Ever since 1992, Australia's Hillsong has released a new live worship album every year. And every year the quality of contemporary praise & worship music goes downhill. The music industry is in an era of growth right now - lots of bands keep getting better and better at what they do. This year we've seen that in artists like Family Force 5, House of Heroes, Norma Jean, etc. So when Hillsong delivers the same old routine year after year (coming back this year with This Is Our God), music fans who seek growth will continue to be completely underwhelmed.
From start to finish, This Is Our God is full of everything that was anticipated in this project. Mediocrity, an unhealthy dose of boredom, and the same songs as before, just with different lyrics. "Your Name High" gets things started the way it always gets started, with the thump-thump-thump beat of the bass drum that leads into a wannabe punk beat with some sort of chanting. "Run," which follows, isn't much better, and the title track is the standard slow-to-upbeat-type song. "You Deserve" is the quintessential "get on your feet and jump around" praise song ("Come on, come on, sing out to God!") whose beat carries over a little to "Across The Earth," giving it the same sub-standard feel. The album slows down near the end, starting with "Where We Belong," five and a half minutes of slow, which is nothing when compared to the near seven draining minutes of "Sing To The Lord" and the album closer, "With Everything," which takes up almost eight minutes of the listener's time. A few minutes into the song, I forgot I was actually listening to music. To the song's credit, it does pick up at about the halfway point, but for just a couple minutes when it slows back down to let the song fade out for the last minute and a half.
Now before anyone thinks that I'm just hating on Hillsong, I would like to point out that each of the musicians are very talented. I would love to hear what they could do elsewhere, leaving behind the blase format of praise & worship and trying out a different genre. Also, some of the lyrics are really good, focusing on the love and mercy of God, although some of the lyrics can also be very basic and simple.
It's kind of difficult to write an honest review on a praise & worship album, given that the project is designed to get the listeners focused on God, and possibly to get them singing. And I'm sure that just about everyone at this particular Hillsong conference had an encounter with Jesus. The problem is, an album review has to be written from a musical perspective. It's not possible to review the experience that each person had there, and the point is to take a look at the songs and review the overall quality of them. Musicianship and passion for the music the musicians play gets them some points, but due to poor overall song quality, Hillsong yet again delivers an unimpressive attempt at a decent album.- Review date: 10/5/08, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Integrity Music
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