Capitol Christian Music Group
Release Date: July 9th 2021 / October 29th 2021 / January 21st 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Know You Will
- Sure Thing
- On Repeat
Hillsong UNITED, well actually Hillsong in all of its 3 facets (Worship, UNITED, Young & Free), need no introduction. If you haven’t heard of them, then you better stop reading this right now, and then check out their disography pronto! You can check out their discographies here, here and here– and you can read about all of our posts on Hillsong Worship, UNITED, and Young and Free in the links here, here and here, and when you’ve finished, you can then read my brother Jon’s Momentous Mondays post about all things Hillsong here! Then, and only then, maybe can gain a bit more perspective and knowledge of the worship movement that’s been around for decades!
Whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not, chances are that you would have definitely heard about this previously small Australian church group now turned global megachurch worship movement, spanning 3 incarnations (Worship, UNITED and Young & Free) and counting, plenty of inspiring singles, no 1 top hits on both Christian and mainstream charts and a plethora of studio and live albums. If you don’t know the name of the group, I am sure some songs will be familiar. With the UNITED branch of the worship ministry originating in 1998, we have been blessed to hear so far 11 live albums (inclusive of the recent People) and 5 studio albums (All Of The Above, Aftermath, ZION, Empires and Wonder). With Hillsong being one of the most popular, respected, prolific and inventive worship movements of all time; their music has touched the lives of many locally and globally. Since its inception, this young worship team have carried on the church’s mission and vision to lift the name of Jesus above all others.
In one of my earlier UNITED reviews – this one about “So Will I” and their EP featuring many different versions of that particular track; I mentioned that there was probably no other far reaching song than “Oceans”. I also went on to say that the song was so popular that an EP was recorded in 2013 (and reviewed by Jon as well!)- yet if you revisited UNITED now, you’d have to say that “So Will I” has reached that status of being a ‘cult classic song’ alongside “Oceans”- the track essentially being about how creation worships God in many different ways and in vastly different circumstances, and so we should worship God as well. In May this past year, I also reviewed UNITED’s latest EP Another In The Fire, and we were glimpsed into the next ‘big hit’ from the Aussie movement. “Another In the Fire” wasn’t a single, nor an engaging track when I first listened to People a year and a half ago. In fact, and I quote from my People review verbatim- I mentioned that “Another In The Fire” combines fire imagery with strong biblical truth to create a powerful and hopeful worshipful melody, where we can declare that God is always with us, like how He was in the fire with Shadrach, Meeshach and Abendego, and just like He was in the waters when He helped Moses part the Red Sea. The use of past, present and future tense in all three choruses (there was another in the fire, there is another in the fire, there’ll be another in the fire) reminding us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever; is a nice touch too. Yet I never knew the impact the song has had on us all until I had watched the music video of the track- re-recorded with Taya Gaukrodger’s vocals- and then I just sat there, overwhelmed with emotion and devotion to God. As the result of this re-recorded track was me realising the genius of the original track, and a sublime and transcendent track that altered my perception of trust in God as much as it probably has with ever other person on this planet. See right now we’re all still stuck at home due to COVID-19, that nasty virus that won’t go away. But as the song mentions, there is another beside us and before us and behind us- and that someone is Jesus. We do not know the future not the outcome of this disease. But we know the God who does know everything. We know the God who is outside time. Hence we can trust Him fully and hence we can firmly place out faith in the unknown. “Another In The Fire” may not have been relevant before, but as this EP Another In The Fire has released, it sure is relevant now!
Now that we know that hit songs like “Oceans”, “So Will I” and “Another In The Fire” form the backbone of Hillsong UNITED, their ministry and their vision and mission of what they as a church body and worship movement want to convey to the local body and the wider global church body; I’d say that the time has come for new music, for fresh melodies for us to proclaim, declare over and immerse ourselves in. Particularly since Brian Houston has stepped down from all things Hillsong related; shouldn’t the time be now for us to see what Hillsong UNITED has to offer us, has to give us so that we can hold onto these songs and see God’s faithfulness, love, power and devotion to us all? “Know You Will”, “Sure Thing” and “On Repeat” are the three singles the band has unveiled to us recently, and these melodies are songs that I myself have found to be poignant, moving, and inspiring: with each track thought-provoking, and bringing me closer to God. “Know You Will”, a stirring guitar led ballad, powerfully and compelling declares and proclaims God’s goodness and faithfulness, with Benjamin Hastings leading on vocals. As Benjamin fervently relays that God will always make a way even when we don’t seem to see it, he also sings out that we can trust Him because of all of the good things He has done, that ‘…You pulled my heart from Egypt, You carved a road through sea, from all our chains to endless praise, the story ends in You, and when we cross that Jordan, look back at where we’ve been, from all our chains to endless praise, the story ends in You…’. The group also acknowledge that “Know You Will” is an anthem of hope for uncertain times. Amidst all the madness of a world where it seems like every foundation is being shaken to the core, we’re reminded that the promises of God have always been forged through the tensions of trial and fire; and the resolve to trust Him wholeheartedly, no matter what may give way around and about us. Nothing has ever once surprised Him. God alone is our compass through the chaos and disillusion, and the mettle of our faith in Him exists for days like these. “Sure Thing”, a slower paced nearly 6 minute experimental melody, speaks about being sure in Jesus and confident in the promises that He has made, as ‘…I don’t wanna build this life on Babylons of bricks and pride, sitting on a fault line bound to quake, I’d rather be a bedrock fool who trusts in nothing less than You, when every other sure thing surely fails…’. It’s a song that’s less structured than “Know You Will”, but a melody nonetheless that is no less inspiring, comforting and healing. “On Repeat”, the band’s final ‘new’ single unattached to an album, speaks about praising God constantly and singing about his goodness and faithfulness on a constant basis- on repeat. With the band vibrantly relaying to Jesus that ‘…I’m gonna lay my world down here at Your feet, look to the Heavens for all I need, I’m gonna sing my heart out, praise on repeat, to the God who’s never given up on me…’, we are presented with a no-holds-barred song about unashamedly proclaiming your faith- day upon day upon day, without fail and even if you feel God isn’t there.
It is not known when UNITED will record another studio album but until we are graced with a new album from Taya, Joel, Matt, Jad, JD and others (which could be very soon!), let us jam to “Know You Will”, “Sure Thing” and “On Repeat”, and be ministered by some of the most inspiring worship songs over the past year! Sure, we all may have our issues with Hillsong the church. But their music arm is so, so strong; and we all need to sit up and take notice! Well done to Taya, Jad, Joel, JD and Matt, these three songs are due for many more spins and rotations in my iTunes playlist!
RIYL: Hillsong Worship, Vertical Worship, Hillsong Young & Free, Planetshakers, Jesus Culture, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman