Release Date: July 23rd 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Oh The Wonder (feat. Mike Grayson)
- Everything Changes (feat. Cheryl Stark)
- No One (feat. Setnick Sene)
- Never Going Back (feat. Mary Beth Sudduth)
- Better (feat. Mike Grayson & Kiley Dean)
- Just That Good (feat. Heath Balltzglier)
- We’re Ready (feat. Cheryl Stark)
What do you reckon Brian Johnson, co-writer of the smash hit single “Living Hope”, and one of the main worship leaders at Bethel Music, would be prouder of? Seeing his song covered by Phil Wickham (who also wrote the song) on Phil’s album of the same name (released in 2018)- and seeing that song take off in such a big way that way; or seeing “Living Hope” be the first single of independent worship movement Cross Point Music– who in my opinion I believe have covered the song to perfection, and probably better than Phil’s version (shocking, but I reckon it’s true!)? I guess Brian would be equally as pleased and chuffed, but we’re not here to explore Phil’s album- my brother did that a few years ago (as well as this year’s Hymn Of Heaven)! Instead, let me gloss over Cross Point Music’s label-debut EP Never Going Back, which released a few months ago via Centricity Music.
I’ve reviewed the band’s independent EP here, although let me just mention that though musically similar to many other popular worship acts right now such as Passion or North Point InsideOut; Cross Point Music’s passion for Jesus is so overflowing, that it’s hard not to love these 7 heartfelt and honest worship melodies. Some of my favourite tracks of 2021; this EP is sure to leave you all wanting more; and is perfect for those who want more worship along the lines of Passion, Hillsong and Jesus Culture. There’s not that much I know about the group prior to me listening to this EP. In fact, the only reason why I listened to Cross Point Music in the first place a couple of years ago, is the fact that the group covered “Living Hope”, and the fact that Mike Grayson, formerly from Mikeschair and now one half of Grayson Reed with his wife Molly, leads the track “Right Now”. Apart from that I knew nothing, but that lack of knowledge I reckon was freeing and good, as I didn’t have any preconceptions, and could review objectively. As far as the songs go, they’re excellent for an debut release, and their passion is well worth the listen- so let’s quickly dive in, shall we?
“Oh The Wonder”, the EP opener, is led my former Mikeschair lead singer Mike Grayson, and is essentially a testimony-type melody that declares the power of Jesus’ name and the unending love He has for us. Mike has never sounded better vocally, and I don’t really know why Mikeschair split up; however this melody is as passionate, comforting, inspiring and hopeful as any worship anthem I’ve heard this year. And as Mike ardently relays to our Father ‘…oh the wonder, awesome wonder, praise the One who took these chains from me, You bought my freedom, thank You, Jesus, oh the wonder of Your love for me…’, we are met with a moment of unbridled praise and worship to our Father and Saviour; and no doubt this anthem will be sung in churches everywhere on Sunday mornings in the near future. “Everything Changes”, a Hillsong Worship or Planetshakers-esque worship melody, follows, and is led by Cheryl Stark, whereby she prayerfully relays to us all that the moment we sing praises to God and the moment we commune in His presence; that’s the moment that everything changes.
The rest of the EP, though not as hard-hitting nor inspiring than the two openers, still provide us with poignant and honest moments of praise to our Father and our Friend, our Healer and Protector. “No One”, lead by Setnick Sene, is a beautifully sung mid-tempo worship ballad that speaks of God’s holiness and sovereignty, as we authoritatively proclaim that ‘…Your power, Your glory, unrivaled, unending, Holy, Holy, Lord Almighty, there is no one, no one like You, hallelujah, praise forever, there is no one, no one like You, God…’; while the title track, led by Mary Beth Sudduth, unfortunately is a mesh of repetitive cliches and a vague testimony type melody that sings about another testimony-like track that pales in comparison to the opener. Still, it’s nice that these guys are so passionate about their faith, but it’s frustrating to see such a mediocre song after an epically awesome one. Thankfully, “Better”, led by Mike Grayson & Kiley Dean, has the group going back to their winning ways, as the laid back, reflective and acoustic guitar led melody, speaks about the overwhelming and unending love of Jesus that is better than anything else in this life, and is a personal highlight on a release that is full of biblical truth, life and love for Jesus Christ!
One of the livelier tracks on Never Going Back EP, is the Heath Balltzglier led acoustic guitar pop tune “Just That Good”. Complete with vibrant hand-claps, Heath earnestly and fervently sings out the eternal truth that Jesus is good, and that He is good to us, even if in the moment we can’t see it. Cross Point Music’s debut label project then ends with “We’re Ready”, again led by Cheryl, and one of my favourite songs of 2021. With Cheryl emotionally and ardently singing to Jesus, asking Him to lead us into His promised land, declaring ‘…we’re ready, ready for the change, we’re ready, come and have Your way, we’re hungry for Your healing, we want to see Your kingdom here…’; we are invited to partake in a communion with our Father and Provider and Protector. There really isn’t anything we need to say more about this song, so why don’t we sing out and praise Him for who He is and for all that He’s doing in our lives?
There’s nothing much more that I need to say about Cross Point Music…except that their music about the cross and the resurrection is on point (sorry for the pun!)- and that you guys need to check out this release. 7 songs is enough to whet our appetite, yet also enough for us to want more and to want a full length release sometime in the future. These guys will go far- and they have Brian Johnson and Phil Wickham to thank for that! So what are you waiting for? Check out Cross Point Music and be amazed at God moving and working in extremely big ways!
3 songs to listen to: Oh The Wonder, no One, We’re Ready
RIYL: Hillsong Worship, Meredith Andrews, Chris Tomlin, Phil Wickham, Pat Barrett