I have been a big fan of Casting Crowns since their debut album. They are by far my favorite Christian group out there, and at their best Casting Crowns has always been in a whole different league than all the other Contemporary Christian Music out there. "The Altar And The Door" and "Lifesong" have always been my favorite Casting Crowns album...with "Thrive" now ranking right up there. (I can't pick a favorite between the three) "Thrive" is such an incredible surprise, because I really thought Casting Crowns was on the decline. "Until The Whole World Hears" was a great worship album, but "Come To The Well" left me a bit disappointed. "Come To The Well" had some great songs on it, but overall it just didn't measure up to their earlier efforts for me. But Thrive is easily among my favorite Casting Crowns albums.
Thrive - 3.5/5 - Thrive is a great worship song that sounds like something that would have been on "Come To The Well". It isn't bad in the least...it is a well written worship song, but it is one of my least favorite on an amazing album.
All You Ever Wanted - 4.5/5 - The first single off "Thrive", "All You Ever Wanted", is a great song with interesting instrumentation, that brings back the rock edge that was missing on "Come To The Well". This is a well written song about how we try to do things through our human doing that God has already accomplished, that all God wants is our heart. "
Just Be Held - 4.5/5 - A very encouraging power ballad that reminds us through the hard times that "Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place. I'm on the throne, stop holding on, and just be held. If your eyes are on the storm, you'll wonder if I love you still. But if your eyes are on the cross, you'll know I always have and I always will."
You Are The Only One - 3.5/5 - A good worship song, but this is one of my least favorite songs on the album (along with "Thrive").
Broken Together - 5/5 - A hauntingly beautiful ballad that Mark wrote about a marriage that is not the fairytale that had been envisioned. "How I wish we could go back to simpler times, before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light. Now on this hallowed ground, we've drawn the battle lines. Will we make it through the night? Its going to take much more than promises this time. Only God can change our minds. Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete, could we just be broken together? If you can bring your shattered dreams and I'll bring mine, could healing still be spoken and save us? The only way we'll last forever is broken together."
Love You With The Truth - 5/5 - Musically, this is a very interesting song. It has a heavy rock edge (it is easily the heaviest song on the album), and it builds in intensity through the first verse and chorus until getting real heavy in the second verse and chorus. This is an impeccably written song about being afraid to preach the Gospel to a friend that is an unbeliever over the fear that it may ruin the friendship. "How I've prayed for this moment. That you would finally see that God is more than religion, a stained-glass fantasy.
And how I've prayed for the courage, for my silent faith to speak. Or that God would just send you a better friend than me"
This Is Now - 5/5 - This Is Now is another very interesting song musically. It is a power ballad that again has that rock edge that is present on much of this album (and had been largely lacking on their previous album). It also has what is in my opinion the catchiest chorus on the album. This is a song about the Biblical story of Peter. Even after seeing all these miraculous things; a blind man looking his Savior in the eyes...watching a dead man rise to life...then walking on the water toward Jesus, he became frightened by the strong wind. "And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him and said to him, You of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31) Even after witnessing all of these miracles, he doubted the Lord. Likewise in our experience, even after seeing the Lord work many miracles in our own life, all it takes is a gust of wind to cause the doubt to sink in.
Dream For You - 5/5 - Dream For You is an excellent song that uses the Biblical stories of David and Mary to remind us that the plans God has for our lives far surpass our own dreams. Thus, we should let go of our own plans and simply pray to the Lord to guide us towards the perfect plan He has for our life. Just look at the contrast in the song at the dreams David had for his life, and the plans God had for him. "Hey, David, I hear you've been dreaming. About being a big time shepherd some day. You're gonna prove your brothers wrong. You're gonna sing your shepherd song to the cattle on a thousand hills. But I've been thinking, I'm having trouble with a giant down the road. You're the one who's going to face him toe to toe. Wipe that grin right off his face, and whip this army into shape. I'm going to turn the nation back to Me. And David, you're right about one thing. Your little shepherd songs are going to make the whole world sing. And I'm gonna make you king."
Follow Me - 4.5/5 - A very soothing ballad that reminds us that Christ is our everything. Just follow Him. "At the end of myself, I've done things my own way. This world gave up on me, now it's death I do pay. You know who I am, I'm sins sacrifice. Today you will be, in paradise. At the end of yourself, just follow Me.
When you lose everything, just follow Me. I will give you new life, just follow Me."
Heroes - 4/5 - Heroes for me is really a mixed bag. The first verse of the song is a story about a mother whose husband of thirteen years walked out on her leaving her to provide for her family alone. This is not a particularly original story, and the chorus feels unoriginal as well. ("These are the heroes, just ordinary people. Laying down their lives, like angels in disguise.) The second verse, however, is phenomenal. "He walks the halls, against the flow. He sees his high school as his mission field, he's broken cause he knows.
The hopeless road that they are taking, the empty feelings they are chasing; only lead to futures wasted.
So he's willing to stand alone. He lives what he believes when they all say it's not worth believing.
Every night on his knees, he prays God, won't You please help me reach them?" So, for the most part Heroes for me is just an "okay" song. However, the second verse propels Heroes to some extraordinary places in songwriting. I was torn between 3.5 and 4 stars on this one.
House Of Their Dreams - 5/5 - House Of Their Dreams is an amazing ballad about a family that is disconnected from one another, and from the Lord. This family represents many families in America that need this song as a reminder to build their house on the Rock. "Now they're trapped in their own worlds, in their own wars. With their cell phones, and the closed doors. It's funny how quiet and peaceful that it seems. But they're all alone together in the house of their dreams"
Waiting On The Night To Fall - 10/5 - Then we get to Waiting On The Night To Fall, which is probably my favorite song by Casting Crowns (ever). Easily the ultimate high point on an album full of many high points. Musically this is a haunting ballad that grows in intensity throughout the song to an explosive climax. This is an incredible song about how the Devil attacks believers that are lacking in Christ. The Biblical depth of this song is incredible. Every time I listened to it I caught something else I didn't catch the first time. "As the Sun goes down he rises with a smile, he's waiting on the night to fall"...Christ is light, and the Sun going down to me would mean a believer not taking Christ as their everything...making them vulnerable to Satans attacks. "He knows you have the answers, but Truth lies dusty on your shelf. And the sword that you could slay him with, has become an ornament and nothing else." The Truth of course is the Word of God, which for many so called Christians unfortunately lies dusty on their shelf, meaning they aren't taking in the Word of God. For these Christians, they are simply Christians for show. Christ has become nothing more than an ornament.
"He knows he'll never have your soul (proving this song is written about believers, and not the unbelievers), but he will gladly rob you blind. While you're feasting at his table (Satan was made ruler of the world, so to feast at his table to me would mean to become of the world and the Satanic things of the world), he'll tie your hands and numb your mind. He'll take you farther than you want to go. He'll keep you longer than you want to stay. And it will cost you, more than you ever thought you'd pay. He's waiting on the night to fall. The old man is coming to call. But you don't see the writing on the wall. He'll never step out in the light. No, he's just biding time. And while you slumber, he's going to come and take it all. He's waiting on the night to fall."