The Young Escape – You Shine (EP)

BEC Recordings

Release Date: July 21st 2023

Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre

The Young Escape– You Shine (EP) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. You Shine
  2. Hero Of My Heart
  3. Worship You There
  4. Turning My Heart
  5. You Shine (Sunset Version)

The Young Escape have had a choppy music career of sorts. Since signing to Capitol CMG in 2017 and releasing their chart-topping radio single “Good Life”, we assumed that there would be a full-length album releasing at some point. Singles like “Neverfade”, “Love Me Like You”, “So Alive”, “Count on Me”, “It’s Gonna Get Better” [not reviewed!], and “Broken Is Beautiful” all followed on from “Good Life”, and while no full-length album surfaced from all these years, the band nevertheless still put on a high-energy show (from all the hand-held camera clips I’ve seen on YouTube), and their music has always had a sense of urgency and purpose. Mckenna, Ryan, Krysten and Luke Johns make up this all-sibling band, and quite possibly one of the most up-and-coming and breakout CCM bands I’ve heard, even though their debut single released 5 years ago. I’m still hoping and praying for a debut full-length album whenever it comes, but as of right now, I need to take what I can get. In 2022, the group released their BEC Recordings debut single “Turning My Heart”, a tribute and homage to CCM music in the same way Lauren Alaina’s “Ladies In The 90’s” was to female 90’s music, and Thomas Rhett’s “What’s Your Country Song” was to country music. Earlier this year, the group dropped their second single from BEC Recordings- a confessional and worshipful piano ballad called “Worship You There”, as well as the worshipful “You Shine”; but now, the band is back with… sort of what listeners were clamouring for. The group recently unveiled their debut EP You Shine– and hopefully a full length debut album will follow.

Comprising of three songs we’ve heard already (“You Shine”, “Turning My Heart” and “Worship You There”), a remix version of “You Shine”, and a brand-new song in “Hero Of My Heart”; this EP itself doesn’t really invent the wheel. There’s other pop/CCM artists out there that are continually putting out great music, artists like Francesca Battistelli, TobyMac, Building 429, Mike Donehey, Natalie Grant, Jordan Feliz, for KING & COUNTRY and MercyMe. While I’d love to place this sibling band in this list, I’d have to say that the band themselves haven’t released enough music material to even have that conversation. The band has always shown glimpses of brilliance with every single release they’ve unveiled, but without a full-length album yet, unfortunately they’ll forever be remembered as ‘the single band’…which at times, I’ve found myself calling them, as well. Not by intention of course. But to be honest, I kinda forgot that The Young Escape were even a band, until their 2021 release of “Count on Me”. Now here we are in 2023, and the Johns siblings are at it again- a new EP with 3 singles we’ve heard, a remix track, and yet another single. While I’m really, really hoping that they would make an album at some point, I’m just happy that they’re still making music.

With the title track speaking volumes about how we should worship God all the time, and that Jesus makes everything brighter and that even in the darkest places, He still shines, and He is still moving; this track is similar in theme Matt Redman’s “Shine”, and The Young Escape provides to us hope, inspiration, poignancy, passion, intent, and an extremely catchy melody. It’s a song full of adoring God and praising Him because of the joy and peace we have in our lives, and giving Him the glory and honour He most thoroughly deserves. “You Shine” might be uncomfortable for some to listen to and digest especially if you have been hurt by the church. But there’s nothing much more that I can say about this track. Except you need to hear these songs now- this song as well as it will challenge you and deepen your faith. “Worship You There” is a ballad that speaks volumes about it’s easy to praise and worship God in the good times; and the song also speaks about giving everything to God and surrendering to Him completely in every season of your life- especially the times when you can’t see or hear or feel Him. It’s a song full of wrestling where the persona asks God the question of where He is, and whether we can truly praise Him at all times; and though the song ‘resolves itself’ at the end of the track (it’s duration of 3 and a half minutes!), it still nevertheless promotes discussion as to why suffering and hard times happen to each one of us, and what we can learn about ourselves, each other and about God from those situations. “Hero Of My Heart” delves deep into acknowledging that Jesus Christ is our hero and Saviour in our lives; while “Turning My Heart” reminds us about how songs can inspire you and how some songs are the soundtrack to people’s journey through life and their journey through faith as well. Similar in theme to “I Need A Miracle” (Third Day), “There’s A Song For Everything” (Maren Morris), “Ladies In The 90’s” (Lauren Alaina) and “What’s Your Country Song” (Thomas Rhett); The Young Escape on this track name drop a lot of CCM songs from the 90’s and the 2000’s (namely, songs from TobyMacSwitchfootMatt RedmanMercyMeMichael W. SmithdcTalk and City On A Hill). For those who didn’t grow up in CCM, this song wouldn’t mean much. but for myself (and presumably others) who literally lived and breathed this type of music, “Turning My Heart” is extremely sentimental and nostalgic. It’s not a superb or lyrically brilliant song by any means. But it does have replay value, as lead singer Mckenna sings about God’s goodness and faithfulness and speaks about the importance of CCM music in her own life- this is essentially a testimony-type track as Mckenna highlights certain songs that helped her to who she is today. And with The Young Escape thus unveiling a track that pays tribute and homage to their past, “Turning My Heart” speaks about how God uses anything- including music from the past- to draw us all closer to him, through the turning of our hearts towards him; little by little and day by day.

Though I probably would have wanted The Young Escape to release a brand new full length album by now; I’ll take what I can get. These are the perfect tracks to get you dancing (with also a positive message!) and think about the deeper things in life; and as such, The Young Escape are a band that I expect to hear more from in the coming months and years. So, what are you waiting for? Check out the band and let me know what you think of this new inspiring EP! Well done McKenna and the rest of the band- maybe a full-length album in the future? Who knows?

SURPRISE! We are so excited to announce our EP “You Shine,” coming THIS FRIDAY, 7.21.23 🤍 What a journey. God has blessed us with so many wonderful people in our lives (including YOU) who have encouraged us through our highs and lows. These songs are an overflow of joy and gratefulness for the goodness of God in every season. It would mean the world to us if you’d take a moment to share this with your friends! 🤍 WE CAN’T WAIT FOR FRIDAY!

3 songs to listen to: You Shine, Worship You There, Turning My Heart

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Britt Nicole, Tenth Avenue North, Hillsong Y&F, for KING & COUNTRY, Riley Clemmons, Cimorelli

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