A Beautiful Exchange
By Lindsay Williams, contributing writer, gmclife.com
Many of the songs Hillsong has produced over the course of its existence ("Shout to the Lord," "Mighty to Save," "Hosanna") have given the Church reason to be eternally grateful. Listeners can rest assured that A Beautiful Exchange (Sparrow), Hillsong's 20th recording and their first on EMI CMG, contains a spread of worship choruses that churches nationwide will be singing in no time. Hillsong continues to be a leader in the worship movement, and these 12 new tracks solidify their position in the crowded marketplace.
While A Beautiful Exchange doesn't break any new ground, each successive Hillsong release feels like a preview of the year's most popular worship songs. Recorded live in Sydney, Australia this past November, worship leaders Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Darlene Zschech and others continue the vibrant legacy of the Hillsong community.
The album begins with a few upbeat tracks and builds to a moderate tempo with the radio single "Forever Reign," written by award-winning songwriters Jason Ingram and Reuben Morgan. However, the real highlights come in the form of the contributions from the lead female voices. On "Like Incense/Sometimes By Step," Brooke Ligertwood adds beautiful verses around the late Rich Mullins' "Sometimes By Step," reminding listeners that Ms. Ligertwood is still one of the best things to ever come out of the Hillsong camp.
Darlene Zschech's compelling version of "Greatness of Our God" is a rare gem. It may ring familiar to listeners because it's also Natalie Grant's first single from her upcoming release and is currently climbing the charts at radio.
While the majority of the album maintains a simple, singable formula from song to song, there are a few extremely upbeat tracks in the middle ("You" and "Love Like Fire") that seem out of place against the backdrop of an otherwise mid-tempo collection. These songs might have proved better as bonus tracks or on the front-end as they serve as a bit of a distraction.
However, all in all, A Beautiful Exchange is another solid offering chalk full of songs we'll be singing for years to come.
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