A Beautiful Exchange

by Babalwa Nyembezi

A compelling, soothing and enticing experience of worship music. A Beautiful Exchange is yet another taste of the excellence that the Australian based, Hillsong LIVE’s Worship Team has to offer to the world. The album does not fail to draw you in as the listener and not only keeps one entertained but enthralled as well by the complicated interweaving of the background instruments that are complemented by simple, beautiful vocals.

The album, released on the 29th June 2009, is the 19th recording by this talented group of young people led by worship leaders Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Darlene Zschech, Brooke Ligertwood and Jad Gillies, among others. A Beautiful Exchange was recorded live at the Sydney Entertainment Centre and has had a great reaction to date from supporters of the Hillsong church. The star rating of this latest offering generally ranges at around five stars.

A Beautiful Exchange being the theme of the album the songs are all based on this theme, each track taking the listener on a spiritual journey that draws one in at the start and at the end gently leaves the listener feeling at peace and in complete satisfaction at the quiet echoes as the last song fades out. The idea of the theme is, according to worship leader Darlene Zschech, the beautiful exchange that took place when Jesus gave His life for people. It is echoed in each song from the first track Our God is Love to the final bars of the last track Forever Reign.

While the lyrics in any worship album are a key element, not exclding this album, the composition of the musical instruments and beats therof is almost just as important as the lyrics. The use of various instruments including the violin, acoustic guitars and the piano add an element of richness and culture to the already satisfying combination of instruments. The sounds created for this album are rich and full, but once or twice in experiencing the music one cannot help but be taken back to previous Hillsong LIVE Billboard hits due to an almost commercial sound in one or two tracks.

Having released 18 extremely successful albums before this one, this too promises to be a roaring success for the group. Inspiring their first US tour and resulting in their highest ranking on the US Christian Billboard Charts placing them at number 1 this group of talented musicians is really going places in the 21st Century and it is up to us to watch this space as they keep the excellence coming at us. The question is not, in this case, wether or not I would buy the CD but rather how many copies of the CD I would buy exactly.


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