Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Yup, they've done it again. Hillsong United has released yet another album, and once again, they've amazed me. On my Justin Bieber post, I commented on how Christian musical artists amaze me. This isn't to knock "non-Christian" music at all, as quite simply I just don't listen to much of it. I'm in awe that Christian artists like the Hillsong crew can continually pump out songs whose lyrics largely focus on the same subject -- God, Jesus -- and yet every song sounds equally amazing. And Hillsong has been doing it for many, many years now.
HU's latest album, Aftermath, is incredible. It features the return of Marty Sampson, who'd been absent from the team's albums the past several years. Here are my quick thoughts on some of the album's thirteen tracks:
- "Take Heart" - Sung by Joel Houston. The first song on the album is easily one of my favorites. I'll let the rolling bridge that intensifies with each successive listing speak for itself: All our troubles, all our tears, God our Hope -- He has overcome. All our failures, all our fear, God our Love -- He has overcome. All our heartache, all our pain, God our Healer -- He has overcome. All our burdens, all our shame, God our Freedom -- He has overcome. All our troubles, all our tears, God our Hope -- He has overcome. All our failures, all our fear, God our Love -- He has overcome. God our Justice, God our Grace, God our Freedom -- He has overcome. God our Refuge, God our Strength, God is with us -- He has overcome.
- "Like an Avalanche" - Sung by Jill McCloghry. McCloghry provides the lone female vocal for the album in the absence of Brooke Fraser Ligertwood. Much of the beauty from Hillsong's music stems from the unique, imagination-defying ways to describe the glory of God. For example, associating the lavishness of God's grace with an overwhelming avalanche of snow? Try and picture yourself standing at the bottom of that mountain and let that metaphor somehow sink in.
- "Aftermath" - Sung by Marty Sampson, and the title track for the album. Slow-winding and framed by bellowing drumbeats, this song hauntingly captures that glorious moment when a seemingly defeated Christ rose again and saved us all -- indeed, continues to save us, even when we think we're beyond saving. Unspeakably beautiful.
- "Bones" - Sung by Jill McCloghry. Carrying over from "Aftermath," this song relishes in Christ's replenishing the "dry bones" of our broken lives. Once again, McCloghry provides a strong female vocal for the album.
- "Father" - Sung by Joel Houston. One of my favorites on the album, largely for the bridge in which Houston incorporates some lines he spoke during Hillsong's 2009 film, The I Heart Revolution: We're All In This Together. Check out the scene if you've never watched it, as it includes my favorite Hillsong song. From the famous to the faceless, from the beggar to the king...
- "Light Will Shine" - Sung by Jonathon Douglass. I can totally see/hear this anthem making it into worship lineups around the world. One word: whoa-oa-oa. Oh wait, two: You-ou-ours.
- "Search My Heart" - Sung by Matt Crocker. Crocker's long been my favorite Hillsong voice, so I'm naturally inclined to love his songs more than others. In fact, if I had to pick just one song off this album to listen to over and over, I'd surely go with this one. May its words be the cry of my heart as I start and end and live each day. The song's closing, echoing line resonates in the subsequent silence -- Search my heart and search my soul.
- "Awakening" - Sung by Jad Gillies. Originally penned by Chris Tomlin and the U.S. Passion team, "Awakening" here gets covered by Hillsong. I always love it when artists cover songs, especially within the Christian realm. For me it just emphasizes the connectivity of the Church, that we as Christians can all sing these songs together as one, from Australia to America and everywhere outside and in between.. May a great "awakening" stir the world over. The repeating, echoing, Awake my soul toward the end of Hillsong's version gives me chills.
Also on the album are the following songs: "Go" (Crocker), "Rhythms of Grace" (Dave Ware), "B.E." (an instrumental track), "Nova" (Crocker) and the radio version of "Search My Heart" (Sampson). What astounds me about the Hillsong United team is that even in the absence of the phenomenal Brooke Ligertwood, there always seems to be a plethora of talented singers, lifting their voices not to another but to God Almighty.
All in all, another fantastic album for Hillsong United. As usual.
Have you seen or will you soon see Hillsong United on their current Aftermath tour? If you've already bought/listened to the album, which is your favorite song and why? What's your favorite Hillsong song in general? Once again, here's mine: