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Come to the Well

October 26, 2011

A while back, I wrote a post recommending a few exceptional upcoming and recently released albums from some of my favorite bands.  Back when I wrote that post, Casting Crown’s latest effort, Come to the Well, wasn’t yet available and I didn’t know enough about it to give a proper review.  I just got my copy this Monday, and after listening to it I knew exactly what today’s post was going to be about.  Ladies and gentlemen, may I recommend to your ears the dulcet sounds of Casting Crowns?  Or, the real question, can I recommend them heartily enough?  Hint: the answer to that one is no.

It’s been a while since Casting Crowns released Until the Whole World Hears, and while they were my very favorite band ever at that time, a combination of my lukewarm feelings toward that album and my introduction to several great bands in a row allowed the likes of Switchfoot, Coldplay, Seabird, and Needtobreathe to dominate the competition for my musical affections.  With the release of Come to the Well, however, Casting Crowns reminds me why I loved them so much in the first place.

Casting Crowns has always had a knack for writing powerfully (and painfully) honest and memorable lyrics which address important issues like the dangers of hypocrisy, the desperate need for men today to be men, the apathy of the Church, and the destructiveness of greed.  The real beauty of these songs, however, is the overtly Christian worldview from which they’re written.  Casting Crowns has mastered the art of writing songs that are both deeply thought-provoking and inherently worshipful.  Most of the time their albums are made up of about half these thoughtful-and-worshipful songs and half generic worship songs, which, to be honest, are often fairly bland.  On Come to the Well, however, the balance falls mainly toward the thoughtful and challenging end of the spectrum, and the group’s genuine love for Christ and concern for his people shines through more brightly than ever as a result.

Take, for example, the first track, “Courageous”, a song pleading with the men of our society to rise up and take a stand for what’s right in a world full of apathy and misconstrued ideas of what it is to be a man.  Or the next song,  “City on the Hill”, a lyrically stunning allegory about the consequences of selfishness and disunity in the Church and the need to stand together if we are to be a light in the darkness.  Then there’s “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”, my new favorite Casting Crowns song, a humbling and masterfully worded plea to God to “open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers” and to love the lost causes and the outcasts as He does.

And that’s just the first three tracks.  The list goes on, with songs about trust and patient love and abandonment and adoption that will challenge you, encourage you, and at times maybe even bring you to tears.  This is absolutely an album worth owning, especially if you get the physical CD, which contains liner notes from Mark Hall for each song about why he wrote them and what they mean to him.  This has truly been an excellent month for getting good music, and Come to the Well is certainly another gem of an album from a stellar band.

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