Music review by Luchae Williams
American Christian singer and songwriter, Cory Asbury, released his second solo studio album in January 2018. Titled Reckless Love, the album is the worship leader’s first full-length release with new label, Bethel Music.
The critically-acclaimed title song was released by Bethel Music in October 2017, quickly growing in popularity. The track was already a top-selling Christian song on iTunes, prior to the album’s release date, and has been featured on set lists and in churches around the world, including Darlene Zschech’s HopeUC church.
The song also struck a chord with famous Christian crooner, Michael W Smith, who has recorded it for his forthcoming live worship album. Reckless Love debuted at No 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart in the United States, marking the singer’s first appearance on the highly sought-after chart.
The track, Reckless Love, is everything you would expect to find in a popular worship song: poetic, emotive lyric that transports the listener to a place of reverance and worship, and a catchy melody line and hook that will stick with you.
Reminiscent of Chris Tomlin’s Good Good Father, the song paints a picture of a father yearning after his children. Some may not agree with the use of the word “reckless” in the song, but Asbury explains: “When I use the phrase, ‘the reckless love of God’, I’m not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being. His love isn’t crafty or slick. It’s not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it’s quite childlike, and might I even suggest, sometimes downright ridiculous.
”His love bankrupted heaven for you. His love doesn’t consider Himself first. His love isn’t selfish or self-serving. He doesn’t wonder what He’ll gain or lose by putting Himself out there. He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return.”
From boyhood to manhood
Asbury describes the album as one that documents his journey from boyhood to manhood to child of God. Sharing on the Bethel Music Instagram page, he says: “On the journey from boyhood to manhood there were a million cracks in the road. But somehow the grace of God swooped in with wings otherworldly and carried me safely over each one. And finally, those mighty wings set me down in a broad place. Now I’m a father to my own little boy. And somehow, in so becoming, I’m a little child again. Fully free and fully alive in my Father’s eyes. The brokenness didn’t break me.
“No, we rewrote the story in crimson ink. And I dance again like a little boy. Nothing between us. Innocent and free just like You always wanted. And I realize I’ve always been the dream of Your heart. A son.”
The opening song is preceded by the soulful Water and Dust, complete with an acoustic flavour and almost ethereal effects. This song showcases the singer’s smooth vocal perfectly, as he sings “Gently Your voice like a calming embrace calls me from out of the noise/You whisper to me, ‘Child, forget not your dreams’ as we lie awake in the dark/just don’t lose heart.”
Most of the songs on the album carry the same sentiment. They are both gentle and powerful, creating a moment of intimacy for the listener to reflect on the beauty and majesty of God. You’ll find this on songs such as You Won’t Let Go and Endless Love.
Passion song, Death Where Is Your Sting, has a powerful Easter theme, speaking about the work of Christ on the cross. My favorite part is the bridge, where Asbury’s resounding vocal declares: “No weapon formed against us will prosper/The gates of hell won’t stand/Your Church will rise from glory to glory/in the name of Jesus!”
The more upbeat songs on the album include the acoustic driven Garments and the catchy Only Takes a Moment — a mid tempo praise song with a soulful edge.
Album closer, Endless Alleluia, does such a great job at beautifully completing the journey. The song features Asbury’s soulfully sweet vocal and a breathtakingly beautiful soundtrack complete with strings and just the right amount of effects. The song’s chorus says: “Let our voices rise/All creation cries/Singing out an endless alleluia/From this moment on/Join with Heaven’s song/Singing out an endless alleluia!
Cory Asbury fans will be pleased with such a phenomenal offering. Asbury literally wears his heart on his sleeve on this beautifully-penned album, with songs that point the listener back to God. If you’re not familiar with Asbury, his worship or his musicianship, give this one a go, you will not regret it.