MercyMe’s appeal is quite simple: They deliver fantastic-sounding songs time and time again. Founded in Oklahoma in the mid-’90s, the band have a keen understanding of the fact that a deep love of Christ and a firm grounding in scripture, while certainly prerequisites, aren’t enough to leave a lasting mark in CCM. An artist must also possess a gift for hooking listeners sonically. On career milestones “I Can Only Imagine” and “Even If,” released in 2001 and 2017 respectively, MercyMe achieve this by blending pop-rock with the expansive arrangements unique to praise & worship. Not only that, they have consistently redefined this approach in order to reflect evolving trends. In the early 2000s, when they were coming into their own as a part of a new generation of CCM acts that also included future stars Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, and Jeremy Camp, MercyMe focused on anthemic praises with vertically inclined lyrics that ride U2-inspired guitars into the clouds. This aesthetic made their major commercial debut, 2001’s Almost There, one of the most successful albums in CCM history and a harbinger of the secular crossover success the genre would experience in coming years. In contrast, later albums find MercyMe taking bolder chances. One of their most ambitious is 2010’s The Generous Mr. Lovewell, a song cycle drenched in ’60s pop and ’80s New Wave that examines the different dimensions of Biblical love. Then there’s 2017’s Lifer, a dance-pop-fuelled delight that transports fans to the nightclub. Through all these twists and turns, the hits continue to pile up (no fewer than 12 No. 1s on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart), and that’s because MercyMe remain committed to balancing religious meaning with songwriting that is unapologetically accessible.