Review Rating: Must Listen [4.8/5.0]
With a 30 plus year history and legacy of live worship albums, Grammy Award winning Hillsong Worship is gearing up for the release of Awake on October 11, their first studio album in almost two decades. Featuring the vocals of Brooke Ligertwood, Joel Houston, Taya Smith, Aodhan King and other familiar voices in the Hillsong church, this collection of 12 newly penned songs is a refreshing masterclass in Contemporary Christian Music. Singing of revival and renewal, this album offers a wave of new creativity in word and sound for the global church.
The album's intro sequence "Dawn" flows beautifully into the first lyric track “Awaken My Soul.” The sounds of these tracks instantly stir up Heavenly imagery. You can hear the sounds of God’s creation and almost feel the warmth of the sun hitting your face as you draw near to the Lord in this track. This is our first introduction to the revival theme of the collection. The song is an invitation to leave behind the worries, stress and pressures of our Earthly world to enter into the presence of Jesus. Brooke creates powerful and raw vocal moments as she whole-heartedly proclaims “Oh let the King of glory enter in / Fall down on your knees and worship Him / Let His praise rise up don't hold it in.”
“No One But You” is one of those classic Hillsong Worship tracks that is instantly identifiable as a future anthem for the Church, alongside the already chart-climbing pre-release “King Of Kings” that certainly deserves mention. “No One But You” is a nearly 9-minute track that sings of the immense power, strength and abilities of God alone that surpass all expectations and understanding. The intimate opening notes of the song build and expand throughout to create an immense momentum with several powerful and freeing moments as angelic choirs join Aodhan and Brooke in declaring “Hear the oceans roar / See the skies light up … Hear the rocks cry out / See the mountains bow / Every heart now / Sing to the Lord.”
“Every Breath” is one of several tracks on the album with a new age feel and prominent electronic elements. This song is a personal prayer to allow the Lord to take over our lives and strengthen us to glorify Jesus in everything we do and every word we say. “Let every breath I breathe / Pour out in praise toward the King / Jesus forever true / My every breath will worship You.” This song, along with tracks like “I Will Praise You” and “Come Alive,” offers fresh sounds to deliver timeless truths.
“Upper Room” helps close out the album with a sound similar to the opening tracks, creating an inviting full circle experience. Soft harp strings combine with gently piano notes to create a truly Heavenly sound as Taya honestly prays to the power of the Holy Spirit. “So help me God breathe on my weakness / For all I want is to be like Jesus / I don’t have much / But what I have is Yours to use.” It’s a Hillsong Worship classic with profound lyrics and a beautiful arrangement that is bound to bring tears to your eyes.
Simply said, Hillsong Worship has done it again. Expertly written lyrics with a variety of arrangements create massive anthems, personal prayers and everything in between. Prominent musical and lyrical elements of renewal and revival make this studio collection a refreshing album.