When considering the juggernaut bands of CCM, Casting Crowns must be foremost in the conversation. Ever since their debut, the band has churned out an impressive catalogue of hit albums and singles. With their latest, Only Jesus, they hope to carry on their success with 12 new tracks, most of which are ready for radio. The record focuses its theme on making Jesus the driving force behind everything a Christian does and tackles different perspectives on this.
Casting Crowns' weakness has always been their music. Their brand of pop/rock leans more toward the bland side as the songs try to court the radio. However, given the blandness of general pop music these days, the group has crafted a sound that comes off fresher than previous works. What helps on Only Jesus is their attempt at varying the arrangements and mixing in different elements. For instance, "Nobody" (which features guest vocals by Matthew West) carries itself with the foot-stomping
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David Crowder is easily one of the most notable artists in today's Christian music and worship scene. Crowder has stood out as being innovative and creative, with each album seeming to have its own musical theme. I Know a Ghost is his newest effort and seems to build off of his last album, American Prodigal, more than anything else. I Know a Ghost has some of that same swamp rock sound ("Wildfire"), but the overwhelming musical theme here is hip-hop. Sure, Social Club Misfits join in for a rather odd number, but the hip-hop correlation has more to do with the beats that are underlying in almost every song.
The album actually has a really strong start with the title track, already released "Wildfire," and an album favorite in "Golgotha Hill (King of Love)." While "Golgotha Hill" has a little of that hip-hop feel, there's no doubting the trap-like beat in "Crushing Snakes." "Red Letters," also previously released, follows and sounds like that typical Crowder radio song -- the "My Victory" of I Know a Ghost so to speak. While the song is not a cover of dc Talk's 1998 hit, the concept is the same as they both focus on the words of Christ from the Bible. Mandissa is featured on the gospel inspired "Let it Rain (Is...
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With their most recent record, You Were Never Alone, Emery released a concept album inspired by biblical stories without most fans noticing, only to divulge that not-so-small detail five months later in Matt Carter's Break It Down podcast. It was a mind-blowing revelation, further elevating what many already considered at least on par with their best works. Emery continually prove themselves as masters of their craft and ones to never make the same album twice, and while there doesn't seem to be any big secret here, their latest effort is still fairly surprising.
Eve is Emery's most mellow album to date. Not only is there little screaming, but the clean production, limited number of breakdowns, and the decrease in darker lyrics also aid in the softer feeling of Eve. It does make the album more accessible, but on a lyrical and emotional level, Eve is as weighty and thought-provoking as ever and possibly their most personal album to date. The magic is all still here with Toby Morrell and Devin Shelton's unparalleled vocal pairing, the genius songwriting of Toby, and plenty of post-hardcore and rock goodness...
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