The Face of Love

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For the film, see The Face of Love (film).
The Face of Love
Studio album by Sanctus Real
Released April 4, 2006
Recorded 2005
Studio Fabmusic (Franklin, Tennessee), The Smoakstack (Nashville, Tennessee)
Genre Christian rock
Length 42:04
Label Sparrow/EMI CMG
Producer Christopher Stevens
Sanctus Real chronology
Fight the Tide
The Face of Love
We Need Each Other
Singles from The Face of Love
  1. "I'm Not Alright"
    Released: February 21, 2006
  2. "The Face of Love"
    Released: 2007
  3. "Don't Give Up"
    Released: 2007

The Face of Love is the third studio album from Christian rock band Sanctus Real. It was released on April 4, 2006 and peaked at number 158 on the Billboard 200. The singles "I'm Not Alright" and "Don't Give Up" both reached number 1 on Christian contemporary hit radio. The album was written and recorded following a period of personal struggles for the band members, and carries themes of honesty and brokenness.

The Face of Love was generally well received by music critics, who praised its lyrical maturity and vocal performance of lead singer Matt Hammit. The album itself was GMA Dove Award-nominated for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year, and the song "I'm Not Alright" also received a Dove Award nomination.


Before recording their third major studio album, the members of Sanctus Real faced several personal struggles including family deaths. In early February 2005, drummer Mark Graalman and his wife had a child, and on the same day, Graalman received news of his father's failing health due to cancer.[1] Within two months his father and lead vocalist Matt Hammit's grandmother died, and the band's bassist left the group. Hammit said in an interview, "It basically left [us] feeling pretty confused about what was next for Sanctus Real, what kind of record we were going to make and how it was even going to happen."[1] The album's final track, "Benjamin", was written to Graalman's infant son in relation to the father's death.[2]

The band had difficulty in attempting to prepare and record an album following the circumstances at that time. Producer Christopher Stevens encouraged them to write honest songs about the pain that they had experienced, and was credited by the band members as "walking with them through their dark night of the soul experience".[3]

The first recording session occurred in April 2005 in the garage of Stevens' Nashville, Tennessee home, which was used as a temporary studio. "It was so hot in that garage the first session", guitarist Chris Rohman recalled in an interview. "We go in there and we don't have the songs, we don't know what we're doing, we're stressed, he's stressed, and it's like 90 degrees [Fahrenheit] in the studio. Nobody wanted to be there."[4] Stevens began playing over the chords to "I'm Not Alright", initially titled as "I'll Be Fine", and at that point the band decided to rework the song's lyrical theme. "We're not going to lie. We're not going to try to sit here and try to sugarcoat what's happening right now or say something because it sounds good. I'm not alright", Matt Hammit said.[4] The previous material they had written was lyrically "shifted to the stuff we were going through at [that] point".[3] "I'm Not Alright", which became the album's lead single, was rewritten and represented the themes of brokenness and confession on The Face of Love. Mark Graalman noted: "It's been an unbelievably hard year for the band. But we've learned to rely on God’s grace, and we've learned to be honest and transparent. Being honest and transparent means not faking it; it has to be OK to say, 'No, I'm not alright'."[3]

The Face of Love was recorded and mixed at the fabmusic and Smoakstack studios in Tennessee.[5]

Musical style[edit]

The Face of Love has generally been labeled as a melodic alternative rock album, taking influence from the power pop of their debut Say It Loud and the more distinctive rock sound of Fight the Tide.[6] Allmusic's review noted, "If you swirled together Switchfoot's The Beautiful Letdown, Jars of Clay's Good Monsters and U2's How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, the concoction would sound much like this."[6]

Release and promotion[edit]

The Face of Love was released on April 4, 2006 through Sparrow Records and Capitol Music Group. It debuted at number 168 on the Billboard 200, and number 2 on Billboard magazine's Top Heatseekers chart.[7][8] It also reached number 10 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart,[9] and in December 2006, the album re-entered the Billboard 200 and placed at number 158.[7]

Three radio singles were released from the album: "I'm Not Alright", "The Face of Love", and "Don't Give Up". On April 23, 2006, the band launched The Face of Love Tour in promotion of the album; it travelled through the southeast and midwest of the United States, featuring Needtobreathe and This Beautiful Republic as guest artists.[10]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Jesus Freak Hideout 4.5/5 stars link
Christianity Today 3.5/5 stars link
Cross Rhythms 10/10 squares link
Music Faith 10/10 stars link
The Phantom Tollbooth (not rated) link

Upon its release, The Face of Love was generally well-received by music critics. Jared Johnson of Allmusic gave a 4.5/5 review, praising Matt Hammit's lead vocals as "so rich and mature that he could practically sing a computer owner's manual to rave reviews"; it was also labeled by Allmusic as an AMG Album Pick.[6] The title track "The Face of Love" received individual accolade, as well: Jesus Freak Hideout main editor John DiBiase called it "probably the band's best [song] to date",[11] while Christianity Today said that it was a "beautiful illustration".[12] The album was noted to somewhat "lack distinction" by Christianity Today, however; the magazine's review noted, "Based on the songwriting, this is Sanctus Real's most mature effort to date ... Though it all sounds great, there's ultimately something a little lacking ... [W]hile there is indeed growth here, it doesn't necessarily make The Face of Love a step forward in excellence compared to the band's two previous efforts."[12]

The Face of Love was nominated for the Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year honor at the 2007 GMA Dove Awards.[13] The album's lead single "I'm Not Alright" also received a Dove Award nomination, in the category Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year.[14]

Track listing[edit]

The Face of Love
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I'm Not Alright" Dan Gartley, Mark Graalman, Matt Hammitt, Doug McKelvey, Chris Rohman, Christopher Stevens 4:07
2. "Eloquent" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 3:22
3. "Fly" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 3:58
4. "The Face of Love" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 3:55
5. "Don't Give Up" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 4:14
6. "We're Trying" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman 3:00
7. "Thank You" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 3:34
8. "Magnetic" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 4:27
9. "Possibilities" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 3:30
10. "Where We Belong" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 3:34
11. "Benjamin" Gartley, Graalman, Hammitt, Rohman, Stevens 4:15
Total length: 41:56




Year Chart Peak
2006 U.S. Billboard 200 158[7]
2006 U.S. Billboard Top Heatseekers 2[8]
2006 U.S. Billboard Top Christian Albums 10[9]


Year Single Chart Peak
2006 "I'm Not Alright" U.S. R&R Christian CHR format 1[15]
2007 "Don't Give Up" U.S. R&R Christian CHR format 1[15]


  1. ^ a b "They're So Not OK". Christianity Today. May 8, 2006. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  2. ^ DiBiase, John (March 29, 2006). "Sanctus Real, "The Face Of Love" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  3. ^ a b c "Sanctus Real". CCM Magazine. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  4. ^ a b Yonke, David (April 2, 2006). "Brighter Days for Sanctus Real: Christian Rock Band Celebrates New CD, End of Tough Times". The Blade. ( Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  5. ^ Lyric liner for The Face of Love. Sparrow Records, 2006.
  6. ^ a b c Johnson, Jared. "The Face of Love > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  7. ^ a b c "Sanctus Real - The Face of Love". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-07-16. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b "Artist Chart History - Sanctus Real". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  9. ^ a b "The Face of Love > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  10. ^ "Sanctus Real Goes No 1 Again". May 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  11. ^ DiBiase, John. "Sanctus Real, "We Need Each Other" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  12. ^ a b Breimeier, Russ. "The Face of Love". Christian Music Today. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  13. ^ Jones, Kim. "38th Annual GMA Dove Awards Album of the Year Nominees & Winners". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  14. ^ Jones, Kim. "38th Annual GMA Music Awards - Songs of the Year Nominees & Winners". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  15. ^ a b "Sanctus Real No 1 At Radio With 'Don't Give Up'". May 8, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 

External links[edit]