If you only know MercyMe for their 2001 ubiquitous AC crossover hit "I Can Only Imagine," you've missed out on some of the Christian genre's most accessible and well-known hits -- which means you might not fully appreciate the full artistic statement that the band makes on The Generous Mr. Lovewell, a daring reinvention that drove the band far outside its comfort zone and sparked a national social trend in the process. Lovewell is the name of the band's pseudo-character who wakes up each morning determined to change the world through small acts of kindness. The concept may seem simple, but the band's collaboration with Brown Bannister and Dan Muckala delivers the messages with authenticity and contemporary new sounds that make it perfectly believable to envision a world in which Lovewell's considerate and genuine actions are manifest in the lives of real everyday people. And wouldn't you know it, in the age of Facebook and Twitter that's exactly what happened. Through a series of tweets and Facebook fan messages prior to the album's release in May 2010, the fictional Lovewell inspired thousands of listeners to spread everyday kindness. This social revolution is the album's true heart. Yes, for the first time the band outgrew its hot AC shell and crafted meaningful dancehall fodder and alternative rock. "This Life" and "Move" are as relevant as anything MercyMe have ever done, and the title track is a Sgt. Pepper-ish departure from anything the band has ever done as well. But the fact that the album's message motivated true Christian behavior from its Christian listeners will always be Mr. Lovewell's ultimate legacy. Artistically and lyrically, MercyMe finally created the songs that have long been written on their hearts -- those of true believers.
AllMusic Review by Jared Johnson