Prime Cuts: Our Father, Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace), Thank You Jesus
Not too long ago, Hillsong Church was just a struggling suburban church that couldn't even afford to purchase its own building. Fast forward to April 24, 2014, they have taken over Times Square's digital billboards in New York City. Instead of flashing the usual ads or new reports or the day's Dow Jones figures, 21 digital screens played for an hour a looped video comprised of just a few frames flashing repeatedly: "Jesus" and "No Other Name." It is such a glowing testimony to the Gospel when the name of Jesus is displayed at such an iconic location in lieu of the world's most powerful brand names and celebrities. Inspired by Acts 4:12 which states that "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved," "No Other Name" s not only the titular of Hillsong Worship's 23rd live recording, but it's also the mega church's conference theme for 2014.
Though there are some significant departures as far as this new album is concerned, but they have also forged in number of newer avenues for this recording. Let's start first with the departures: first, unlike some of their older recordings, such as the "Hope," "God He Reigns" and "For All You've Down," that overflow into double disc packages, "No Other Name" only contains 11 songs. Second, gone are the days when one worship leader (e.g., Darlene Zschech) would lead most of the songs on the recording. Nowadays democracy seems to be the call of the day where most of the worship leaders get to front only one song each (save for Reuben Morgan and Matt Crocker who get to sing one and a half songs on lead each).
Yet, the album forges ahead onto new grounds. Instead of diluting their lyrical content by borrowing stacks of clichés from their secular peers, they have harkened back to the rich heritage of the church giving these songs a heftier theological depth and dimension. "This I Believe (The Creed)," for instance, is a stellar album opener that is based on the Apostles Creed. The beauty of "This I Believe (The Creed)" is that it does not come across as stuffy or archaic. Rather, with a palatable and infectious chorus led by Matt Crocker, it'll get you singing in no time. Also, going back to its liturgical/Biblical roots is the Brooke Ligertwood (Fraser), Scott Ligertwood and Jonas Myrin co-write "Our Father" which finds its muse in the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father," bears all the imprints of a great Brooke Fraser song, insightful in its lyrics yet having a tune that inspires us to worship (and pray).
Not only have the team borrowed from the theological artifacts of the church, they have also demonstrated ingenuity in trying to marry the great hymns of the church with their fresh compositions. The Reuben Morgan led "Calvary," for instance, creatively borrows the hook from the hymn "Calvary Covers It All" yet making the song sound so fresh and yet so familiar conterminously. Just as "Oceans" was the Goliath tune of Hillsong United's "Zion," 'Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)" is going to be the mammoth hit from this CD. Led by Taya Smith (who also fronted "Oceans"), this 24-year old brings us into an unforgettable worship experience that partly utilizes John Newton's "Amazing Grace" set to an unforgettable tune. Marty Sampson who hasn't penned a Hillsong Live tune since 2009's "Faith + Hope + Love" makes a much anticipated return by co-penning (with Brooke Ligertwood) and leading the ethereal ballad "Depths."
Matt Crocker who has been one of Hillsong's most promising writer and leader of late teams with Hannah Hobbs in penning the album's most heartfelt piece "Thank You Jesus." Dipping into an earnest fare, Hobbs is so transparently engrossed in the song that you can feel her heart pulsating through every syllable of this tune. The title track "No Other Name" led by Joel Houston does build up to the type of worshipful crescendo we have come to love about Hillsong but it somehow sizzles out without much distinction. Nevertheless, despite this quibble, "No Other Name" as a worship album still towers over 99 per cent of all Christian releases out there. Hands down, this is easily one of the best worship albums released this year.
Tags : hillsong worship Hillsong LIVE hillsong church Hillsong Darlene Zschech Hillsong new album Hillsong 2014 Hillsong Live Album Hillsong Reuben Morgan Hillsong Brooke Fraser Hillsong Marty Sampson Hillsong Joel Houston No Other Name Calvary Hillsong No Other Name Hillsong Taya Smith Hillsong Ben Fielding Hillsong Broken Vessels Hillsong United