Written by: Laura Chambers (6/28/14)
One thing you can always count on from Hillsong and that is singable, passionate songs that glorify God and express faith and devotion to Christ. Personally, I’ve been inspired by their lyrics often. No Other Name points us towards Jesus, the only One whose name has the power to release us from everything that attempts to drag us down. And I really love the energy that their live tracks have as opposed to studio tracks – they’re one band that really nails live performance. (This is coming from someone who has never been to any real concert, which should tell you something about the quality of sound they deliver on videos and sound recordings.)
We begin this project with “This I Believe (The Creed)” which spells out the fundamentals of our faith and professes our belief in them. It’s always good to be reminded of the facts which we base our belief in God on. It’s a really singable tune that doesn’t have extreme leaps up and down the scale. (Although parts of the verse melody sound like part of the chorus of Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)”) “Heaven and Earth” celebrates the coming of Heaven’s power and love to our world to rescue and heal us. There is hope for every desperate person, a promise sealed by His sacrifice that we can be free. “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” takes the familiar hymn’s first verse lyrics as a chorus. Comparing us to shattered pottery, the song tenderly rejoices in the Lord’s repair and restoration of broken people for His glory. “No Other Name” celebrates the power of Jesus’ name to effect change and deliverance in our lives, as well as His dominion over every last entity. You can hear the love and joy in their voices as they sing about a loving, powerful God who is above all things.
“Depths” portrays a quiet moment spent waiting on God to speak and refresh our weary souls. The chorus is an outpouring of love for Jesus that your heart will echo if your voice doesn’t. “Calvary” has a nice structure that keeps returning to the same point; what Jesus did on the cross doesn’t just save in part, or cleanse in part, or change in part. His death completely defeats sin and death. The lyrics resist the obvious temptation to end the song in a vision of the future us looking back from heaven to what He did, as so many songs do. Rather than ending with a fade out, it seems as though designed for airplay.
“Thank You Jesus” simply does that; a grateful prayer that both looks back and forward; You saved me, now use me to bring glory to Your name. “All Things New” glories in God’s transformative power to give life to the dead and hope out of tragic circumstances. It reminds us that God wants us and is always working in our lives to make beauty out of our messes. “My Story” pares down our biographies to the most important facts of all; our rescue and our response to it. No triumph trumps Jesus’ victory on the cross; no tragedy can define us. “Our Father” uses aspects of the Lord’s prayer for a chorus and bridge. The rest of the song reveals the meaning behind each phrase in the prayer and the significance of the prayer itself.
“Mountain” completes the album with the kind of lyrical Biblical metaphor combinations I love (See a light in the darkness/A city shining without a veil” and “The stone the builders rejected/Laid to ransom a fractured bride”) and a reassurance that we have protection, hope, completion, and a home in Christ. With any songs based on Biblical truths and passages, there will always be overlap in ideas, titles, and wordings used. So while originality is a shadowy and debatable in worship music, you can’t argue with passion or truth.
My favorite tracks, musically and lyrically were “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)”, “Calvary” and “Mountain”. With 11 to choose from, you ought to be able to find at least one favorite too. Chances are, you’ll be singing one of them one Sunday.