Review Rating: 3.75/5.0
Casting Crowns presents their latest offering, Healer, on January 1 . Writing songs as proclamations of faith is the cornerstone of Casting Crowns, and this new album is no different. When the world shut down for the pandemic, frontman and songwriter Mark Hall was faced with the same circumstances as the rest of the world, and he knew he needed to write for the moment. Hall stayed true to his signature straightforward words and wrote from the heart. Led by singles “The Power Of The Cross”, “Scars In Heaven”, and the title track, Healer drops at a perfect time when the effects of the pandemic have continually disrupted the world.
I could easily identify that the album is for any person who has found themselves dealing with the hardships of life. The collection’s opener, “Desert Road”, offers riveting lyrics that echo that sentiment from its beginning. Backed by a beautiful choir, offering a gospel flair to the track, Mark Hall sets the album’s trajectory with a declaration of faithfulness to Christ through the difficulties of life.
“Scars In Heaven” is the album’s strongest and most compelling track for me personally. Though it is a song of grief, it still is full of hope. I could feel my eyes begin to water as I listened to the lyrics. Particularly the words “There’s not a day goes by that I don’t see you. You live on in all the better parts of me. Until I’m standing with you in the sun, I’ll fight this fight and this race I’ll run. Until I finally see what you can see” struck a chord for this listener. For years, I have felt a calling for more songs about grief and consolation in CCM. In my own life, there have been moments where I walked through profound grief over the loss of people dear to my heart, and I desire to listen to reminiscent and healing songs. Casting Crowns grants the listener an invitation and permission to grieve with a Christ-centered hope with this impactful song.
Listening onward, there is an appreciation for the male vocalist’s falsetto on “Anything But Easy” as well as its electric guitar melodic line, particularly in the beginning and the end. Also, “Crazy People” offers an upbeat, fun song amid predominantly solemn work. On a final note, I felt “Second Opinions” was a bit of an atypical addition to the collection that I didn’t see coming. It adds an extra dimension to this scripture-filled collection.
Overall, Casting Crowns does not avoid the reality that the path we often must travel on in this walk of faith comes with heartbreak. They remind the listener that the valley moments are only temporal to the eternal joy set before us in Christ. As “Desert Road” states, “It’s not the path I would have chosen, but I’ll follow you till the end.” Healer is a timely and heartfelt collection that invites God to be just that in our lives.