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All of the Above

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Album Review

By the time Australian modern worship sensation Hillsong United released their seventh album, All of the Above, they were already a phenomenon not only in the land down under, but also in the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and even parts of Africa. Delirious? frontman Martin Smith declared them "the best youth worship band on the planet" — quite a compliment, considering Smith's own history in the modern worship canon. But United didn't need endorsements to achieve mass success. Instead, it was a slow and steady climb, driven by a tireless, one-album-per-calendar-year work ethic that eventually had fans counting the days until the next scheduled United release. But they were in for a surprise this time: All of the Above is the group's most atypical release thus far. For starters, the album was recorded in the studio — a first for a band whose bread and butter are live recordings. As the youthful progeny of Darlene Zschech and the Hillsong Australia team, United grew into a heavyweight of its own with the albums Look to You and United We Stand, both of which were large on stadium-sized pop/rock anthems, Brit-pop sensibilities, earnest balladry, and catchiness to spare. But All of the Above is the antithesis: it's moody, pensive, even shoegazing at times. There are explosive, rousing moments such as the raucous "Break Free," the post-punk "whoas" of "Solution," and the breathtaking, apocalyptic catharsis of "Hosanna," but these are in short order compared to the bulk of the album, which favors a more individual expression of devotion to God than the group's customary corporate approach. While still a modern worship band at their core, United have shifted their focus to faith in action, which explains why the songs are decidedly more horizontal than vertical in scope — that is, more about reaching out than simply reaching up. A number of veterans in Christian music could take some cues from these twentysomething Aussies.

Customer Reviews

woah.. another level again. how goods this!!

Yeah well, once again.... this album just captures what God's doin atm. Lyrically prob the strongest united album.... a little more mellow & contemplative than the last... . i reckon this one's prob the most original sounding musically. man the guitar lines a awesome . But, most importantly..... u get the sense this thing is God-breathed and so much bigger than just songs from another cool band. Best UpBeat: Point of Difference, Solution Best DownBeat: Desperate People, Devotion, Hosanna, Solution, Saviour King. How do u choose?! all round stoked.

great album. one issue.

This is a high-quality recording of some great tunes. Brooke Fraser brings a great, fresh sound to United. I have one issue with this CD though: as music director of a church of 200-250 people, I’m always looking for resources and songs that we can use in our worship gatherings. I looked at this CD, because Hillsong Music Australia exists to resource and equip the church around the world (that’s what they say on their website), but most of these songs need a big, highly talented band in a hall the size of a stadium to work well. Most churches don’t have that. Most churches don’t even come close. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed listening to this CD. The United team has done a great job on this one. Lyrically, musically, and in terms of production, it’s of a high standard. Highlights for me are tracks 6, 7 & 8. Brooke’s tunes are great, and the groove attached to Found is something a little bit different for United, but it works well and they pull it off convincingly. The 'selah' tracks are also good, especially 'For All Who Are To Come' (and the organ!!!).

I agree to 'all of the above' reviews, and . . .

I love the mood and emotion of this album. There is something about it that you can't put it down. It is so moving. Maybe, just maybe there is something there beyond the lyrics, beyond the music. Maybe there is a spirit there that is supernatural!

Biography

Genre: Inspirational

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Hillsong United began as Hillsong Church's youth ministry band. Originally dubbed United Live, the group was first led by singers/songwriters Reuben Morgan and Marty Sampson. Their 1999 debut, Everyday, established their creative template: each album was recorded live at the annual October youth conference Encounterfest — enabling contributions from a variety of church members, friends, and supporters, including the popular Christian folk chanteuse Brooke Fraser — and released on CD and...
Full Bio
All of the Above, Hillsong UNITED
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