Album Review :
Hillsong Live - Cornerstone EP

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Artist: Hillsong Live
Title: Cornerstone EP
Label: Hillsong Music Australia
Release Date: 5/22/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre

Tracklisting:

  1. Cornerstone (Studio Version)
  2. Hope of the World (Studio Version)
  3. Cornerstone (Live)
  4. Hope of the World (Live)

Hillsong are no stranger to releasing albums, starting in 1992, and having a revolving door of worship leaders throughout the span of 20 years. Now releasing their 21st release with Cornerstone in early July (Hillsong UNITED, an youth-oriented extension of the band are also releasing annual albums!); Cornerstone EP gives us a taste of what to expect from the band that has given us many classic worship melodies like ‘Hosanna’, ‘Mighty to Save’ and ‘From the Inside Out’. Listening to these four tracks (essentially it is the two singles, both cut in the studio and live) has peaked my interest and led me to be inquisitive about the upcoming album. Admittedly not listening to a full Hillsong album ever, from start to finish; listening to these two tracks have inspired me to break this ‘traditional habit’ when Cornerstone releases on July 3rd 2012!

Starting off the EP is the title track of the new record, ‘Cornerstone’. Creating a new worshipful arrangement to accompany the beloved hymn ‘The Solid Rock’, Hillsong have created a song destined to be sung in churches around the world, maybe even placed in the lineup of WOW Hits 2013 (‘Search My Heart’, from Hillsong UNITED’s Aftermath, was on the compilation last year!). As lead singer David Ware sings out in the added chorus ‘…Christ alone, cornerstone…’; I am able to place aside everything that is bothering, knowing that God our cornerstone is our rock that we stand upon at all times. With a tad under 3:30 compared to the live version of 6:49; ‘Cornerstone’ starts with a nice piano riff to obtain the listeners interest, similar to how I was hooked into MercyMe’s ‘I Can Only Imagine’, with it’s similar use of a piano to start it. Creating a new melody to reinvigorate a timeless classic, the words are ever more convicting as I reflect upon how Christ is our centre, and our firm foundation that we build everything else from. The studio version of ‘Hope of the World’ is next, speaking how God is the ‘…hope of the world, lifted on high, calling us home with arms out wide…’- giving us confidence as we walk in Christ, immersing ourselves in His promises for our lives in the years to come. Filled with radio friendly musical arrangements, Ben Fielding passionately shows his heart as we are met with an anthemic setting with light keyboards, massive drums and driving guitars to create a stadium-feel as the song is projected into the listener’s heart. Following these two studio tracks are the live renditions of the two singles, both filled with crowd moments where we are transported into pure worshipful moments, the entire stadium lifting up the name of Christ in adoration. Having an energising live feel does give both live versions the edge over their 2 studio counterparts, nevertheless, Hillsong has created two gems that are certain to be captured by churches in the months to come!

Overall: Hillsong are a reckoning force, creating some of the most beloved worship melodies in the history of contemporary Christian music worship. With songs like ‘Hosanna’ and ‘Mighty to Save’ now covered my many CCM artists, I’m sure that ‘Hope of the World’ and ‘Cornerstone’ are almost certain to strike a chord and be covered soon- it’s only a matter of time before these melodies are embraced for both corporate and personal worship. As Hillsong release their latest album in July, these two songs alone have perked up my interest to listen to their 21st. Well done Hillsong for creating such a satisfying EP- hopefully the latest release can be just as enjoyable!

RIYL: Jesus Culture, Parachute Band, Planetshakers, Soul Survivor

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