Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Music Review: Only Jesus by Casting Crowns

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: 12 more outstanding songs
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Twelve Casting Crowns songs
Encouragement and challenge
Once again great disc

Casting Crowns is Back with the Fantastic Only Jesus

I am not tracking Christian music like I used to, and I’m always afraid that a new release by one of the few groups I still love is going to slip by me.  That almost happened with Only Jesus, which Casting Crowns released at the end of November.  Fortunately, I learned about it because now that I have it, I am loving it.

This disc gives us 12 new tracks filled with encouragement and challenge.  The disc opens with “The Bridge.”  No real surprise, it is about the bridge that Jesus created between our sin and the holiness of God.  While it’s not terribly original, the lyrics are still powerful.  “No rescue so relentless/No greater love than this/Where sin leaves a canyon/Your love builds a bridge.”  It’s a nice, mid-tempo track to open the disc.

Matthew West joins the group for the second track, “Nobody.”  I wasn’t surprised to see that he helped write it as well since it feels like one of his soft rock songs.  Not that I’m complaining in the least since I love his music.  The idea is that God choses the nobody’s to accomplish His purposes.  Again, not something new, but I love the way the song reminds us of this truth.  I even laughed at one of the lines when I first heard it, and it still makes me smile.

The title track is an anthem that challenges the world’s idea of leaving a legacy, instead hoping that our lives point to “Only Jesus.”  It is at once convicting and inspiring.

A couple of the tracks are reminders for those who have turned their backs from God that He is still reaching for them, trying to draw them back to Him.  “Even When Your Running” is a great track about God’s presence being where we are no matter what we are doing.  Meanwhile, “Love Moved First” reminds us that God draws us to Him no matter how bad our sin is.

Over the years, Casting Crowns has given us some songs that challenge the complacency we have in much of contemporary American Christian culture, and, as convicting as some of those songs are, they are really good.  We get two of those songs here.  “One Awkward Moment” is the first, and it challenges us to have those awkward conversations with people because their eternal future is on the line.  Then there’s “Start Right Here” that makes us examine whether we are willing to leave the comforts of church to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus.

Those familiar with Casting Crowns’ music won’t be surprised by the style here.  They’ve mastered the modern adult contemporary sound.  Yet the music is the perfect complement to their lyrics each time, and the two combine for songs that minister to me no matter how many times I hear them.  That’s why I keep coming back to their discs year after year, and I’m confidence this disc will be no exception.

Casting Crowns’s many fans will love Only Jesus.  It continues their musical legacy of pointing us to Jesus.

CD Length: 50:27
1. The Bridge
2. Nobody (Featuring Matthew West)
3. Only Jesus
4. In the Hands of the Potter
5. Even When You’re Running
6. One Awkward Moment
7. Awaken Me
8. One More Song for You
9. Start Right Here
10. The Change in Me
11. Love Moved First
12. Home

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