* Despite some upbeat songs such as 'Running' and 'Endless Light', I find this album highly depressing. Songs like 'Greater Than All', 'I Desire Jesus' or 'Grace Abounds' could put me to sleep in a heart beat. Not because they are slow, but because nothing new or interesting is being said.... In fact that could be said for the whole album. We get it you love Jesus.... Love is good.... Blah blah blah. Then again, that might just be because as a church, what else is there to sing about? Last edited: 15/07/2012 13:05
****** This album marked a huge change for Hillsong. Rather than making polished albums and churning them out year after year, they finally discovered the concept of...singles!! "You mean, you can release an individual song and get radio to play it?!" "What a genius idea!" Humour aside, this is when Hillsong really began to raise their profile in the public sphere and also among Christian circles. Radio embraced their songs, churches began to pick up tracks for their services. While this had been done before, it hadn't been done on a very large scale until this album.
With a new direction targeting new audiences, this album had a very subtle shift compared to previous Hillsong albums, and for this example I will use "God Is Able." "God Is Able" was very completely and consistent, with the entire album being a very strong listen. With "Cornerstone," the attention was shifted to making individual tracks stronger (for potential singles), rather than building the strength of the album based on the entire tracklisting as a whole. This shift from thinking as an album to thinking as singles led to this album containing some of their most significant and strongest tracks in years, particularly "Cornerstone" becoming their most ubiquitous classic in the last few years.
This led to a few downfalls with this album though. With some songs so good, you'll have some not as good. This album had a fair few duds unfortunately, and consistency that really struggled to match "God Is Able." There are many times in this album where you'll have to sit through a few dull moments, eagerly waiting for the next satisfying highlight. I guess you can't have everything I guess. With a subtle new direction, it's always hard to get things good on the first try as well. As for the album after this though...
Sound wise, I like how Hillsong have continually developed their production techniques, and this would eventually come to full fruition with their subsequent albums ("Zion" and "Glorious Ruins"). "Running" and "Praise Him" really show their potential with upbeat tracks, which I really hope they do more of in the future. "Love So High," "I Surrender" and "Love Knows No End" really showcase their always brilliant ballad-writing and it's always good to know they can still nail their uplifting anthems (albeit their cliche formula) "Cornerstone."
I am still a little bitter that "Hope of the World" was the lead single of this. For a decision to make and release singles, this was a very poor choice and probably a hint that they still didn't understand the concept. That said, they certainly made the right choices with "Cornerstone" and "Running" being the follow-ups that were very well embraced. Indeed, basically everyone bar a few radio stations has already forgotten "Hope of the World" exists.
As I said, this album contains some of Hillsong's best ever, despite not being a very consistent album. Best tracks from me are: "Running," "Love So High," "Cornerstone," "Praise Him," "I Surrender," and "Love Knows No End."
1. Endless Light (6) 2. Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise) (6) 3. Cornerstone (6) 4. I Surrender (6) 5. Hope of the World (4) 6. All My Hope (3) 7. Grace Abounds (4) 8. Running (6) 9. Children of the Light (6) 10. Stand In Awe (4) 11. Love Knows No End (6) 12. Greater Than All (5)
Bonus tracks: 13. Love So High (6) 14. I Desire Jesus (5) 15. Praise Him (6)