We live in some tense times. People are very unsure of what’s going to happen next. There’s no need for me to explain, as we all feel it. We are in a search for something of meaning.
Well just in time, Hillsong United has returned with it’s sixth full length album, ‘Wonder’, hitting stores June, 9. Wonder is a project that helps to focus on what’s important.
Hillsong United is a powerhouse in Contemporary Christian music (over 2 million albums sold and 700 million career streams to date) The ministry is truly touching the world. Reporting over 50 million people singing from a catalogue of UNITED songs every Sunday, the modest band born from a youth ministry out of Hillsong Church in Australia, touts a reach of over 9 million across all major social network platforms to date.
The band that rocketed to no. 5 on Billboard’s Top 200 with their last record “Empires,” hopes to re-awaken the innate sense of Wonder within the human being.
‘Wonder’ asks: “Have we lost the Wonder?” asked Joel Houston, front man for the modest Australia-born band.
Explaining intrinsically what it means further, Houston continues, “The hope, the imagination to dream, to believe, the tenderness to listen and lead first with mercy, the grace to empathize, the courage to trust, the fearlessness to love without pretense or condition. To see beyond the facts without dismissing them. To respond beyond the fear without reciprocating it. To sing beyond the noise, without adding to it. This is the challenge, and this is what worship— if worship can be summed up as an expression of art and music and story— is ultimately designed to do. To elevate the conversation, re-awaken the soul to something other, and lift our eyes to the wonder of a superlative truth.”
This powerful collection of songs has the wide and deep sound with a bit of EDM influence, and through most of the tracks have a similar sound, the songs differ enough to remain unique in their own way. It’s the warmth on the tracks, with strong melodies and deep and personal lyrics that bring the power to this collection.
Songs that have garnered some attention in previews are the songs “Wonder” and “Splinters and Stones.”
With ‘Wonder’ Hillsong United declares that they still see the ‘Wonder’ of God. It the warm, wide space of the synth bed of the track with a pulsing drums, the declaration of the chanting chorus singing that they see the world through God’s eyes:
“I see the world in light
I see the world in wonder
I see the world in life
Bursting in living color
I see the world Your way
And I’m walking in the light”
The track is a powerfully layered stack of wide, brilliant and echoey sounds, perfectly layered and not overbearing or pulling away from the message. This is a song that will have them chanting and moving in churches for sure.
The other notable that was getting notice is “Splinters and Stones”. This is another powerful song but different from ‘Wonder’. ‘Splinters’ speaks of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross “when all I had to offer was my worst“, he saw the suffering and “Love us first”
The deeply personal lyrics use the ‘splinters” in Jesus’ shoulders to show that he took the burden for our sins and still does after all this time. The song declares Hallelujah in God’s grace. It talks about grace: “You saw the crushing weight my flesh deserved, You kneeled and wrote forgiveness in the dirt, And one by one the stones fell where they lay, As one by one my accusers walked away.”
Other equally powerful songs include “Shadow Step”(Not being afraid to step out on faith into the unknown), “Glimmer in Dust” (about being lost, but God’s light exploding in our lives), and “Water to Wine” (A declaration of staying with God and longing for God’s love).
“Wonder ” is a powerful album that will help remind you of the wonder that is God in beautify and creative ways, and stirs the soul along the way.
Be sure to get a copy and experience it.