Release Date: September 13th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- How To Feel Alive
Can I be honest? When Third Day broke up and decided that each band member were going to move into their own individual creative outlets, I was bummed. I was sad. There was no warning signs that this was ever going to happen…but then again maybe there was. With guitarist Brad Avery leaving the band in 2008, Tai Anderson in 2015 and David Carr in 2017, I guess it was only a matter of time before founding members Mark Lee and Mac Powell were either going to move on themselves, or hire new full time members…and I guess they themselves felt that the legacy of Third Day ought not to be messed with, and I’m sure it was going to be if there were new members and a new dynamic moving forward. Nevertheless, what transpired from the years of 1992 to 2017 was fundamental in the change and even acceptance of rock music in a Christian setting. Sure there were bands like Jars of Clay, DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline that were making a statement in the 1990s that rock music was cool, but also a relevant and necessary tool to spread the gospel, Third Day comes along to add another flavour into the mix- rock music with a southern gospel feel. What transpired over the years was a lot of best-selling albums, and chart topping songs like ‘Your Love Oh Lord’, ‘Call My Name’, ‘Children of God’, ‘Love Song’, ‘Thief’, ‘Sing a Song’, ‘Your Love is Like a River’, ‘Soul on Fire’, and more recently, ‘Let There Be Light’ and ‘Revival’ from their 2017 album Revival.
Now here in 2019, and Mac and Mark and doing different things- Mac with this ‘band’ called Mac Powell and the Family Reunion, as their trek around the country making country music, while Mark is now showing us what he can do when he’s placed in front of the mic as a front-man- he can sing, and sing well! Releasing his debut EP titled Unshakable Heart in 2018, and his more recent single ‘Your Love Will Find Me’ earlier on this year, he is now back with another song- ‘How to Feel Alive’, unveiled to us in September 2019. Though both Mark and Mac are undertaking solo acts, they are nevertheless still believing that music is still a part of them, even if it is not together as Third Day. And though I’ll always reminisce about Third Day and how I really truly think that their ending in CCM was a tad premature, I can nevertheless be grateful that these two men aren’t walking away from music entirely. Mac is singing country music, and though it’s a far cry from CCM, he nevertheless is using his talents to create spaces and atmosphere where the Lord can work through. And Mark, well, his hidden talent is singing all along. Who knew?
‘How to Feel Alive’ is classic Third Day, maybe harkening back to the 1990s Time-influenced style. Full of guitars and electronic sounds that make this song compatible and on a playlist of other 1990s songs (and no one would tell the odd song out!), we are met with the theme of asking the pertinent and central question to life- how to feel alive. As Mark himself delves into the theme behind the song, ‘…after the Miracle on the Hudson, one of the passengers was reported to have said “I felt alive before – now I feel really alive.” Whenever we have a brush with death and encounter eternity, we feel more alive. People will go to great lengths to chase that feeling, whether it be mountain climbing or skydiving. But there’s another way. We can encounter eternity through placing our lives God’s hands. If we make that relationship the most important thing in our lives, everything else will fall into place. That’s how to feel alive…’ To find that adrenaline rush can be a lifelong journey for some, yet, such a song as this is a timely reminder that to be in the presence of God and be fully immersed in the knowledge of what He has done in light of who we are, is the ultimate rush of all. Fit and primed for radio, this radio-friendly song, had it been tied to an actual CCM label instead of being released independently, would be chomping on the airwaves and maybe be included on the now-defunt WOW Hits…it’s that good! For Mark has continued to make music, and only now, we can see what a kept talent he has in singing. Should he have taken the lead on a few Third Day songs back in the day? Most definitely. I guess now we’ll never know why. And here now, with ‘How to Feel Alive’ and previously ‘Your Love Will Find Me’, Mark’s career is only just getting started. Well done Mark for such a powerful song, and one that can and should heal a lot of people who hear this song- and be reminded that though Third Day are done, their ministry and music in form of Mark’s new songs and music career, still lives on!
RIYL: Mac Powell and the Family Reunion, Third Day, needtobreathe, Zach Williams, Rhett Walker Band