27
May
09

The Joint – Hillsong United a_CROSS//the_EARTH Tear Down the Walls …nuff said!

Hillsong United. New CD. Enough said! We reviewed a_CROSS//the_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls so sit tight and enjoy!

United Tear down wall

Hillsong United – a_CROSS//the_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Get it everywhere but it’d be sweet to kick Eminem off the #1 spot and boost United to the top of iTunes so go get it there!

Conner Byrd – Yours truly, stick around here

Synopsis:
I’m going to assume you’ve heard of the worship CD churning machine called Hillsong. I’m not going to assume you’re aware that Hillsong United is the “Youth Band” segment of their team because (I’ve said it before) the lines seemed to have been blurred over the past 2 years as to who’s making what. WELL the line is no longer blurred! With a_CROSS//the_EARTH it is clear that United is back to making music for the Youth. We’ve got an official introduction from the ‘under 21′ worship crew (you might have picked up In a Valley By the Sea but you probably didn’t) but here we have some of that crew making their big time debut. It’s great to have some fresh voices and such on such a stable and incredible team like United! I do dare you to count how many times you sing/yell “Woah oh Oh oh!” Haha, I mean but it is for a corporate setting and what gets you going more than yelling!
As always, you get your money’s worth with 12 tracks in a live setting that’s pushing you from one song to the next as if you’re really there!

Bottom Line:
This CD’s not for your typical church worship setting. It is however for your youth setting! Yours Forever is what I’ve been talking about in regards to Post-RockBand-Worship-Music! It’s busy, it’s loud, it’s anthematic, it’s what I see the multitude of youth who have ravaged these games on their consoles at home craving for in the church. However, the great thing is that there are also tracks like the sweet and beautiful Soon that is angelic. And of course everything inbetween!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5!

Must have:
Yours Forever – yes its ridiculous and over the top and it’s exactly why I love it! Soon – it’s everything that Yours Forever isn’t! Freedom is Here – for it’s Angels & Airwaves vibe. You Hold Me Now – I just love the chorus lyrics and how they roll off my tongue! King of All Days!! Yes, King of All Days is a must have!

Church Songs:
Depends on your church. With your congregation, you might not be able to get away with all of them :) But these are definitely worship songs. I’d start you with: King of All Days, No Reason to Hide, Oh You Bring is a delicious worship tune that just sits there in your pocket, and Soon…mmm….Soon.

Alastair VanceGo to Live to Worship

Synopsis:
I’ve always been excited about the release of a new Hillsong United album and this time was no exception.  However, on my first listen through the songs the only word I had to describe it was ‘bleh’.  After a few listens there are some definitely some gems on there but for the most part my thoughts about it are still ‘bleh’ (ref: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bleh).

The album is energetic, the style is spot on and it sounds really great, but to be honest I was a little disappointed.  I was really listening out for some ‘killer’ songs I could use in church but nothing really stands out or connects with me immediately.

Here’s a question.  Am I being too much of a consumer-focused Christian expecting that immediate worship high?  Or are Hillsong manufacturing albums simply to meet consumer demand rather than a natural outpouring of their hearts?  Or both?  Hmmm.  🙂

Bottom Line:
Fist pumping pop, sung with attitude and lots of WhaaOoO, oOo OoO and Yoooo.  OK, now I’ve had enough.  I’m going back to listen to Aslan Worship again (ref: http://www.myspace.com/theaslanworship).

Rating: 2.5 out of 5!

Must Have Songs
:
The gems I talk about are King Of All Days, Oh You Bring, Soon and Arms Wide Open.

Church Songs:
All the songs are crafted for contemporary worship, so if you like the song, use it.  Remember one thing.  Your task as a worship leader is to lead people to that place where they are released to worship God uninhibited.  Therefore, when introducing new songs pick songs you connect with and believe will encourage that.

Joel KlampertGo to Klampert.com

Synopsis:
United? Who in the world…Well if you haven’t heard of United then you are currently living under a rock or in a “VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!”. Folks they are back and with a new live CD. Complete with more Woah’s and ooo’s that may make you think 90’s RnB and boys 2 men are back.
I listened to this CD a few times at first after i got the pre-release and I was having a real hard time getting into it. Nothing really jumped out at me and I have no clue why. However I am glad I didn’t throw it on the shelf and give up on it cus it has some real gems that don’t disappoint. I am still working through this CD many listens over now, but I encourage you to do the same.
I think ultimately with a band like united who has basically shaped worship into their own mold and everybody on the planet is trying to mimic their sound that a new CD comes with preconceived expectations. It is really hard to listen to this CD and not have every one of their other ones in your head.
It still has that signature United sound, but I am excited to see there are trying new things. It was really needed.

Bottom Line:
If you love worship then you need to listen to this CD. I urge you though pretend this is a new band and listen to it like that. Listen to the heart of it and get trapped by the spirit. If you go in with thinking you will have an entire CD of what we have had before then you will miss the gems. The gems are my must haves.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5!

Must Haves:
King of All Days has a brilliant Chorus. I love the redone version of Desert song. That song gets me every time. Tear Down the walls is epic. My first listen the only song that gripped me was Soon. If you are not a United fan buy this CD just for that song. It’s worth it. Your Name High reminds me of U2 and I absolutely love this song. Yes even though it is chock full of “O’s” it is awesome. Last but not least is Yours Forever. This song has a new feel for United and it’s kinda off the wall. It’s a great youth service song and WAY over the top. Reminded me of the Raconteurs.

In Church:
This is a tough call. Depending on how adventurous your church is, if you have 35 guitarists, and killer vocalists most of these songs can be done. I am pretty sure I will attempt a few, but most of these would work best in a youth/college setting. I think on this CD United really made it clear the age group they lead.

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7 Responses to “The Joint – Hillsong United a_CROSS//the_EARTH Tear Down the Walls …nuff said!”


  1. 1 Aaron Crawford
    May 27, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Cool review of one of my favorite bands, will definitely check it out.

  2. 2 Brent
    May 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    It’s a good listen. Nothing groundbreaking from United, but good. I’d recommended it.

  3. May 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Right on Aaron, I think you’ll like it!

    Brent, that’s a curious thing: “groundbreaking.” I find this particularly progressive from All of the Above but not in the movement towards church music, back towards Youth music. Again, I think this is a transitional CD and we’ll begin to hear more of the new, younger United crew and I’m so stoked to see what’s next!

  4. May 28, 2009 at 10:30 am

    I think thats what I got most out of this CD…it was ok too me..nothing amazing, but def. steering away from typical united sound. It is ushering a new crew. The next CD should be very interesting

  5. June 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I like that United are approaching their songwriting from a different angle now. It’s like a whole new philosophy. This album was a very refreshing departure from their previous work. New writers, chord progressions, melodies, and rhythms. Reinvention is key.

    I found the album really only starts on the third song. The first two are kinda vanilla and not very memorable. But then they hit “More Than Anything”. Wow, what a kick in the crotch! The song is killer.

    “King Of All Days”: One of the best songs to come out of Hillsong in a long time.

    Then they get to Desert Song…yawn. The rest of the album really makes this track stand out as a total snoozer.

    “Tear Down The Walls”: one of the greatest bridges ever written.

    “Soon” and “You Hold Me Now” don’t really fit with the youth-centered theme of the album at all. Decent songs, but out of place here.

    “Yours Forever” is a great left-turn for this band. It’s poppy, fun, energetic and straight-forward rock. Very good for a middle school service.

    The standout tracks are:

    More Than Anything
    King Of All Days
    Tear Down The Walls
    Arms Open Wide
    Yours Forever

    What this album does for the listener and United fan is reveal their true signature sound. Their signature sound doesn’t lie in the multiple guitars, wide open drum beats, Joel Houston melodies and bridges or Hillsong-formula songwriting. Their sound actually has very little to do with the band at all. The signature sound of United is created by the people. A great enclave of worshippers united in one accord, crying out to God in triumph and surrender. The people, not the band, are United.

  6. June 9, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Mark dude I’m going to see if there’s a 4th opening on the Joint for you sir! Great review! Great thoughts! Great!


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