Hillsong Music Australia
Release Date: October 30th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- For Those Who Are to Come
- New Wine
- Heart of God (feat. Hillsong Y&F)
- I Surrender
- Selah / All My Life
- Take Heart (MMXX)
- Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) / Life (feat. UNITED)
- Who You Say I Am
- Highs & Lows (feat. Hillsong Y&F)
- Eagle’s Wings
- Still / PEACE
‘…I don’t know what your stance is, on this conglomerate of a megachurch called Hillsong. Everyone would have their own opinion. Including me. People may feel like Hillsong have harmed the community and society in general more so than they have wanted, more so than the good that they profess they want to do, and so, Hillsong is a word that brings up a lot of guilt, shame, hurt, anger and disappointment in some people. Others may swear by it, declare that Hillsong in all its music and sermons, are the best they’ve heard and seen in years, and may only listen to Hillsong Music (Worship, UNITED and Y&F) and will only listen to Brian and Bobbie Houston preach, alongside their ministry team. Again others would also think of Hillsong as a decent worship band, but in the grand scheme of things, they may think of their sermons as being too structured and ‘religious’, too leaning on prosperity doctrine that they may still listen to music from Hillsong, but just listen to someone else for their sermon ‘fill’- besides there are many pastors and international speakers out there, from Louie Giglio, Andy Stanley, Francis Chan and Levi Lusko, to Ravi Zacharias, Brad Jones, Erwin McManus, Beth Moore, Christine Caine and Nick Vujicic, to name a few. And so herein, lies the point: that Hillsong in all its facets and nuances, in all its attempts to do right, and how at many times there’s been instances and occurrences where people may think they’re intentionally doing wrong; in all of that, Hillsong have continued to plough through, at least musically, to create a catalogue of musical albums across three different distinct outlets to create a worship ministry that has been delivering powerful songs and heartfelt melodies all the way from the start with songs like ‘Shout to the Lord’ and ‘The Power of Your Love’, to the most recent with ‘King of Kings’, ‘Good Grace’ and ‘Another in the Fire’. We may all have opinions as to their validity in society today, and whether they are truly as important, influential and impactful as what people also say as well. And regardless where we all stand on the ‘love for Hillsong’ spectrum, one thing cannot be denied- their songs nevertheless, have an emotion and heartfelt poignancy about them that, for me personally, rivals only that of Chris Tomlin and Casting Crowns, as they (Hillsong Worship, Hillsong UNITED and Hillsong Young & Free (Y&F)) give to us songs that can touch and move our spirits, especially in this time and place in the world today. Say all we want about Brian and his Hillsong ministry, but much of the discographies of these three incarnations of Hillsong, are touching people’s lives around the world. Just maybe, it’s only going to be a matter of time before the songs touch yours as well…’
This above quote is from my blog about Hillsong (all the facets of it) that I wrote way back in April 2020- the link is here. And so as we are now in 2020, November 2020 to be precise, I am able to look back at my blog post that I wrote a while ago, and really understand that yes, as polarising as Hillsong is amongst the community, their music still has weight, gravity, heart and value. This is certainly expressed all the more with the unveiling of Hillsong’s new album Take Heart (Again), where all three arms of Hillsong Music- Worship, UNITED and Y&F, all came together to create this album of 12 hits from across the years in all three formats, produced acoustically and unveiled during a time of the 2020 COVID-19 period, where live music, even some studio music, is delayed. While we as people around the world are itching to go congregate again at live music events in the future, Hillsong have unveiled to us an album to tie us over until then. Standing at 12 songs, we see the Worshp, UNITED and the Y&F incarnations, deliver powerful songs from their own personal band histories, each collaborating and collating them onto the album Take Heart (Again).
And as we stare and scan through the track-listing for the album, we see several fan-favourites and standouts, across all three formats over the years. songs like ‘Hosanna’, ‘I Surrender’, ‘Who You Say I Am’, ‘Broken Vessels’, ‘Take Heart’ and even the golden oldie ‘Eagles Wings’ are all present on this 12 track album, and what the album lacks for the length of it (personally, 12 tracks is a little too short, maybe 15-20), it makes up for with zeal, passion, enthusiasm and heart. This is a must if you are a fan of Hilslong, period, but maybe not a great place to start if you haven’t really heard of Hillsong or many of their songs. In fact, this album release may make a lot more sense after anyone who reads this review, also reads my blog on Hillsong as well. Then and only then, can you maybe appreciate a lot of the songs recorded and done here, acoustically. For Hillsong’s influence and presence around the world cannot be denied, and this new album, gathering all three facets of the band together, is what creates a great reminder, that each ‘band’ caters for their own demographic, and here on this brand new album, we see the disctinctive genres cover all these 12 songs. It is in this album where I’ve found a new-found appreciation for Hillsong, and maybe, just maybe, people can revisit some of their fan-favourite songs and be reminded that in a time of 2020 with the pandemic not slowing down anytime soon; timeless songs can often get us through even the most difficult of circumstances. And so what are we all waiting for? Time to check out songs like ‘Hosanna’, ‘I Surrender’ and ‘Who You Say I Am’, and encourage each other, that the songs of yesteryear can still be impactful today, and that sometimes a song can carry a weight to it, now years later, as it has been doing all these years. Time to listen to ‘Hosanna’ again, anyone?
‘…I’m sure the Lord will use Hillsong– UNITD, Worship and Y&F, for His glory in the end, and hopefully, songs like ‘What a Beautiful Name’, ‘So Will I’, ‘Mighty to Save’, ‘Oceans’ and ‘Cornerstone’, can pierce our hearts and make us see the world as God sees it. God loves all of creation, and if we are the hands and feet of Jesus, as we should be as Christians; then we should love without reservation as much as we can- and if a Hillsong song can have the power, through Christ, to change our hearts and our perceptions of the other person who is different from us, then these songs have served their purpose, regardless of the original intentions or motivations behind the song in the first place. Hillsong are here to stay and they’ll continue to make albums, often on an annual basis (for Hillsong Worship), and once every two years (for both UNITED and Y&F), and if they manage to change a few hearts in the process, then it’s a job well done for this worship group from Down Under…’
3 songs to listen to: Hosanna, I Surrender, Who You Say I Am
RIYL: Elevation Worship, Planetshakers, Passion, Mosaic MSC, The Belonging Co.