|Studio album by MercyMe|
|Released||October 1, 2002|
|Recorded||2002 in the United States|
|Genre||Christian rock, roots rock, pop rock|
Spoken For is the second studio album by Christian rock band MercyMe. Released on October 1, 2002, Spoken For sold 28,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number 41 on the Billboard 200; it also peaked at number two on the Christian Albums chart and number six on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. The album received a generally positive reception from critics, some of whom praised the album as being both a lyrical and musical progression from their debut album Almost There. Several critics also noted a shift in sound from Almost There, describing Spoken For as having a roots rock sound. At the 34th GMA Dove Awards, Spoken For was nominated for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year; the album was certified Gold by the RIAA in October 2003.
Three singles were released in promotion of Spoken For. The lead single and title track, "Spoken For", peaked at number one on the Radio & Records Christian AC and INSPO charts. The second single from the album, "Word of God Speak", spent a record 23 weeks at the top of the Billboard Christian Songs chart, and also topped the Billboard Hot Christian AC chart and the Radio & Records Christian AC and INSPO charts. "The Change Inside of Me" was released as the final single from the album, and peaked at number eight on the Radio & Records Christian CHR chart.
Background and recording
All songs on the album were written and composed by MercyMe personnel, Bart Millard, Jim Bryson, Robby Shaffer, Mike Scheuchzer, Nathan Cochran, and Pete Kipley. Mark Stuart also contributed to "All the Above".
Discussing the progression from MercyMe's first album Almost There to the songs on Spoken For, MercyMe's lead singer Bart Millard said in an interview: "Our goal early on was to make sure our songs were 'singable' and make sure they fit on power point because we wanted to write songs for corporate worship. Spoken For is filled with songs that I pray the church will use." He added that this album leaned more toward rock than Almost There. Millard said of the origin of the album title: "Over the last year I’ve been consumed with the idea that God is so crazy in love with us—just knowing that we are part of something bigger and we worship a God who’s in complete control no matter how good or bad things get. The phrase "spoken for" really stuck with me."
Spoken For was recorded in several locations: Luminous Sound in Dallas, Texas, The Sound Kitchen in Franklin, Tennessee, Indigo Room in Franklin, Tennessee, HydeAway Sound Lab in Jeckyll Island, Georgia, The Scwoodio in Greenville, Texas, Mountain View Recorders in Glorieta, New Mexico, and Playground Recording in Wylie, Texas. It was mastered by Richard Dodd at Vital Recordings, and mixed by F. Reid Shippen at Recording Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, with the exceptions of "All Because of This", "Word of God Speak, and "Love of God", (which were mixed at Salvo Mix by Salvo), and "Go" (which was mixed by J. R. McNeely).
MercyMe had considered themselves a rock band when they started out. On Spoken For they have progressed to sound "like a solid roots rock band" while retaining an "inspirational adult contemporary sound." Several critics described the overall sound of the album as roots rock, also regarding Spoken For as a progression or shift beyond the sound of Almost There. The lyrical content has been described as 'refreshingly deep' and 'thoughtful'. The instrumentation on Spoken For includes electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, and keyboard; string instruments are also present. The songs on Spoken For are generally guitar-driven, although "Word of God Speak" features only piano and strings over Millard's vocals.
"Spoken For", the title track, "offers a look at Jesus recognizing His children at heaven’s gate" and has been referred to as 'worshipful'. Among the individual tracks on the album, "The Change Inside of Me" has been described as "firmly on the pop side of adult contemporary music", as well as "upbeat pop/rock". "All The Above" has also been described as 'pop'; lyrically, it describes "the elation that rang through the heavens when we became children of God". "Your Glory Goes On" is also an upbeat pop/rock song. "Crazy" is described as a driving ballad "which explores the merits of heaven over earth", with its opening bars sounding "a little like a slower version of The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic". "Come One, Come All" sounds like a cross between the sounds of Sonicflood and John Mellencamp.
"Spoken For" was released as the lead single from Spoken For; it peaked at number one on the Radio & Records Christian AC and INSPO charts, spending seven and six weeks respectively at the top of the charts. It also peaked at number six on the Radio & Records Christian CHR chart. "Word of God Speak" was released as the second single from the album, and peaked at number one on the Billboard Christian Songs and Hot Christian AC charts, as well as at number one Radio & Records Christian AC and INSPO charts, and at number 25 on the Radio & Records Christian CHR chart. "Word of God Speak" spent 23 weeks atop the Christian Songs chart, a record for that chart. A third and final single, "The Change Inside pf Me", peaked at number eight on the Christian CHR chart.
Spoken For was released on October 1, 2002. It sold 23,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number 41 on the Billboard 200 and number two on the Christian Albums chart and at number six on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. Spoken For ranked at number ten on the 2003 year-end Christian Albums chart, and at number 20 on the 2004 year-end Christian Albums chart. It also ranked at number 46 on the 2000s decade-end Christian Albums chart. The RIAA certified Spoken For Gold in 2003, signifying shipments of over 500,000 copies.
Critical reception to Spoken For was generally positive. Kevin McNeese of NewReleaseTuesday gave the album four out of five stars, comparing the album favorably to MercyMe's previous material. Marcia Bartenhagen of CCM Magazine gave the album a positive review, noting a progression in musical focus, songwriting, and vocals. Russ Breimeier of Christianity Today praised the album for its cohesiveness, and found the album an improvement upon the band's debut album Almost There in its songwriting; he also praised what he regarded as a shift to a roots rock musical style. Tony Cummings of Cross Rhythms gave the album seven out of ten stars, praising the songs as being "beautifully crafted". Wendy Lee Nentwig of Crosswalk.com praised the band's musical and lyrical growth since their debut effort, as well as the "passionate intensity and emotion" of lead singer Bart Millard's vocals.
Marcia Bartenhagen of CCM Magazine concluded: "While not a perfect sophomore effort, as the group occasionally sways to the triteness so often found on AC/pop projects, MercyMe has progressed in musical focus, songwriting and vocals."
|1.||"The Change Inside of Me"||Bart Millard, Nathan Cochran, Michael Scheuchzer, James Bryson, Robin Shaffer, Pete Kipley||3:24|
|2.||"All The Above"||Millard, Cochran, Scheuchzer, Bryson, Shaffer, Kipley Mark Stuart||3:23|
|3.||"Spoken For"||Millard, Cochran, Scheuchzer, Bryson, Shaffer, Kipley||4:09|
|4.||"There's A Reason"||Millard, Cochran, Scheuchzer, Bryson, Shaffer, Kipley||4:11|
|5.||"Come One, Come All"||Millard, Cochran, Scheuchzer, Bryson, Shaffer, Kipley||3:50|
|6.||"Crazy"||Millard, Kipley, Hurd, Sipes||4:38|
|7.||"Word of God Speak"||Millard, Kipley||3:07|
|8.||"Your Glory Goes On"||Millard, Cochran, Scheuchzer, Bryson, Shaffer, Kipley||2:39|
|9.||"Love of God" (Arrangement by Millard, Cochran, Scheuchzer, Bryson, Shaffer, Kipley)||Lehman||3:33|
|10.||"Go"||Millard, Cochran, Scheuchzer, Bryson, Shaffer, Kipley||3:27|
|11.||"All Because Of This"||Millard, Cochran, Scheuchzer, Bryson, Shaffer, Kipley||1:37|
Credits adapted from the album liner notes.
Charts and certifications
- "Spoken For" was released before the Christian Songs chart was created.
- Losey, Steven Douglas. "The New Album Is Spoken For". Today's Christian Music. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- Spoken For (Media notes). MercyMe. INO Records. 2002. p. 4,7.
- Black, Beau (April 30, 2006). "Breathe Deep". Today's Christian Music. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Breimeier, Russ (October 19, 2002). "Spoken For". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on October 26, 2006. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Nentwig, Wendy Lee (October 29, 2002). "Pick of the Week: Spoken For". Crosswalk.com. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Bartenhagen, Marcia (November 25, 2002). "Spoken For - Music Review". CCM Magazine. Crosswalk.com. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Hambrick, Melissa (June 23, 2004). "Song Story: "Word of God Speak" by MercyMe". Crosswalk.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- "Billboard Charted Singles" (PDF). Mikecurb.com. Curb Records. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Trust, Gary (April 23, 2010). "Ask Billboard: Which Carrie Songs To 'Play'?". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- Spoken For at AllMusic
- Harms, Tim (January 8, 2003). "FIRST-PERSON : MercyMe, Nichole Nordeman, Bebo Norman stood out in 2002". Baptist Press. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Billboard 200". Billboard. October 19, 2002. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- "Christian Albums". Billboard. October 19, 2002. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- "Catalog Albums". Billboard. December 11, 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- "Top Contemporary Christian Titles". Billboard. December 27, 2003. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
- "Top Contemporary Christian Titles". Billboard. December 25, 2004. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
- "Decade-end Christian Albums (2000s)". Billboard. 2009. Archived from the original on August 25, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
- "Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved April 9, 2016.
- "RIAA - Certification Criteria". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved June 11, 2012.
- McNesse, Kevin (2008-01-30). "Spoken For by MercyMe". NewReleaseTuesday.com. NRT Media. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- Cummings, Tony. "Spoken For (Cross Rhythms)". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- MacCorkle, Laura (January 14, 2003). "34th Annual Dove Awards Nominees Announced - Jan 14 News". Crosswalk.com. Retrieved November 13, 2011.