You may recognize Jason Castro from American Idol Season 7, in which he finished fourth place as an expressed favorite of viewers and judge Simon Cowell. He topped the iTunes chart with “Hallelujah” cover (Jeff Buckley version), appeared multiple times on primetime television, and has toured with noteworthy bands ever since. Needless to say, Castro has much experience in music and it shows in his new, third album entitled Only A Mountain.
An autobiography of sorts, Castro takes us through what would seem to be his journal-turned-full-length album. A personal account of his daily life with newlywed wife, Mandy Mayhall, he is transparent about his insecurities and doubts about how to negotiate life. Jason laces each song with his knowledge of and relationship with God, and keeps the record centered on the “Power” that can heal, comfort, and guide.
“Only A Mountain” propels the album into an energetic pop sound with compressed, radio-effected eighth notes on the piano, funk-inspired electric guitar, and the infamous handclaps that make any song instantaneously likeable. Piano and guitar riffs and bellowing choruses that hold the key to successful singles are included in “Starting Line” and “Runaway.” Slowing it down a bit, “Enough” and “Same Kind Of Broken” (featuring Moriah Peters) are more sentimental, breaking up the album’s same-soundy upbeat feel. “Good Love” is a personal favorite, channeling John Mayer with high-pitched syncopated guitar notes, leading to a resounding and catchy chorus.
More: This album is solid from beginning to end. Though slightly predictable and not too thought provoking lyrically, Only A Mountain is enjoyable and well produced; headed up by a talented musician and singer.
Less: What you see is what you get, and a pop album is a pop album. If you’re looking for content with deep theological truths, you won’t find that here.