Saturday, November 22, 2014

#96 ONE DESIRE - Hillsong


Way back in my review of Hillsong's High and Lifted Up I spoke of the Hillsong conundrum. Essentially, the Hillsong conundrum is that they've put out so much stuff, and so much of it is so very good, that it's hard to figure out which songs to put on the list, and where they should go. It's like trying to figure out who was the best kid I ever had in youth group. I mean, as a youth leader, you just can't pick your favorite like that.

Of course, I immediately received thousands of letters saying that I was crazy, and that I just made up the Hillsong Conundrum and that it's not real. Well, after listening to the album Blessed in advance of this review, I can tell you that - unlike Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Global Warming - the Hillsong Conundrum is real. Oh, and by the way, why are you guys writing me letters? You could just email me or leave a comment.

Like it or not, Hillsong is the Beatles of modern worship music, and as such they've got to have a bunch of songs on any top 100 list. At some point in the future, when I have more than two readers**, we'll have some kind of write-in thingy and vote for our all-time favorite Hillsong songs and Hillsong albums. I can't tell you what my favorite song is (that would give too much away for later), but I can tell you that I'm pretty sure that Blessed is my favorite Hillsong album.

** Every post I like to put in a joke about how nobody reads this blog and how my readers leave when I say something offensive. I like the jokes, so I'm going to leave them in, but the actual truth is that every single time I've posted a new song and sent it out via Facebook, I've gotten more views than the previous time. 

I mention this because I know that some of you are reading my weirdness and thinking, "Am I the only loser who reads this?". No, you're not the only one who reads this. So ok, it's not hundreds of people who read this, but it is dozens. #HashtagGoAndy! (am i doing the #hashtag thingy right?, I'd like to start trending)

One of my concerns when I decided to start this blog was that as I was studying these songs for the list, that I'd lose my appreciation for them. I imagine that's what it's like for a Christian artist who comes up with a great song, and then they have to record it over and over and over until they get it right; and then when it becomes a hit, they have to sing it again, and again, and again. My thinking was that if I examined each song too closely while reviewing it, I'd get tired of it and wouldn't appreciate it anymore.

Trying to fit all the great Hillsong songs into a small list is like trying to shove a big cat into a little sink

However, much to my surprise, rather than losing appreciation for the songs I review, I'm actually gaining appreciation for the songs. I've always thought that One Desire was a pretty decent song, but now after reading about the Blessed album and watching the videos, I'm starting to think the song should be much higher on the list. That's happened a few times already with the songs I've done so far.

For instance, did you know that Blessed was recorded live in front of 10,000 people? That's TEN THOUSAND people. Wow. To put that in perspective, that 20,000 times as many people who read my blog (still kinda funny). Also, most of the songs on the album list someone as 'lead vocal', and someone else as 'lead backing vocal', which I can only assume is a common practice.

But One Desire lists Darlene Zschech and Marty Sampson both as lead vocal, with no lead backing vocal. Now, as you listen to the song, particularly the verses, you can hear both of them, but you can't really tell who's in the 'lead'. It's almost beautiful how their voices melt together and neither one's voice overpowers the other's. Just neat.

Another thing that shouldn't matter but does is that the Blessed cover art is pretty cool. Hillsong usually does a pretty good job, but this one is exceptional. Oddly, one of the many reasons that critics panned Hillsong's terrible Something About Jesus, And Worship, and Blah, Blah, Blah album was the fact that they just didn't put in the same type of stellar effort on that album's cover art. I'll compare the two albums and let you decide:

And yes, because many of you have asked, I personally do all the graphics on this site.

And yet one more great thing about the song One Desire - does anyone else remember the fake ending? Shortly after the 5 minute mark in the song, the song starts winding down. The wind down takes a little over 30 seconds and you're positive that the song is over. And then, BLAM-O!, the drums come pounding back in, they hit the chorus again, and the song keeps going for about another whole minute. 

The real sucky part is that the real ending then sounds just like the fake ending, so you're never really sure if it's over yet. People in worship be like, "Can I put my hands down now"? Those of you who are frequent readers of mine know exactly how that feels. Well, goodnight...

...and, fake ending.

OK, here's what I want to do. I think most of us would agree that Hillsong is the #1 artist in modern worship history, just like the Beatles are the best group ever. But what I want to know is this: Who is the best artist in modern worship RIGHT NOW?

What I want you to do is vote on who you think is tops in the worship music biz right now. In order for you to understand what I'm asking, I want you to answer this question:

If all the top artists put out a new album on the same day, and you have no idea what's on any of them, AND you can only buy one brand new, never heard before album, which one do you buy?

And, if the artist you had in mind is not on my intentionally small list, please go to the comments section and list any other artists you think should be on this list.

And, as kind of a spoiler alert (**spoiler alert**), our next song, song #95, will be by the artist that I would buy if I could only buy one, and that artist isn't on this list either. I'm curious to see if anyone mentions him. Or her, Or them. Or it.

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