Cornerstone is Hillsong Live’s 21st live album in as many years. Consistently releasing songs that have changed the way a large percentage of the Christian Church worship, all credit must be given to the Australia based team for their tireless effort. But how does the new album measure up to the team's past success?
The good and, if you're a fan, reassuring news is that all 12 new songs on Cornerstone are everything you’d expect from a Hillsong Live album. Opening with Endless Light, Jad Giles leads the band in a simple song with descriptive and poetic lyrics about living for Jesus' glory.
Title track Cornerstone was written in the aftermath of Norway’s terrorist attacks. Top songwriter and world renowned worship leader, Reuben Morgan, flew in to the Scandinavian peninsula the same day that Anders Breivik killed 77 people.
"To some it might seem really odd to reach for a guitar when tears are falling on scuffed up shoes, but I really don’t know any other way of being,” Reuben later reflected.
Cornerstone borrows lyrics from classic hymn ‘On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand’ for the verses, while the chorus declares Jesus to be the “cornerstone” with the weak made strong “in the Saviour’s love”.
Musically, there are some really nice touches, including letting the crowd lead the singing. Lyrically, only a reference to “the storm”, perhaps, hints at the story behind the song. This ambiguity is useful as it allows singers to place their own circumstances, or "storms", on the song as they worship God despite tough times.
Reuben Morgan’s Hope Of The World is a stand-out track certain to be picked up by local churches this summer. With an infectious melody and passionately sung lyrics, it’s another cracking tune.
Stand In Awe is equally impressive. Many of the songs mark a partial return to the Darlene Zschech led Hillsong of the 90s. The team have kept it simple, allowing the melodies to soar and dominate each song. Ben Field leads with sensitivity and, as usual, the congregation responds with cries of praise.
The album isn't overly dependant on upbeat, driving songs like Break Free or Go. But relies instead on the quality of its mid-tempo and more reflective offerings.
It wouldn’t be a Hillsong album without a powerful ending. Previous examples have included Saviour King and With Everything. On this album, Greater Than All isn’t quite as epic in length or in sound as those examples, but is still an exceptional finish to a more than respectable, if typically Hillsong, live album.
Those who enjoy Hillsong’s music will love this release. Others might argue that's simply because to love one Hillsong album, is to love them all. A fairer analysis would be to say that the Australian church has maintained a distinctive sound for many years, and with Cornerstone, they show every sign of contiuining their highly successful formula. If you're a Hillsong fan, and most of you are, then that's got to be a positive thing. If Cornerstone is your first Hillsong album, we'll leave you to listen and decide for yourself.
Rating: 7 out of 10
July 26th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes