Prime Cuts: God So Love, Remembrance, Who You Say I Am
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
Any encounter with God, combat or surrender, will always result in more. This is the premise of Hillsong Worship's 26th non-seasonal live album, "There is More." Citing the Biblical example of Jacob: the patriarch, who wrestled with an angel before surrendering, not only received a new name but a new purpose. This album presents 11 encounters with God which hopefully will result in more soundtracks of worship in churches for the years to come. Interestingly, this is also the first Hillsong live album to feature art work of the aforementioned struggle between the angel and Jacob.
Brooke (Fraser) Ligertwood who had recently won the Aussie megachurch team a Grammy Award by co-penning their #1 hit "What a Beautiful Name" naturally gets the lion's share as far as songwriting and microphone time are concerned. She is prominently featured as the lead vocalist of vanguard single "Who You Say I Am." Exploring how Christ's redemptive work reforms our identity, this new anthem ballad is a "must-sing" for all who suffer from broken self-images and self-esteems. Ligertwood strikes the heart in an affective way with the acoustic version of "Remembrance" (only available on the deluxe version), a thoughtful prayer about our need to remember the Cross in our daily work.
Known for being iconoclastic (a la "Transfiguration" and "Incense"), Ligertwood offers fresh perspectives to worship music that have never been previewed. "New Wine" is a stunning example; it is essentially a scintillating exposition of Jesus' teaching set to a gorgeous piano-led tune. Meaty also in their lyrical contents are the power anthem "The Passion" and the incessantly catchy "God So Love." Both are so invitingly congregational that you can envision churches embracing them with thousands of hands raised in worship.
This is not to say that there are no fillers. Just as with most of their releases, there are a few that don't pass muster. Despite the sentiments, "Valentine" may not go well in congregation worship, namely because of how the world has secularised the titular. And to use it in reference of God can be a little off putting. Similarly, "Lettered Love" sounds more like a love song written by a woman to a man re-pronounced for the Almighty. Nevertheless, even at their weakest, Hillsong still towers over 90% of worship bands out there. They manifest theological depth in their lyrics; the songs are well-tested for congregational singing (even for small churches) and most importantly they are memorable.