Written by: Laura Chambers (2/25/2016)
Every genre of music, sooner or later, is going to be picked up on by Christians and used to bring glory to God. It’s just one of those things that happens, like the changing of the seasons. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. While some radio surfers just hear the music and nod their head in time, then move on to the next thing, there’s going to be somebody who remembers the words long after the song is over. I like to think of it as an undercover op; music smuggling truth into the hearts of the broken. Some of them aren’t really my thing, but I feel free to enjoy more styles of music knowing that God’s word is a part of it.
When I got a copy of the first Hillsong Young and Free CD, it was mostly because I liked Hillsong’s previous iterations already. Y & F moves onward from Hillsong’s ethereal upper room atmosphere and United’s 20 chorus rock concert feel to the floor of a dance hall, where bright lights and colors abound and God’s love has us doing David dances until the wee hours.
“Where You Are” describes living in God’s love and worshipping Him as the greatest kind of life possible. Inhabiting the same spiritual plane as God becomes an ideal to be sought after. Okay, I realize that sounds kind of trippy, but being in His presence always is the ultimate goal. Having seen the alternative (everything the world has to offer), God is so much greater than anything else. “Real Love” energetically defines God’s love as the only real kind of love available. All we want to do is become closer to Him. So much of the love we speak of is empty sentiment, but not His; He backs it up with all He’s done for us. “Only Wanna Sing” addresses those who doubt this kind of music has the depth to measure up to the hymns of the day. Instead of merely singing a song, or looking for emotional highs, we desire to worship God. Singing has no meaning unless it brings praise to the One who gave us our voices.
“This is no performance
Lord I pray it’s worship
Empty words I can’t afford
I’m not chasing feelings
That’s not why I’m singing
You’re the reason for my song “
“Face To Face” begins like the sigh upon waking from a dream. Recalling the moment of salvation and first attempts at prayer, it then moves to communion and devotion, lastly looking ahead to the day we see Jesus face to face. It’s more proof that profound messages can be delivered, even in soft pixieish vocals.
“To My Knees” describes an all-consuming peace that transcends fear. Surrender is the grateful response, not a cold reflex. I can only describe this song as like being rocked back and forth in God’s arms. “Trust” reminds us that we don’t have to lose faith when our plans don’t work out the way we want them to. No matter how things look, God is on our side. He never fails us. We don’t have to know everything in advance because He waits for us at the end, having completed everything. “Never Alone” assures us that because God reigns over us, we’re not abandoned by Him. Instead of kicking against the goads and bucking the path we seem to be on, accepting God’s will in surrender is the higher response. “When The Fight Calls” acknowledges that God has taken on our battles as His. We can make our enemies blink in the fight and defeat them, knowing that He is greater than our trouble. Outcomes that would be impossible without God are expected with Him. (I recognize the Ole chant at the end from Habs games (I’m a Leaf fan) but apparently it’s a football (soccer) thing too.)
“Falling Into You” expresses the relief we can experience when we recognize our limits and let ourselves fall into God’s arms. What might at first blush seem terrifying (giving up control of your life) becomes easier when you realize you never had control in the first place. We don’t have anything we could possibly gain by holding on. “This Is Living” describes the life we have in Christ as bringing light and color to our lives, where once it was dark and black and white. Unlike alternative methods we have of seeking freedom, this way is pure and frees us to go places we never imagined. This version of the song does not include Lecrae. “In Your Eyes” boldly calls the vain things of this world what they are; lies. When we ignore the bright and shiny trappings of the world and look to Jesus, we find substance instead of nothingness, meaning instead of meaninglessness. It runs counter to everything this generation has been force-fed, and it’s a welcome change. “Passion” looks to Gethsemane. Of all the things Jesus could have been considering at such a heartrending moment, it’s incredible that He considered our fate and chose God’s will; the pain of the cross. The second half of the song praises as a response to this. What else could you do? Finally, there’s a radio version of the first track which is basically the same, sans live atmosphere.
Youth Revival finally brings a Biblical perspective to the pop culture table, cleverly combining the style of the day with a relevant message of love and gratitude, the latter something that is sorely lacking in our relentless push to have the next thing. While not everybody may care for their sound, it’s hard to push aside the truth within the music. Hillsong Young and Free shows that it is possible to wade in the shallow end without being shallow and vapid.
Released: February 26, 2016
Label: Hillsong Music / Sparrow
- Where You Are (3:26)
- Real Love (3:47)
- Only Wanna Sing (3:15)
- Face To Face (5:10)
- To My Knees (7:53)
- Trust (4:50)
- Never Alone (4:37)
- When The Fight Calls (4:45)
- Falling Into You (3:07)
- This Is Living (3:33)
- In Your Eyes (3:33)
- Passion (7:38)
- Where You Are (Radio Version) (Bonus Track) (3:27)
13 Tracks, 59:01
Buy on iTunes
More from Hillsong Young & Free:
- We Are Young & Free (2013)
- This Is Living EP (2015)
- Youth Revival (2016)
Links for Hillsong Young & Free: