Beat Breaker: “Happy Dance” by MercyMe

Song: “Happy Dance”
Album: Lifer
Release: March 31, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Christian, pop-rock

If you’ve been a Christian for longer than five minutes, then you’ve probably heard of MercyMe. They are one of the most popular and influential Christian groups of all time. They began recording music in 1994, but when their single “I Can Only Imagine” hit the charts in 2004, MercyMe became a household name. Every album they’ve released is filled with heartfelt worship songs that glorify God and show a genuine vulnerability that is rare and beautiful. It’s no wonder they’ve become so popular!

Besides writing worship music, MercyMe also writes dance songs that are both hilarious and catchy! These songs get your feet moving, hands clapping, and will have you laughing and singing before the first chorus. One of the best MercyMe dance hits is “Happy Dance” from their 2017 album, Lifer. With a hilarious music video to go along with it, “Happy Dance” brings laughter, joy, and sweet dance moves. I believe God created us to have a sense of humor, and MercyMe uses theirs to bring glory to God in the most wonderful way.

Feel of the Song

“Happy Dance” is a pop-rock song with horns mixed in. The fast and energetic beat will have you tapping along in no time. The song starts with Bart Millard, the lead singer, shouting to get someone’s attention. It’s jarring, but in an exciting way because the electric guitar is already grooving behind his vocals. The drums keep a steady beat that’s similar to disco, being a 4/4 timed rhythm.

The vocals are strong and commanding. Bart sings in his higher register and melodically yells at times. Sometimes the words are a bit hard to decipher due to the yelling, but the general message of the song still comes across clear. During the bridge breakdown of the song, the instruments drop out and the singer does a bit of beat-boxing with his mouth to replace the drums. It’s cheesy, but it certainly adds to the fun!

Lyrics and Meaning

The lyrics are short, sweet, and to the point in “Happy Dance.” The phrasing is uncomplicated and easy to grasp, especially while singing. The lines, “We always say that we have unspeakable joy / So, let our feet do all the talking when our words fall short” and “We’re so consumed with what we think we’re supposed to be / that we stop living like we know that we’re free,” remind us the Christian walk doesn’t have to be rigid or boring. They’re serious and meaningful, but the way they’re sung makes the weight of them a bit easier to bear.

The more humorous lyrics even have conviction to them! “You got the shaking right / but the fear won’t do” and “It ain’t about how you move / but what moves you” point us back to the reason we should be fearlessly dancing: Jesus! Jesus said in John 15:11 “I have told you these things so that you may have joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” We should be joyful people simply because of what Christ did for us on the cross and how He set us free from sin and bondage. That’s enough to make anyone want to dance and shout for joy!

We’ve got reason to get up / Reason to get down
He done traded our sin for joy / and now that joy it wants out

Let me see those hands if the good Lord saved ya!
Get up, get down, if He done changed ya!

Life Application

So, how do we live a life of joy? There’s no perfect combination or secret formula, unfortunately. However, there are three main things we can do each day to bring joy to others and experience it ourselves. 

The first thing is to go “all-in” with God. Give Him your whole heart and work to follow His commands. Spend time every day in His word and communicating with him through prayer. God wants to be in our lives and He wants us to want Him there. The nearer we draw to Him, the closer He draws to us. As we saturate our hearts with His word, we will begin to see the fruit of joy active in our lives!

The second thing to do is take a genuine interest in others. Our actions speak louder than words, especially with those closest to us. If someone confides in you and asks for prayer, pray for them in that moment, but make sure to follow up with them. Ask them in a week or two for an update. It shows you care and that you took their need seriously. Another way is if someone is passionate about something, such as a new game, movie, sport, or hobby, ask them questions about it. Even if it’s something you’re not interested in or maybe it even bores you, ask them. Showing with your actions that you care more about them than yourself is a wonderful way to bring joy into your life and others around you.

One final way is to live a life of intentional relationships. We were not made to do life alone. We need people who know the real us and can speak joy in our lives. We need people to encourage us and we need to be encouraging to others! We should make every effort to bring Christ to the center of our relationships and the forefront of our conversations. Being intentional means making time for those relationships and working hard to maintain them, but also using them to advance the kingdom of God.

I think the life application is pretty obvious here: Be JOYFUL! Jesus died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice to cover all the sins of mankind. Jesus breaks the chains of addiction. Jesus forgives us of our past and gives us hope for the future. Jesus casts out the darkness in our lives at the mention of His name. Jesus gives us a place to belong and and a new family. Jesus walks through all the good and bad our lives will endure. The bible says He will never leave nor forsake us, no matter what we do or how far we stray. I think that’s more than enough to get people dancing for joy!

Serena Bond

Since her time on earth began, Serena has loved music in all its forms. She plays guitar, piano, and sings along to everything. She is a wife to her loving husband Paden, an avid tabletop and video gamer, and mom to her fur baby Fat Cat.

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