Casting Crowns (album)

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Casting Crowns
On a tan, scratched screen, a single crown lies embedded in the ground. Above it are the words 'Casting Crowns', with the lowercase 't' replaced with a Christian cross.
Studio album by Casting Crowns
Released October 7, 2003 (2003-10-07)
Recorded Various locations in the United States
Genre Christian rock, pop rock
Length 43:35
Label Beach Street
Producer Mark A. Miller, Steven Curtis Chapman
Casting Crowns chronology
Casting Crowns
(2003)
Lifesong
(2005)
Singles from Casting Crowns
  1. "If We Are the Body"
    Released: July 26, 2003[1]
  2. "Who Am I"
    Released: February 22, 2004[2]
  3. "Voice of Truth"
    Released: September 18, 2004[3]

Casting Crowns is the first studio album by American Christian rock band Casting Crowns. Produced by Mark A. Miller and Steven Curtis Chapman, the album was released on October 30, 2003 through Beach Street Records. It incorporates a pop rock and rock sound, with the main instruments used in the album being guitar, keyboard, and violin. Casting Crowns received positive reviews from music critics, many of whom praised the album's lyrics and production quality. It was nominated for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year at the 35th GMA Dove Awards, while its singles were nominated for and received various awards.

Preceded by lead single "If We Are the Body", which peaked at number one on the Radio & Records Christian AC and Christian CHR charts, Casting Crowns debuted at number 198 on the Billboard 200. The album eventually peaked at number 59 on that chart, also peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and at number 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. Two other singles, "Who Am I" and "Voice of Truth", also went to number 1. The album ranked as one of the best-selling Christian albums of 2004 and 2005 in the United States and was the 11th best-selling Christian album of the 2000s in the United States. Casting Crowns' has sold more than 1.9 million copies since its release and has been certified 2× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), one of 8 Christian albums to reach that milestone.

Background and recording[edit]

Casting Crowns was formed in 1999 by Mark Hall (lead vocals), Hector Cervantes (guitar, vocals), Juan DeVevo (guitar, vocals), and Melodee DeVevo (violin, vocals) as a student worship band. The band is originally from Daytona Beach, Florida but relocated to Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Georgia in 2001, where they recruited Megan Garrett (piano/vocals), Andy Williams (drums), and Chris Huffman (bass guitar) as members.[4][5] One of their independent records was discovered by Mark A. Miller, the lead vocalist for country band Sawyer Brown.[6] Although Casting Crowns had not released their independent records with intentions of receiving a record deal, Miller offered the band the opportunity to become the first artists signed to his record label.[6] The band agreed to join and signed with the as-yet-unnamed record label, an imprint of Provident Label Group, and began work on their debut album.[7] As a group, Casting Crowns was unusual in several ways, such as having seven members, never having toured before, and their producer (Miller) having no history in the Christian music industry. However, Christian singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman was brought in to co-produce the album with Miller, giving the project a greater amount of support in the Christian music industry.[4] Terry Hemmings, Provident Label Group CEO/President and a personal friend of Miller, openly predicted success for Casting Crowns and made them one of his top priorities at the label.[4][7] While most artists in a similar situation would have received nine months for artist development, Hemmings gave the band four months and sped up the album's release.[4] Casting Crowns was recorded at Glow in the Dark Studio in Decatur, Georgia and Zoo Studio in Franklin, Tennessee. The album was engineered by Matt Goldman and Sam Hewitt.[8]

Release and promotion[edit]

A singer, clothed in a shirt and a dark jacket, is holding a microphone and singing
Mark Hall, Casting Crowns' lead singer, wrote or co-wrote all but one of the album's tracks.

To promote the album prior to its release, lead single "If We Are the Body"[6][7] was released to Christian AC and Christian CHR radio on July 26, 2003.[1][9] The single was a significant hit at Christian radio stations,[10] peaking at number 1 on the Radio & Records Christian AC and Christian CHR charts[11] and at number 3 on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs and Hot Christian AC charts.[12][13] Casting Crowns was released on October 7, 2003[8] and debuted at number 198 on the Billboard 200 selling 6,000 units;[14] it also debuted at number 11 on the Christian Albums chart[15] and number 9 on the Heatseekers Albums chart.[16] By March 2004, the album had sold 168,000 copies in the United States, in large part due to the success of "If We Are the Body".[10] For the chart week of March 6, 2004, Casting Crowns reached its peak position of number 2 on the Christian Albums chart. The following week, the album reached the number 1 position on the Heatseekers Albums chart. "Who Am I", the album's 2nd single,[17] was released on February 22, 2004 to Christian AC, Christian CHR, and Soft AC/Inspirational radio.[2][18][19] The song topped the Radio & Records Christian AC, Christian CHR, and Soft AC/Inspirational charts[20] as well as the Billboard Hot Christian Songs and Hot Christian AC charts.[12][13] In May 2004 the album reached its peak position of number 59 on the Billboard 200.[21] "American Dream" was serviced to Christian Rock radio on June 24, 2004[22] while "Voice of Truth", the album's 3rd single,[23] was released to Christian AC, Christian CHR, and Soft AC/Inspirational radio on September 18, 2004.[3][24][25] "Voice of Truth" peaked atop the Radio & Records Christian AC and Soft AC/Inspirational charts[26] as well as the Billboard Hot Christian Songs and Hot Christian AC charts.[12][13]

By the end of 2004, Casting Crowns had sold over 710,000 copies.[27] It ranked as the 2nd best-selling Christian album[28] and the 126th best-selling album of 2004 in the United States.[29] Casting Crowns ranked as the 5th best-selling Christian album[30] and the 179th best-selling album of 2005 in the United States.[31] By September 10, 2005 the album had sold over 1 million copies.[4] Casting Crowns received re-releases in 2006 and 2007, both of them featuring bonus DVD content.[32][33] After first charting on the Billboard Catalog Albums chart in 2005[34] the album reached a peak position of number 7 on the chart for the chart week of September 5, 2009.[35] The album ranked as the 11th best-selling Christian album of the 2000s decade[36] and had sold around 1.7 million copies in the United States by December 5, 2009.[37] The album received a 2× Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2012,[38] signifying shipments of over 2,000,000 units.[39] It is one of only 8 Christian albums to reach that certification.[40] As of March 2014, the album has sold more than 1.9 million copies.[41]

Musical style[edit]

Casting Crowns is noted as having a Christian rock,[8] pop rock[32][42][43] and rock[32][33][44] sound. Some critics noted that the album sounds somewhat similar to the work of Chapman.[42][43][45] The album's main instrumentation consists of guitar, keyboard, and violin.[42] The album's lyrics, which have been described by music critics as "bold"[46] and "straightforward",[43] take an approach which was described by Russ Breimeier of Christianity Today as "no-nonsense... tell[ing] it like it is, simply and with conviction".[43]

"If We Are the Body", the album's 1st single, demonstrates an acoustic rock sound and utilizes the mandolin and accordion in its arrangement.

"Who Am I", the 2nd single from the album, is a ballad with an adult contemporary and pop rock sound.

"American Dream", which "exhorts listeners not to neglect their families in pursuit of wealth and careers", incorporates a rock and arena rock sound.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Album opener "What If His People Prayed", described as a pop song[43] challenges the listener; the couplet "What if the church, for heaven's sake/Finally stepped up to the plate/Took a stand upon God's promise/And stormed hell's rusty gates?" has been cited as an example.[46] "If We Are the Body", an acoustic rock song,[47] features the mandolin, violin, and accordion in its arrangement.[44] Inspired by a verse in the second chapter of James where the writer "admonishes the church for giving preferential treatment to any one particular group over another",[48] the song questions why the church does not minister impartially to everyone. The song's chorus, which references the Christian concept of the body of Christ, asks "If we are the body/why aren't his arms reaching?/Why aren't his hands healing?/Why aren't his words teaching?/And if we are the body/Why aren't his feet going?/Why is his love not showing them there is a way?"[48]

"Voice of Truth" was written around Hall's struggles with dyslexia and learning issues as a child.[49] Co-written by Chapman, the track is a pop rock[47] ballad,[43] encouraging listeners to tackle their personal fears and replace them with faith.[43][46] The song "Who Am I" has been described as a pop rock,[47] adult contemporary[43] and pop country song.[50] The ballad incorporates orchestral sounds[42] and lyrically explains emptiness without Christ.[43][46]

"American Dream", considered a rock anthem, features an arena rock sound.[47] Cited as an example of Hall's "in-your-face" approach to songwriting by Breimeier,[43] the track challenges the fixation of society with wealth, even at the cost of personal relationships.[4] It encourages listeners to not neglect their families in pursuit of their careers[46] and challenges fathers to spend a greater amount of their time with their families.[43]

"Here I Go Again" relates the story of a Christian, who instead of "sharing the gospel" with a friend, engages in "mindless conversation".[4] The song encourages listeners to overcome their fear of spreading the gospel in the chorus.[43][46] The album's final 4 songs are all worship songs,[46] with folk instruments incorporated in several of them.[43] "Praise You with the Dance", sung by the female members of the band,[42][43] has been described as a country rock song.[43] The song also incorporates a violin solo of "Lord of the Dance".[43] "Glory", described as a worship song, has been noted as displaying the "distinctive production touch" of Chapman.[44] The album closes with a cover of Darrell Evans' song "Your Love Is Extravagant"; it features harmony vocals from the band.[43]

Critical reception and accolades[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[51]
CCM Magazine B[42]
Christian Broadcasting Network 4/5 stars[46]
Christianity Today 3.5/5 stars[43]
Cross Rhythms 10/10 squares[44]

Casting Crowns received positive reviews from music critics. Particular praise was given to the album's lyrical content[43][44][46] and production quality.[43][44] Ashleigh Kittle of Allmusic gave it 3 out of 5 stars, comparing the album's overall sound to that of Chapman, Caedmon's Call, and Phillips, Craig & Dean.[51] Andy Argyrakis of CCM Magazine gave the album a B grade, praising the album as a "promising freshman effort" but critiquing its "tendency to occasionally reflect its primary muse a bit too liberally".[42] Belinda S. Ayers of Christian Broadcasting Network praised the album's lyrics and sound.[46] Steve Best of Cross Rhythms gave Casting Crowns ten out of ten squares, saying, "The passion of lead vocalist and youth pastor Hall jumps out of each set of lyrics, while Chapman's distinctive production touch...makes this a must listen album".[44] While praising the album's overall production and lyrical content, Breimeier said the album "too readily recalls the work of its producers, leaving us to wonder how much of it is really Casting Crowns" – he gave the album 3.5 out of 5 stars.[43] The album received positive reviews from Brian Mansfield of USA Today, Robin Parrish of CMCentral.com, and Michael Herman of Christianity Today.[52]

Casting Crowns was nominated for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year at the 35th GMA Dove Awards. "If We Are the Body" was nominated for the Song of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year at the same event.[53] At the 36th GMA Dove Awards, "American Dream" was nominated for Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year[54] and "Who Am I" was nominated for Worship Song of the Year.[54] "Who Am I" won the awards for Song of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year while "Voice of Truth" won the award for Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year.[55] "Voice of Truth" was nominated for Song of the Year at the 37th GMA Dove Awards.[56]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Hall except where noted, and all music is composed by Casting Crowns.[51]

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "What If His People Prayed"     3:28
2. "If We Are the Body"     3:58
3. "Voice of Truth"   Hall, Chapman 5:25
4. "Who Am I"     5:35
5. "American Dream"     4:11
6. "Here I Go Again"     4:45
7. "Praise You with the Dance"     3:56
8. "Glory"   Cervantes, Hall 5:06
9. "Life of Praise"     3:19
10. "Your Love Is Extravagant"   Evans 3:52
Total length:
43:35

Personnel[edit]

Credits taken from Allmusic[57]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Album charts[edit]

Weekly album charts
Charts (2004) Peak
position
Billboard 200[21] 59
Billboard Christian Albums[21] 2
Billboard Heatseekers Albums[21] 1
Decade-end album charts
Charts (2000s) Position
Billboard Christian Albums[36] 11

Single charts[edit]

Year Song Peak chart positions
US Christ
[12]
Christ AC
[13]
Christ CHR
[58]
2003 "If We Are the Body" 3 3 1
2004 "Who Am I" 1 1 1
"Voice of Truth" 1 1 4

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Units shipped
United States 2× Platinum[38] 2,000,000[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Going for Adds – Christian AC". Radio & Records. July 26, 2003. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Going for Adds – Christian AC". Radio & Records. February 22, 2004. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Going for Adds – Christian AC". Radio & Records. September 18, 2004. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Price, Deborah Evans (September 10, 2005). "Breaking the Mold". Billboard 117 (37): 28–29. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ Leggett, Steve. "Casting Crowns – Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Herman, Michael. "Overnight Sensation". Christianity Today. Thefish.com. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Price, Deborah Evans (July 19, 2003). "Miller Starts Christian Label". Billboard 115 (29): 6. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c "Casting Crowns CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Going for Adds – Christian CHR". Radio & Records. July 26, 2003. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Price, Deborah Evans (March 6, 2004). "Indie Beach Street Records Lands a Hit With Casting Crowns". Billboard 116 (10): 18. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Casting Crowns Remain #1 At Christian Hit Radio For Third Week". Reunion Records. December 11, 2003. Archived from the original on February 10, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Casting Crowns Albums & Song Chart History - Christian Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d Chart peaks for each single:
  14. ^ Whitmire, Margo (September 7, 2005). "West Registers No. 1 Album Debut". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Christian Albums (October 18, 2003)". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Heatseekers Albums (October 18, 2003)". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Casting Crowns Sets Record By Claiming No. 1 Position On Multiple Radio Formats". Reunion Records. May 26, 2004. Archived from the original on June 6, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Going for Adds – Christian CHR". Radio & Records. February 22, 2004. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Going for Adds – Soft AC/Inspirational". Radio & Records. February 22, 2004. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  20. ^ Peterson, Kevin. "Radio & Records Christian". Radio & Records. Archived from the original on June 13, 2004. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c d "Casting Crowns - Casting Crowns". Billboard. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Going for Adds – Christian Rock". Radio & Records. June 26, 2004. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  23. ^ ""Voice of Truth" Becomes Casting Crowns' Third Consecutive #1 Radio Single". Reunion Records. November 18, 2004. Archived from the original on December 10, 2004. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Going for Adds – Christian CHR". Radio & Records. September 18, 2004. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Going for Adds – Soft AC/Inspirational". Radio & Records. September 18, 2004. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  26. ^ Peterson, Kevin. "Christian". Radio & Records. Archived from the original on January 9, 2005. 
  27. ^ Price, Deborah Evans (December 24, 2004). "New Avenues Open for Christian, Gospel". Billboard 116 (52): 24. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Year-end Christian Albums (2004)". Billboard. December 25, 2004. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Year-end Billboard 200 (2004)". Billboard. December 25, 2004. Retrieved June 11, 2004. 
  30. ^ "Year-end Christian Albums (2005)". Billboard. November 26, 2005. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Year-end Billboard 200 (2005)". Billboard. November 26, 2005. Retrieved June 11, 2004. 
  32. ^ a b c Cummings, Tony (January 17, 2006). "Casting Crowns - Casting Crowns - DualDisc". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  33. ^ a b Longville, Anthony (June 11, 2007). "Casting Crowns (Gift Edition) - Casting Crowns". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Catalog Albums (October 15, 2005)". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Catalog Albums (September 5, 2009)". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  36. ^ a b "Decade-end Christian Albums (2000s)". Billboard. 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  37. ^ Price, Deborah Evans (December 5, 2009). "Crowning Achievement". Billboard 121 (48): 24. 
  38. ^ a b "Gold and Platinum Database". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved June 11, 2012.  Note: User must input the artist name to attain the cited data.
  39. ^ a b "RIAA - Certification Criteria". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Casting Crowns claims first double platinum album with debut". Jesus Freak Hideout. August 30, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  41. ^ Price, Deborah Evans (March 3, 2014). "Casting Crowns Rock Live at Billboard, 'Thrive' as Christian Music's Biggest Band: Video". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  42. ^ a b c d e f g Argyrankis, Andy (December 2003). "In Review: Music". CCM Magazine (Salem Publishing) 26 (6): 64. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Breimeier, Russ (September 2003). "Casting Crowns". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on March 12, 2009. 
  44. ^ a b c d e f g "Casting Crowns - Casting Crowns". Cross Rhythms. January 1, 2004. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  45. ^ Breimeier, Russ. "Lifesong, Christian Music Reviews". Christianity Today. Thefish.com. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  46. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ayers, Belinda S. "Music Review: Casting Crowns". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  47. ^ a b c d Farias, Andree. "The Altar and the Door, Christian Music Review". Christianity Today. Thefish.com. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  48. ^ a b MacIntosh, Dan (July 2004). "Storytellers". CCM Magazine (Salem Publishing) 27 (1). Retrieved July 15, 2012. 
  49. ^ Connor, Lizza; Jenison, David (December 2003). "Straight to the Top". CCM Magazine (Salem Publishing) 26 (6): 22. Retrieved July 15, 2012. 
  50. ^ DiBiase, John (October 4, 2004). "various artists, 'Wow Hits 2005' Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  51. ^ a b c Kittle, Ashleigh. "Casting Crowns - Casting Crowns". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  52. ^ "Making the Grade". CCM Magazine (Salem Publishing) 26 (6): 66. December 2003. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  53. ^ "Nominees for the GMA's 35th Annual Music Awards". Gospel Music Association. Archived from the original on June 26, 2004. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  54. ^ a b "Nominees for the 36th Annual GMA Music Awards". Gospel Music Association. Archived from the original on March 22, 2005. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  55. ^ Camacho, Justin. "36th Annual GMA Dove Awards Wrap-Up". The Christian Post. Retrieved November 29, 2012. 
  56. ^ "Nominees for the 37th Annual GMA Music Awards". Gospel Music Association. Archived from the original on March 17, 2006. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  57. ^ "Casting Crowns – Casting Crowns (Credits)". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  58. ^ Chart peaks for each single:
Preceded by
Finger Eleven by Finger Eleven
Billboard Heatseekers Albums number-one album
March 13, 2004 – March 20, 2004
Succeeded by
Finger Eleven by Finger Eleven