Hillsong Worship have recently released a new album named ‘Awake’. It’s their first studio album in a long time and it is a beauty in terms of production. Slick, interesting, emotional, and filled with musically beautiful songs. But in some of the songs, lyrically there are questions to ask.
On the run up to this release, I was keeping an eye on instagram, and some of the things the team were saying about this upcoming release had me a little concerned/confused. I would say that Hillsong Worship are the best within the Hillsong family, in terms of biblical lyrics, and a seeming desire to faithfully praise the Lord and serve the church. And recently we have them to thank for crackers of songs, such as “O Praise the name’, “Cornerstone’, ‘Man of Sorrows’ etc.
But this album is a little less lyrically strong and downright confusing at times. Quite a few of the songs are less about bible-truth joy, and more about spiritual experience. So I’m not sure I would even recommend listening to the whole album through, especially given that some of the worst lyrically are also the best and emotionally awesome musically!
So below, I’ve listed the few that I think are worth your time considering for church or personal use, and maybe just leave the rest for now.
Ones to consider for your church
See the light (track 4)- This could be a good song for a youth group or even kids. It doesn’t have many words and the tune is very easy to pick up. I do have a slight question mark over the last line of the chorus, but I’m not sure it’s explicitly wrong, just a little unclear.
King of Kings (track 6) – This is a great song. Simple and biblical. The one thing to be aware of is that it is SO simple musically, and very sparse in texture, that if you are a small church with limited musicians, you could be in danger of falling flat with it. Hillsong manage to carry it cos their production is so meaty and awesome.
From whom all blessings flow (doxology) (track 8)- This is pretty great. It plays on the old doxology by Thomas Ken, and adds thoughtful verses, and a bridge that is worth doing as a brief summery of the roles of the trinity. And the added bonus is most of your congregation should already know the chorus, so it’s an easy teach.
He shall reign– (track 12) I am very much in two minds on this one. The words are pretty great, on the subject on God’s sovereignty and control- He stands above any other power or authority, and will forever. However, they use a line from Handel’s Messiah as the chorus (‘and he shall reign forever and ever‘), and this just launches me back to vaguely traumatic, rushed, choir practices before christmas Messiah performances. I know that is maybe just me, so perhaps it won’t bother others, but I wonder if, particularly with the older generation, it could feel like a more jarring mash up than some others might be. So, have a think about your people before you consider it! On the plus side, it is simple to teach and has a bridge you can take or leave.
Ones just for you
No one but you (track 5)- This is quite a personal song, and could be encouraging for devotional time. It builds to a climactic bridge with end of the world pictures, which kind of lifts the subject matter from being all me and my little or large personal problems, to being ‘wow, this God who cares for me so intimately is also in charge of the whole world’. Good for perspective.
I will praise you (track 7)- The verses of this don’t say a great deal but the bridge and chorus turn it in to a nice prayer of devotion in response to who God is