MercyMe, one of my favourite bands of all time, recently released a music video for their song ‘Shake’, the first radio single from their most recent album Welcome To the New. The video, which premiered in November 2013, featuring the five members of the band singing in a diner and dancing 50s style, complete with the whole package of suits, weird dance moves, and a whole lot of criticism that comes along with making a music video (because frankly, whenever someone makes a video, there’s always positive and negative comments). Just looking through the comments on the youtube link page makes me understand more fully that there are some people who just want to comment negatively because they can. With comments like the dancing was lewd and suggestive, to other comments that felt the dancing was over the top, or the song wasn’t explicit enough when it comes to singing about Christ’s love; ‘Shake’ has possibly been one of the most controversial CCM songs within the last few months.
While there is literally no mention of the word ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ in the song anywhere, the theme of the melody is nevertheless still one that we all need to hear and understand, especially in today’s culture. As I myself reflect on the lyrics of the chorus, we are all called to shake (maybe the better term for us to consider is the word ‘dance’)- that if we are in Christ and believe what He has done for us, if we are truly changed by the finished work of the cross and resurrection, then we can’t help but express it before the Lord- and whether it is by shaking about, dancing, crying out to Him in worship or even falling down flat on our faces in quiet reverence, God will indeed know our heart, no matter what we do. While the song (and video) will have its critics, I have thoroughly enjoyed this video, which has a great throwback feel to it (think Carman meets Elvis Presley meets 50s/60s music).
Their most unique song they’ve released so far, ‘Shake’ is a moment where we show Christ our gratitude for what He has done. Borne out of a season of celebration, enthusiasm, joy and a sense of peace as we realise and understand fully that we are completely remade in Christ, I’m certain that ‘Shake’ has brought up some topics like dancing in the church, and will continue to bring up issues like dancing, and which ways to dance, in the future. Nevertheless, I’m almost certain that everyone who hears the song (or even watches the video) will be blessed. At a short, yet equally powerful 3 minutes 12 seconds, lead singer Bart reminds us that ‘Shake’ ‘…is about enjoying the fact that we’re changed- this is about having the joy and living life that way – Christians are supposed to have joy…’, and we are given possibly the most un-CCM like song from MercyMe ever since ‘Alright’ back in 2007 and ‘Move’ in 2010. ‘Shake’ is still very much radio friendly, and continues to give us a reminder of why MercyMe continues to be a popular and lyrically poignant band, as much now as they were when they started and released ‘I Can Only Imagine’ more than 10 years ago.
‘Shake’ is about freedom, and regardless of whether we consciously decide if we shake like how the band are shaking in the video, we ought to understand and realise that the way of dancing is irrelevant- what is relevant is that we are open to the truth that dancing before the Lord with freedom is when we don’t worry about how we dance, but rather dance in a way that will express our love for Him. While ‘Shake’ is lyrically cheesy in some points, it still has a great MercyMe style and feel- encouraging us that ‘…no matter when it happened, at 7 or 95, move your feet ‘cause you are free and you’ve never been more alive…’ Check out the video below, and see what you think of both the video and song!