Review Rating: Must Listen! [4.8 / 5]
It seems too easy, in day to day life, to forget just how magnificent God truly is. Many worship bands and tracks find it easier to express personal thankfulness and joy rather than pure awe, yet Hillsong UNITED has far surpassed all expectations. Just as one might guess from the simple title, Wonder does more than capture a moment of reverent worship - it entirely focuses on the majesty of Jesus Christ and His awesome works. With twelve uniquely crafted tracks and powerful themes embedded across the collection, Hillsong UNITED's Wonder is a worship experience like none other.
The collection opens with the title track "Wonder," a song whose lyrics and melodies match every aspect of its name. The opening begins with spacious, vast keyboard and gentle guitar notes, only to expand into a magnificent collection of pounding drums, accelerating electric guitar, and a vast collection of voices. Its lyrics celebrate the awe of God's majesty and the world He has created - a statement of amazement and, appropriately, wonder. The track is a beautiful opener and sets the stage for the remainder of the album.
Equally as magnificent in sound and substance, "Future March In" follows along in the album. The song instantly opens with calming keys and soft vocals, building up to the end with electric guitar. Lyrically, there are themes of the magnitude of God's presence and glory, along with a call to worship. "If you have the breath … if you have the heart … lift up your voice and sing" the chorus resounds. Perfectly aligning with the awe of the opening tracks, "Future March In" is an excellent invitation to celebration.
The joy kicks off with "Not Today," an upbeat and defiant celebration of Christ's permanent victory over Satan and death. Though the beginning verses seem slow and restrained, do not be deceived - the chorus picks up with light drums, generous guitar, and excited electronics. Its lyrics celebrate the relief and freedom found in Christ, where death and Satan no longer have influence - "not today" and never again.
Towards the close of the album comes "Rain / Reign," a calmer and more contemplative track. A slight, hopeful crescendo builds from the first vocals and carries on towards the end, uniquely blending the keyboard and electronic notes into a hopeful tone of expectation. Drawing on the two-word title, the lyrics describe Christ the King in His majesty and the blessing He rains down upon - "everlasting grace and wonder." It's a beautiful and awe-inspiring track that brings the themes of magnificence and wonder full-circle.
The collection's title clearly defines the theme of wonder, but each track expertly and sincerely conveys that theme. The sounds are deliberately crafted with a massive and ethereal aesthetic, melodies fitting for an album about Christ's majesty. Still, UNITED weaves a call to worship and expressions of joyful thankfulness into the collection, enhancing the worship experience all the further. Though the sounds are fairly constant across each track, the tone of the album is fitting and serves its purpose well. Wonder, quite simply, is the best worship album of the year. The sounds are beautiful and captivating, the momentum is inspiring, the lyrics are thought-provoking, and the themes are awe-inspiring. Each of UNITED's tracks stand apart from the other, yet all beautifully weave together into a tapestry of the Savior's excellence, majesty, and wonder. All in all, Wonder is captivating and a must-listen for fans of quality worship music.