Cornerstone marks the 21st live recording from Hillsong—the Sydney Australian Church that can certainly be counted as both leaving and living a legacy in the worship genre. Ever new and renewing the team that presents their live offerings, the church’s newest flagship release includes Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Ben Fielding, Darlene Zschech, Hillsong UNITED, and international teams from London, Stockholm and Cape Town—Cornerstone ascends from community. And the prayers range from the emotive and powerful title track that takes advantage of both a classic hymn syncopation and a modern anthem crescendo, to the studio produced “Hope of the World,” which like its live counterpart on the project proclaims hope in the midst of tragedy.
Musically speaking, Cornerstone is Hillsong at its most predictable. And it’s hard to decide whether that’s a pan or a positive for this team. On the upside, these songs are as congregational as Hillsong has ever been. Every single track. In a fashion popularized by Hillsong themselves, the big songs are slow crawls to the big bridge (“Cornerstone,” “I Surrender,” “Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise)”). But therein lies the rub. At the downbeat of each, the listener can spot the predestined course. This is due partly to the accessibility-trap of congregational music, yet Hillsong, as always, brings power to the simple while revealing Spirit. Four chords and the truth will have to suffice.
More: A resource for worship leaders, Hillsong’s various teams unite to offer a few songs that will span the globe, surrounded by others that will lead millions in personal worship and devotion.
Less: The most predictable Hillsong LIVE has been in the last five years.