Album Remarks & Appraisals:
These same 12 songs are also featured on DVD and Blu-ray, along with a "Behind The Scenes" documentary and subtitles in 11 languages, reflecting the worldwide reach of Hillsong LIVE. The Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray further features five bonus recordings from Hillsong London: "The Answer," "God Our Salvation," "For All You Are/You Are Good," "All Things New" and "Glorious One/To Bring You Glory."
"From Darlene Zschech to Brooke Fraser, Hillsong has consistently created some of the most powerful and beloved worship and praise music in the world. Their new live album entitled "A Beautiful Exchange", is more of the same... music that moves, encourages, and, in my opinion, will bring the body of Christ to worship in a powerful way.
I love the opening of "Our God is Love". It is up tempo and has a sweet chorus. The guitar is clean and adds a lot to the tone of the song. All of the musicians are talented, but the drums stand out with interesting rhythms and fills.
"Open My Eyes"... my first impression is of the pad and the electric guitar "singing" in a higher register, a great combination. This song is encouraging, urging the Church to awaken and see the wonder and power of our God. Another contemplative song with a driving beat.
I am drawn in with the opening chords of "Forever Reign". I really like the repetition in the lyrics. Again, the guitar stands out to me, supporting underneath the vocals but shining between verse and chorus. This is a great song that builds but keeps the focus on God.
"The One Who Saves" is perfect for surrender, for falling on one's knees and raising hands up to Him. It is both somewhat sad and hopeful, with the vocals urging, "open your heart, offer all, Jesus Christ is here... now." A beautiful, encouraging work.
Another song that grabs me is "You", with its opening of keyboard, drums and vocals. I like the sound-it's slightly different but still congregationally friendly. And "Love Like Fire" sounds vaguely familiar to me-slow, powerful, uplifting-classic Hillsong.
The title track, "Beautiful Exchange", begins with an atmospheric sound utilizing beautiful effects. It reminds me of a stream flowing among rocks. All of the instruments and vocalists merge to create a gorgeous whole. Definitely my favorite song on the album.
Overall, this album is another extremely strong work from Hillsong-what we have come to expect from these talented musicians. It seems these songwriters, singers, and instrumentalists set the bar higher with each album. I expect this to make an impact around the world." -Theworshipcommunity
"If you are a Hillsong fan, this release will be exactly what you are looking for. If you are a fan of intimate worship music, you will be right at home with A Beautiful Exchange. However, if you're a rocker who believes if it's too loud, you're too old, then this probably isn't your cup of tea. But, if you fall somewhere in the middle like I do, then definitely give A Beautiful Exchange a listen. It's as soft as it is powerful and it will help put you in a worship state of mind." -ChristianAbout
"With more than 11-million albums sold worldwide, Hillsong LIVE returns with 12 new songs for its 19th recording, A Beautiful Exchange, set to release June 29 on Sparrow Records.
Recorded live Nov. 8 along with thousands of worshippers gathered together in the Sydney Entertainment Centre and led by worship leaders Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Darlene Zschech and Jad Gillies, among others, the resulting collective expression of worship launches a series of firsts for Hillsong LIVE.
A Beautiful Exchange will be the first release of brand new songs in the alliance announced last month with EMI Christian Music Group, and it launches amidst the group's first radio single from the album and first ever US tour.
Each year Hillsong records songs from its worship community around the world that have resonated with the church throughout the year. Featuring these songs organically crafted in the creative environment at Hillsong Church, one of the world's fastest-growing evangelical ministries, Hillsong LIVE's A Beautiful Exchange includes "Forever Reign," the first radio single to be released from the album. Known for such worldwide worship anthems as "Shout To The Lord," "Mighty To Save," "My Hope," "From the Inside Out," "Hosanna" and many more, "Forever Reign" is a message of hope written by Hillsong LIVE's Reuben Morgan along with Jason Ingram.
"So often I feel like I come to God, and I've got nothing," says Morgan, "but when I feel like there is no good in me, no joy in me, no peace - He is peace, He is joy, He is our salvation. I love that confession. I love singing the chorus of this song with both hands raised: Running to Your arms, the riches of Your love will always be enough. It's been humbling to see how the church has taken ahold of this song."
In addition to the confession of "Forever Reign," A Beautiful Exchange explores themes of sacrifice and redemption in the title track, extraordinary love in "Our God Is Love," and features songs of hope, reconciliation and praise.
"The church didn't want to stop singing, everyone was worshipping with all their hearts," says Autumn Hardman, Hillsong LIVE Music Director, about the night A Beautiful Exchange was recorded. "Every song carried a sense of freshness right from the start, and even in the studio sessions weeks out, we could feel the excitement about this year's recording. Everyone brought their ideas, keyboard sounds, guitar lines, drum grooves, and stayed late into the night many nights working out the songs and arrangements."
"This is Hillsong Church coming together from all over Sydney to celebrate, to pray, to seek God," says Reuben Morgan. "We just press record. This is not about an album. This is really about a church, a family truly seeking God together... A Beautiful Exchange is a picture of that."" -ChristanityToday
Personnel: Jonathon Douglass, Braden Lang, Marcus Temu, Jill McCloghry, Laura Toganivalu, Sheila Gallegos, David Hodgson, Mia Fieldes, David Ware (vocals); Nigel Hendroff, Ben Fielding (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Matt Crocker, Brooke Ligertwood, Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Jad Gillies (acoustic guitar); Timon Klein, Dylan Thomas , Isaac Soon (electric guitar); Hanna Crezee, Lauren Hodges (violin); Jared Dahl (cello); Tim Whincop (trumpet); Elizabeth Gorringe (French horn); Marc Warry (trombone); David Andrew , Autumn Hardman, Peter James (keyboards); Simon Kobler, Brandon Gillies, Rolf Wam Fjell (drums).
Audio Mixer: Sam Gibson.
Recording information: Hillsong Convention Centre (01/24/2010); Sydney Entertainment Centre (01/24/2010); The Dominion Theatre, London (01/24/2010); Hillsong Convention Centre (11/01/2009); Sydney Entertainment Centre (11/01/2009); The Dominion Theatre, London (11/01/2009); Hillsong Convention Centre (11/08/2009); Sydney Entertainment Centre (11/08/2009); The Dominion Theatre, London (11/08/2009).
Photographers: Glenn Stewart ; Anders Jhondal; Jared Steadman.
Arranger: The Hillsong Team.
Hillsong take few, if any, steps away from their long-established tradition of live congregational worship songs on their 19th outing. Once again, the music team from the fast-growing Australia-based church echoes its set of praise with its large-stage sound. Because this album preceded the group's first-ever U.S. tour, co-worship leaders Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, and others saw to it that these songs worked for the masses. As a result, it would be difficult for a believer to imagine an album that's easier to sing along to and more meaningful to understand. Themes include the hope of "The One Who Saves," the confession of first single "Forever Reign," the reconciliation of "The Father's Heart," and the rousing praise of opening track "Our God Is Love." The seasoned worship team doesn't pull out a lot of bells and whistles, but it doesn't have to. The team's core passion manifests itself in a way that transcends simple artistry. Fans of the Passion series and Chris Tomlin will likely enjoy this live participatory approach to worship. ~ Jared Johnson