Hillsong Worship returns 15 years after their last studio album with “Awake” with huge vocals and passoion abound. A twelve track album (with three live versions of songs already featured) released on October 11th, it sings the praises of Jesus with an incredible sense of hope and wonder.
Hillsong Worship, formerly known as Hillsong Live, hail from far-off Australia. Based out of Sydney, they’ve been creating worship anthems since 1983. A rotating roster of members hasn’t been a detriment to the group, instead reviving it with fresh energy. Currently, Brooke Ligertwood is the appointed leader of the band.
With “Awake,” the group split their time recording between Sydney, Australia and Orange County, California. The resulting album is a compelling cry of love and faith. While applicable to believers everywhere, it is also an incredibly personal work.
The album begins with “Dawn.” Purely an instrumental piece, it is driven by a piano and sets a hopeful tone for the album. Ascending notes create a lifting feeling, and as you travel into the album you feel as if something joyous is coming your way.
The transition between “Dawn” and its subsequent track “Awake My Soul” is seamless, carrying the same melody from the first into the second. It is then we hear the first vocals of the album. With Brooke at the helm, she sings, “Oh wake up you slumbering, it is time to worship Him.” “Awake My Soul” is calling to the audience and to God, telling us it’s time to rise and rejoice.
Another notable success from the album is “King of Kings.” Taking a more narrative approach, this song tells some of the story of Jesus Christ. Gratitude pours out of this track, a common theme among the album. Lyrics like “Praise forever to the King of Kings. And the morning that You rose all of heaven held its breath” hold a sense of reverence that propels the piece. Listeners can also enjoy a live version of the song as well on the album.
“Awake” comes to a close with its final track “He Shall Reign.” Band member Reuben Morgan takes lead vocals on this one. The verses are beautifully written, though most of the audience’s attention is probably found in the repeating chorus and bridge. Harmonies and a strong drum beat make this an emotive song. The song becomes almost meditative as the lyrics repeat, “And he shall reign, forever and ever.” It’s easy to get lost in the many voices singing at once.
Multiple songs from the album have hit the top ten hot Christian tracks on Apple Music and “Awake” also reached the No. 1 spot for top Christian Albums on Billboard’s charts. Needless to say, Hillsong Worship’s passion has payed off.
The album as a whole is an incredible work of art. It is truly a testament to the glory we can give to God through music. The emotion is palpable and real and is infectious as it stirs up your own willingness to praise. The vocals are powerful and lyrics reflective. It is a resounding cry of humility and gratitude towards the Lord.