Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Problem with Hillsong and Hillsong United

I've been listening to Hillsong's Faith+Hope+Love and its good. I've also been listening to Hillsong United's A_Cross... and its good too; both albums good... not great. Hillsong and Darlene Zschech transformed modern worship back in the 90's with the anthem "Shout To The Lord," a well written worship song with Pop sensibilities. It was huge. Year after year Hillsong would produce albums that would influence churches around the world.

As the new millennium came, worship music had become an epic force as top CCM artists like Michael W. Smith and the Newsboys even started to produce worship albums. Hillsong seemed to be one among many. Around that same time in the early 2000's Hillsong spun off a youth worship band called United Live that would eventually dawn eponymous Hillsong tag, and become Hillsong United. Slowly building momentum fronted by Marty Sampson and Joel Houston, they would eventually change modern worship again with Hillsong United's "Look To You," and make an even bigger splash on the CCM scene with the follow up "United We Stand." United's music would break the cycle of repetitive mindless melodys of songs like "Open The Eyes Of My Heart," and craft worship songs with compelling music structures and thoughtful intelligent lyrics. They weren't trying to be christian band trying to sound like a secular band. They were a band that sounded original, complex, and all together inspiring for a younger generation.

Recently, both Hillsong and Hillsong United have been producing albums every year but now certain songs make it on both albums but are done slightly different; watering down the level of excellence with each album with filler to make two full albums. It is strikingly noticeable on the latest two albums. Hillsong United have grown and many of the members of the band are featured on the newest Hillsong effort. They appear on the album even more than Darlene Zschech, in fact. Which is surprising for she was the one who put Hillsong on the map in the 90's.

For those who are not in the worship music culture, this blog may sound myopic and shortsighted. However, as a lover of music and as someone who rediscovered that love for worship music with the on set of Hillsong United and other modern worship acts like David Crowder Band and Desperation Band. Im simply stating a opinion that no one likes filler on an album, even a worship album. And if Hillsong and Hillsong United would have combined both albums "Faith+Hope+Love" and "A_Cross..." with only the best songs off each album, you would have one masterpiece of modern worship. Instead, they produced two albums that are good... not great. I don't think Hillsong and company would ever produce just one album with only the best of both; the two bands are huge money makers. I just wonder what the impact would be if they did.

1 comment:

  1. Great post friend! I definitely agree with your thoughts. Unfortunately it seems like money is too much of a motivator for the vast majority to ignore, excellence is not immune.

    With the new web generation, most will simply purchase individual songs off the album instead of devouring all the filler.