Prime Cuts: Scars in Heaven, 2nd Opinions, Crazy People
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
It has taken nearly taken four years for Casting Crowns to follow up their highly successful Only Jesus with Healer. With only 7 tracks, the album feels like it's almost half done in terms of the quota of songs as well as the song choices. Though there are some stellar selections on this new record, there are also some fillers that ought to be placed on the cutting room floor or at least designated as bonus tracks or B-sides. Healer, written and recorded during the pandemic, as the title indicates deals with various aspects of healing from physical, to emotional to spiritual.
So, let's start with some of the album's better cuts first. "Scars in Heaven," a huge radio hit last year, is a powerful emotional ballad. Watching his parents dying one after another within a short span of time, Mark Hall teams up with Matthew West to write "Scars," a modern-day lament on how transient life is and how painful suffering is. Looking forward to a time when the only scars we see will be the scars on our Savior's hands, heaven has not been more beautifully depicted.
The quirky sounding "2nd Opinions" shows Casting Crowns can tackle a song outside of the pop stable. The banjo driven "2nd Opinions," with lots of wry lines, tackles some of misguided teachings within evangelicalisms such as "God won't give you more than you can handle." Following on the same country-trajectory is "Crazy People," another humorous take of how God often call "crazy people" in the Bible to do "crazy things." Meanwhile, the title cut "Healer" is a call for us to return to the healer: More than the healing, we need the healer/More than comfort, we need the king/More than gifts, we need the giver."
The four abovementioned cuts are the best songs off the record. The remaining tracks are not much to shout about. Worst among them is "The Power of the Cross." Despite being written by members of Passion Music and Hillsong Worship, the song's lyrics are as lazy as the song title. "Desert Road" and "Anything But Easy" are songs that come and go without making much of an impression. And with only 7 song slots, one wish Casting Crowns have gone for stronger contenders.