Hillsong Young and Free is the youngest touring worship band to be developed by Hillsong Church in Australia. They released their first live album in 2013, and they also have several remix EP’s available. Their sophomore full-length album project, Youth Revival,was released earlier this year.
Youth Revival succeeds in creating music that is accessible to those familiar with current popular music, using synthesizer sounds and techniques that appear in many of the world’s top tracks at the moment. The drums and bass are a mixture of both live sounds and samples from other songs. The album begins with several fast dance tracks like Where You Are, Real Love, and Only Wanna Sing. Much like many contemporary live church services, the middle section of the album is full of slower worship ballads such as Face to Face and To My Knees. The album concludes with several more lively tracks including Falling into You and This Is Living. Most of the songs on this album are written for the live context and are longer than most radio songs, some even stretching to almost eight minutes long.
Questions remain about whether the live music experience captured on this album is pop concert or worship, and arguments can be made in both directions. If viewed as worship, its focus is on creating a personal space for a positive worship experience. None of the songs on this album seem to explore the more challenging aspects of following Jesus, leaving little space for lament or doubt.
Those familiar with current popular music will easily connect and enjoy this album, finding inspiration in many of the songs. I’d caution listeners to balance this listening experience with other worship music that deals more directly and communally with life’s stresses and pain. Paul instructs us in Galatians 6:2 to “Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Lament in worship music is more difficult to find, but some excellent songs exist, such as “I’ve Had Questions,” by Tim Hughes. An excellent resource for both listeners and worship leaders is Rethink Worship. (Hillsong)