Prime Cuts: Look What You've Done, Like Jericho, River
Overall Grade: 5/5
Church songs are the ultimate songs. While other musical genres will one day dissipate in the sight of our returning King, worship songs will still be sung incessantly all day and night. They are the vocabularies and communicative strategies of the regenerated. For record #3, Cromwell has wisely decided to invest in the eternal, by releasing a 5-song EP of worship songs. They are made for the church to sing, such that when they are sung, they will not only bring us to the throne room of God, they have ways of confronting our own sins with the glory of the Gospel. Granted that there are only 5 songs, they are all top-tiered material: three of them are good and two of them are off the charts sublime.
Cromwell is a worship leader and singer/songwriter based out of Minneapolis. Her first record finds her harkening back to her Southern Gospel roots in working with Grammy winning producer Gordon Mote. In addition, Cromwell has had been a much sought after songwriter with her name popping up as a co-writer of the Taylors' "I Can Feel You Healing Me." With her sophomore record, she dabbles more with CCM with a tingle of Gospel and worship music. Now, with album #3, the third time's really the charmer. Financed by her fans via Kickstarter, Cromwell has released what is her best project to date.
As a song writer, Cromwell excels in working with contrast. "Look What You've Done" begins with a grim picture of death and its apparent triumph, before Cromwell leads us into a drastic turn starting at the chorus by pointing us to the cross work of Jesus. Such a use of stark contrast, presents the Gospel in arresting ways. And when we start to worship Jesus for what he has done, the praise gets even more heightened with gratitude. Other than "Look What You've Done," the other song that ought to receive an A++ grade is "Like Jericho." Cromwell hits the nail right on the head for those (especially men) who feel ashamed to admit their need of Jesus. "Like Jericho" is a heartfelt prayer for God to confront such pride with poignant lines like "there's freedom in surrender."
The remains three tracks are not as powerful but they are still worth listening. Cromwell packs a Kim Walker-Smith punch on the visceral "River." Then she accelerates the pace with the EDM-infused "You're Welcome Here," a great rousing opener to commence a worship set. And she lead us along in worship with the congregational friendly "Let the People Say," which boasts an infectious sing-along chorus.
In the light of the new heaven and earth, church songs will never run out of style. They are made with eternity in their fabric. And when they are this good, it makes eternity even more glorious.