercyMe, "Coming Up to Breathe"". Jesus Freak Hideout. http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/cdreviews/ComingUpToBreathe.asp. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "So Long Self - MercyMe". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/song/mercyme/so-long-self/7967787. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Hold Fast - MercyMe". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/song/mercyme/hold-fast/7967788. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Christian Songs Archive (August 25, 2007)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/charts/christian-songs?chartDate=2007-07-05. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Christian Songs Archive (March 10, 2007)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/charts/christian-songs?chartDate=2007-03-10&order=gainer. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Godsmack Earns Second No. 1 With 'IV'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/news/godsmack-earns-second-no-1-with-iv-1002461970.story#/news/godsmack-earns-second-no-1-with-iv-1002461970.story. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Coming Up to Breathe - MercyMe". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/charts#/album/mercyme/coming-up-to-breathe/767634. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Year-end Christian Albums (2006)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2006. http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/charts/yearendcharts/2006/christian-albums. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Year-end Christian Albums (2007)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2007. http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/charts/yearendcharts/2007/christian-albums. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Gold and Platinum Database". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?content_selector=gold-platinum-searchable-database. Retrieved 4 November 2011.  Note: User must input the artist name to attain the cited data.
  17. ^ a b "RIAA - Certification Criteria". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinum.php?content_selector=criteria. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "Christian Albums Archive (December 29, 2007)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/charts/christian-albums?chartDate=2007-12-29&order=gainer. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  19. ^ a b c Jones, Brian. "'Coming Up to Breathe' - Absolutely Amazing". About.com. http://christianmusic.about.com/od/cdreviewsmz/fr/mercyme_breathe.htm. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  20. ^ a b c Cummings, Tony (April 25, 2006). "MercyMe - Coming Up to Breathe". Cross Rhythms. http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/MercyMe/Coming_Up_To_Breathe/18072/. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "49th Annual Grammy Awards Winners List". Grammy Awards. Archived from the original on July 29, 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100729132016/http://www2.grammy.com/grammy_awards/49th_show/list.aspx#11. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  22. ^ Jones, Kim. "38th Annual GMA Dove Awards Album of the Year Nominees & Winners". About.com. http://christianmusic.about.com/od/doves/a/07gmaAOY.htm. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  23. ^ ""Ask MercyMe" - Barry (Answers)". MercyMe.org. http://mercyme.org/2008/04/18/ask-mercyme-barry-answers/#!/ss:facebook. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "MercyMe Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Christian Albums for MercyMe. Prometheus Global Media.
  25. ^ "MercyMe Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Rock Albums for MercyMe. Prometheus Global Media.
  26. ^ "Digital Albums Archive (May 15, 2006)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/charts/digital-albums?chartDate=2006-05-13. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  27. ^ "MercyMe Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for MercyMe. Prometheus Global Media.
  28. ^ "MercyMe Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Albums for MercyMe. Prometheus Global Media.
  29. ^ "Year-end Christian/Gospel Albums (2006)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2006. http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/charts/yearendcharts/2006/christian-and-and-gospel-albums. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Year-end Christian/Gospel Albums (2007)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2007. http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/charts/yearendcharts/2007/christian-and-and-gospel-albums/christian-albums. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  31. ^ "MercyMe Album & Song Chart History - Christian Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/mercyme/chart-history/464329?f=355&g=Singles. Retrieved November, 2011. 
  32. ^ "MercyMe Album & Song Chart History - Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/mercyme/chart-history/464329?f=341&g=Singles. Retrieved November 4, 2011.  Note: The peak position of "Bring The Rain" is not listed, but can be found on the Christian Songs archive for August 25, 2007 on Billboard.com.

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