Release date: April 20, 2018
Rating: 4.5/5

“River,” the lead single tearing up the charts from Church of Scars is now certified gold after being featured on the second season of Scream, and it deserves it. I’m not totally sure how Briggs did it, because this is her first release — period — but I’m glad she did.

Briggs appeared on American Idol last week, and that was the first I’d heard of her, because, in my mind, “River” was a Serena Ryder song. But, after watching her tear up the stage on Idol, I knew she was one to watch.

The way Briggs performs — both onstage and on her recorded album — makes you feel as though you’ve been listening to her for decades. She’s soulful, true, and her songwriting is impeccable; and I’m having trouble understanding that this is her first release. At only 33 minutes, it’s a well-crafted project that feels like a full-length debut. She takes you on a deep musical journey throughout every track and the album as a whole that ensures a complete listening experience.

The 10-tracks flow together so seamlessly that it doesn’t seem like the track order really even matters, and that might be the first time I’ve ever thought that. Normally I reorder tracks on albums like it’s a puzzle, but Church of Scars just is.

Furthermore, Briggs breaks “rules” by naming her album — shocking! — not a song title from the album. A “church of scars” is exactly what this release and Briggs’ voice as a whole encapsulates — her voice is soulful and meaningful, and her album is about pain — and I love that she created a picture for the whole instead of picking a piece that best represents the whole.

I’ve decided to reinstitute my grading scale (but this time with numbers) and Briggs only gets a 4.5 because I can’t imagine that this will be her best effort, even though it’s already leaps and abounds above many other modern musicians. I want to watch her fly.

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