By | Categories: In Review, Music

Hillsong LIVE
Sparrow/EMI |

 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.

 3.5 stars
–Jeremy Armstrong

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    4 comments on “Cornerstone

    1. and then on the other hand…many of their recent songs have been so inaccessible for most congregations, this might just be what we worship leaders, or at least this one, have wanted from hillsong for awhile. love all their music but would love for it to be more ‘singable’ by our church sometimes.

    2. Where to begin… I’m not a big fan of Hillsong. I have not heard this album. That having been said, I’ll take “four chords and the truth” any day over hip, trendy, cool, weak, theologically shallow music. The title of your blog is “Worship Leader.” One of the main jobs of a worship leader is to make the truth of God’s word accessible to his church by setting it to music so the members of his church can sing it. Yet, you call accessibility a crutch, stifling the creative process, tying the hands of the leader. Creativity is more important than unity, right? Wrong. Sounding hip is more important than creating a church culture that values truth more than whether or not the band sounds like the latest cool worship leader, right? Ummm.. No. I am not saying congregational music should be boring. I am saying that congregational music should be congregational. So, if the congregation can’t sing it, ask them to sit down, and call it what it is… A solo. That’s ok too.

    3. Boy we need to be careful how we compartmentalize and categorize Holy Spirit inspired worship songs, which I could sense in each of these songs. Strip it all down and that’s what matters, how God is touching the soul, bringing truth, hope, revival and worship in Spirit and Truth through the song. I fear that the “MORE” “LESS” and 1-5 star ratings is truly grieving the Holy Spirit and lessoning His influence through the song. I’m sorry but this is sad…where have we gone with the christian music industry and especially in regards to critiquing worship? Wow. God get us back to simply responding to worship and using it as a platform to proclaim who He is and express our love back to Him. Let the leader of each church, with their congregational personality, decide which songs are fitting for them. Sorry, but I guess I’m critiquing the critic. Blessings…

    4. Pingback: Cornerstone | Worship Leader Magazine | Worship Leaders

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