Casting Crowns [Come To The Well] | Posted October 21, 2011 Staff Reviewer
Casting Crowns has sold more than eight million albums to date and has been named Billboard magazine’s top-selling Christian act for the past four years. The band recently celebrated its first two RIAA certified Gold singles, “Who Am I” and “Praise You In This Storm.” Over the past eight years, Atlanta based Casting Crowns has consistently delivered music that points believers back to what truly matters, and the band does so yet again on Come to the Well. On its fifth studio album, Mark Hall once again takes some of the messages he’s shared with students and parents at his home church, Eagles Landing, and pours them into songs. Like Casting Crowns' previous albums, Come to the Well is filled with songs that both challenge and encourage believers in their walk. The lead single, “Courageous,” is showcased in the Sherwood Pictures film of the same title. The powerful lyric exhorts men to lead bold, uncompromising lives for the Lord. The bridge of the song has a great takeaway message for the album: “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8). The song certainly fits the musical style of the opening songs from the past few albums, musically reminding me of “Lifesong,” “What This World Needs” and “Until The Whole World Hears.” “Courageous” and “My Own Worst Enemy” are the only rock style songs on the album, which overall takes on a mellow, reflective and at times country music feel.
“City On The Hill” features strong lyrics reflecting our calling as Christians from Matthew 5. “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” includes the most challenging message on the album in the style of their early hit songs “If We Are The Body” and “Stained Glass Masquerade.” The song opens with the lyrics, ”Jesus Friend of Sinners, we have strayed so far away, we cut down people in Your name, but the sword was never ours to swing…The world is on their way to You, but they’re tripping over me; always looking around, but never looking up; I’m so double-minded.” That type of bold lyric for the church has been this band’s trademark and I felt it was somewhat missing from their last album so I was glad to hear a return to that style and also twelve original new songs from the band with no cover songs this time. A standout track is “The Well” about the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. It has a catchy and memorable chorus “all who thirst will thirst will thirst no more…the world will try, but it can never fill, so leave it all behind and come to the well.” Amen to that! The song could end up as this successful band’s biggest hit song and I expect the song could also ‘cross over’ to mainstream Country music along with heavy rotation on Christian music radio stations. The beginning of the album is loaded with several radio-friendly songs.
The album takes a cool artistic turn with “Spirit Wind,” which is one of the first songs Hall ever wrote. It also has strong lyrics calling out “believers leading carnal lives.” The song has a bluegrass flavor unlike any thing Casting Crowns has ever done and it’s another catchy and memorable song. Hall, who has won two “Songwriter of the Year” GMA Dove Awards, collaborated with Steven Curtis Chapman, Matthew West and others. Hall wrote “Just Another Birthday” with Tom Douglas, an award-winning country songwriter who has penned numerous country hit songs including “I Run To You” by Lady Antebellum. Band members Megan Garrett and Melodee DeVevo have beautifully expressive voices and Megan takes the lead on the poignant “Just Another Birthday.” The song reminds me of “Does Anybody Hear Her” from a first person girl’s perspective as she cries out to see her father again. It’s a reminder for fathers to remember their true priorities and be the spiritual leaders of their homes. I have three young daughters and this is the most moving song on the album as I know that so many young girls lack a father figure. The message of the song is to cry out to God, who is the “Father to the fatherless.” Melodee sings “Face Down,” a worship song penned by Hector Cervantes. “Wedding Day” is about the Second Coming and anticipates the thrill of reveling in the presence of God as the Bride of Christ.
Come to the Well is the best album by Casting Crowns since Lifesong. Opening tracks “Courageous,” “City On The Hill” and “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” are catchy songs with pointed messages for the church. “Spirit Wind,” “Just Another Birthday,” “Wedding Day” and “Face Down” are all poignant and moving songs. “The Well” is my favorite song by this band since “Who Am I” and sums up our walks as Christians, “the world will try, but it can never fill, so leave it all behind and come to the well.”