Cade Thompson – Empty Room

Red Street Records

Release Date: April 14th 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Cade Thompson– Empty Room (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Empty Room
  2. Good God
  3. One Prayer Away
  4. Arms Of Jesus
  5. See You Soon
  6. The One
  7. Mercy
  8. Lost Without You
  9. You Can
  10. Tears
  11. Look Around
  12. Mom Like You

You know how last year we hounded and totally criticised Stars Go Dim’s album Grace In The Wilderness? Well… the time has come again to do a similar hounding. Cade Thompson, a relatively new artist signed to Red Street Records (label home of Avalon, Consumed By Fire and Iveth Luna), has tried his hand at the pop/worship category, with his album Empty Room. And let me tell you this. Though lyrically everything is true here; the delivery feels forced and there is a lot of CCM tropes and clichés here- so much so that it’s painful to listen to.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing Cade’s heart for Jesus. He probably is immensely on fire for Jesus. I’m not doubting that. But when almost every song blurs together and you can hear influences from Jordan Feliz and Jonny Diaz and Mikeschair and Sanctus Real and Matthew West here (and any or all could’ve recorded these songs and I would be none the wiser!); then this is a worry. Have you ever wondered by CCM albums generally aren’t as high on sales compared to mainstream albums? This album is the reason why, and Empty Room isn’t a great advertisement to CCM nor Christianity. Almost everything is tied up in a nice and neat bow, and though these songs are catchy and earnest and semi-powerful; I’ve instantly forgotten them the moment each song is finished.

Maybe I’m oversaturated with CCM. I don’t think I’ve listened to a pure pop CCM album in… maybe since Mike Donehey’s Flourish in 2021? Perhaps Jeremy Camp’s latest album? Is that indicative of the CCM market at large? Maybe. But Cade’s album, though containing biblical truths, is pure lazy songwriting, and my enjoyment for this album is similar to my enjoyment for Jeremy Camp’s When You Speak. Probably the only noteworthy songs here are “See You Soon”, “Tears”, “Mercy” and “Mom Like You”- the former is a track where Cade earnestly and compellingly says his ‘goodbyes’ and ‘see you soon’s’ to a close family member or friend who has passed away, “Tears” encourages us to feel every spectrum of emotion that we are in the midst of experiencing, because God will use everything to help us grow and to further His kingdom, “Mercy” is a powerful worship song that is surprisingly incredibly honest and genuine and inspiring; while “Mom Like You” honours Cade’s mother’s sacrifice as a single parent. But an album isn’t made up of 4 songs, and the rest of the melodies sadly fade into obscurity.

Cade Thompson sadly sounds like any other CCM artist that I have mentioned in this review or any other CCM artist you can think of. Sure, there are a few good songs here; but it’s few and far between and this album flies by without a distinct identity aside from a few tracks. I know that Cade is a good enough songwriter from the glimpses I’ve heard in this album. But Empty Room feels empty and hollow. If you want an album for background music or something that will make you feel good without challenging you and your faith… then I’d say go for this album. But if you’re looking for substance, then try something from Tenth Avenue North. It isn’t known what is next for Cade. But I genuinely hope and pray that it’s better than this.

3 songs to listen to: See You Soon, Tears, Mom Like You

Score: 2/5

RIYL: Jordan Feliz, The Afters, Sanctus Real, Mikeschair, Ben Rector, Above The Golden State, Kutless, Leeland, Stars Go Dim

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