Once upon a time, in the early 2000’s, the area where I lived had some strange phenomena going on. A radio station frequency I used to tune in for pop rock was also used by a Christian station.
If the radio was at the front of the house, it played Christian music and towards the back of the house it played the normal pop rock.
For some reason, the same FM frequency was used for both stations, and the only way it was separated was via geographical means. But if you lived on that geo border like I did, you just got a blend.
And that’s how Casting Crowns came into my life.
There’s a lot of Jesus, a lot of Lord, a lot of Him and a lot of the Father. Sometimes too much, but hey, that’s their thing. Musically the band is excellent and singer Mark Hall, has one of the best voices from the modern times.
The debut, which I got after “Lifesong” and “The Altar And The Door”. Released in 2003 and super successful with double platinum awards from the RIAA for sales in the U.S.
“What If His People Prayed” kicks off the album.
“Voice Of Truth” is like a Journey piano ballad musically in the verse with lyrics derived from various Bible texts. But the Chorus is Arena Rock.
“Who Am I” is another piano like ballad that is basically a rock song. At almost 61 million streams on Spotify, it’s one of their hits.
“American Dream” is like those early 2000 US pop anthems, just think of “Teenage Dirtbag”.
His American Dream is beginning to seem
More and more like a nightmare
With every passing day
“Daddy, can you come to my game?”
“Oh Baby, please don’t work late.”
Another wasted weekend
And they are slipping away
Build your own dream, and don’t let the factories of school and universities condition you into believing that you are here just to get a job. You are here to expand your mind and live the life you want to live.
“Here I Go Again” has an addictive piano riff to kick it off.
“Glory” has an intro riff that could have come from “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.
The vocals of Mark Hall are so underrated. Very Bob Seger like.
Released in 2005.
“Lifesong” starts off with a guitar riff that reminds me of The Edge.
But it was “Praise You In The Storm” and “Does Anybody Here Her?” that came across on the radio, that hooked me in as a fan.
“Love Them Like Jesus” and “Set Me Free” both have piano riffs in the intro which are memorable, as they go deep into a broken home and depression.
Make sure you check out the Chorus to “Set Me Free”.
It hasn’t always been this way
I remember brighter days
Before the dark ones came
Stole my mind
Wrapped my soul in chains
I always have doubt. I can even procrastinate forever because of doubt. But even those feelings change with time. But some don’t get out of the funk. Depression is a killer.
The Altar And The Door
Released in 2007 and the platinum run of albums continues. It was probably one of my favourite rock records for the year.
What a great opener “What This World Needs” is. It reminds of Bon Jovi and “Hey God” for some reason.
What this world needs is not another one hit wonder with an axe to grind
Another two bit politician peddling lies
Another three ring circus society
Even though the song is about the world needing a saviour, there is so much truth in the verses. The politicians peddling lies got even worse in a decade after this release.
What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can’t see the difference
And it’s the difference that sets the world free
Our society is built to make us all fit a stereotype, shave off our nice little edges that make us different. Same, same is good for business and governments. Viewpoints and different ideas aren’t good, until you change the world.
“Every Man” brings out a Beatles like riff. “Slow Fade” is excellent. “East To West” is also excellent.
Until The Whole World Hears
Released in 2009. And the platinum records continue.
The title track opens the album, with a boogie and a riff that wouldn’t be out of place on any modern rock album.
We’ll sing until the whole world hears
Amen to that.
There is a bit of Coldplay here in “Joyful, Joyful”. And there’s a bit of One Republic in “At Your Feet”.
“Holy One” rocks out of the gate, with a recognizable distorted riff.
Come To The Well
Released in 2011. This one is Gold and on its way to Platinum. It’s not on Spotify for some strange reason.
Like all the other albums, it starts off with a rocking anthem. In this case it’s “Courageous”.
“City On The Hill” sounds like the rock songs doing the rounds on the charts. “Already There” is another nod to their U2 and Coldplay influences.
“Spirit Wind” is like those songs from the heartland. “Angel” is one of those ballads they do so well and “My Own Worst Enemy” brings some rock and grunt and distortion to the mix.
It’s a great cover.
Released in 2014. This one is also Gold and on its way to Platinum. With each album they kept adjusting their sound a little bit. This one has that country rock vibe along with some of that contemporary rock doing the charts like Imagine Dragons.
Stand out tracks are “Thrive”, “All You’ve Ever Wanted”, “Just To Be Held”, “You Are The Only One”, “This Is Now” and “Love You With The Truth”.
And my favourite is the Springsteen like “House Of Their Dreams”. It’s got that “My Hometown” vibe.
There are so many moods and emotions here around the music and the melodies.
They’ve released a few more albums after this, but like all things, you fall in and out with artists and I sort of lost track of them after “Thrive”.