Prime Cuts: Only Takes a Moment, Garments, Endless Alleluia
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
It's a propitious sign whenever another artist covers your song even before your album is released. Months before Cory Asbury even had his album listed on iTunes, Michael W. Smith has already recorded a live version of Asbury's latest single and title cut of his new album "Reckless Love." (Smith's version will surface on his forthcoming worship live album). Even before Asbury's album's drop date, the single "Reckless Love" is already a top selling Christian song on iTunes, Praisecharts.com and other online sites. Moreover, countless worship leaders (including Darlene Zschech and her HopeUC team) have already included "Reckless Love" as an anthem in their worship song sets. So, the anticipation has been astronomically mounting for the advent of this album.
Asbury, for the uninitiated, is a worship leader from Bethel Church in Redding, California. He is featured on Bethel Music's Have it All album with his song "Son of God", as well numerous IHOP-KC compilation albums. "Reckless Love" is the singer and songwriter's third solo album. His previous solo albums, Holy and Let Me See Your Eyes, which include well-known songs "Where I Belong", "So Good to Me", "Always Faithful" and "Jesus, Let Me See Your Eyes."
"Reckless Love," the single, is also the project's kick-off track. One can understand why the song has garnered such a rapturous response from churches. Like Chris Tomlin's "Good Good Father," "Reckless Love" captures the tender heart of the father in leaving the 99 sheep to find the one lost sheep. However, the adjective "reckless" has a ring of negativity in our everyday English parlance. "Reckless" suggests a devil-may-care precipitous haste which is a far away from the type of love you would want to ascribe to the Father. Though one understands this is not the way Asbury uses the word "reckless," still another word may better serve the song.
Despite such nit-picking, the album abounds with great worship moments. With a booming voice that recalls Todd Agnew or Dustin Smith, Asbury really nails it with the power ballad "Only Takes a Moment" and the dynamic Easter rocker "Death Where is Your Sting." Standing in line to become a future worship staple is "Garments." The use of contrast in the verses between how God sees us and how we often view ourselves is spiritually liberating. "Born Again" and "Endless Alleluia" are gentler moments on the record. Using piercing observations and the quiet build-up of strings and vocals, Asbury shows us that you don't have to be screaming in order to move the heart.
Nevertheless, the album, like many singer-songwriter albums, does suffer from degrees of predictability. It is quite obvious that the same template, starting slow before a booming chorus, is at work in most of the songs. This creates a "sameness" across a cluster of the songs. One would wish Asbury would break away from his (mostly) Bethel song writing buddies and perhaps expand his horizons a little in future endeavors to come.