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For All You've Done

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Sep
For All You've Done
Sounds like … the contemporary worship pop Hillsong is known for, with scattered moments of energetic praise rockers a la United or SonicfloodAt a glance … an overabundance of lengthy epics, ineffective melodies, and muddy mixing make For All You've Done the weakest Hillsong release thus farTrack ListingDisc OneFor All You've DoneOne WayEvermoreWith All I AmSing (Your Love)HallelujahYou Are WorthyHomeDisc TwoForever and a DayJesus the SameI Will LoveTake All of MeMore Than LifeGlorify Your NameTo You Alone

The music of Hillsong Australia has evolved much since its simple yet energetic mid-nineties glory. As they've grown in popularity, the team has moved from synthetic horns and campy choruses to grander arrangements and more accessible melodies. And the worship team—vocalists (including Darlene Zschech), choir, musicians, and miscellaneous instrumentalists—seems to get bigger with each new release, reaching its zenith with 2002's Blessed, an extravagant album that flawlessly married the vitality of United (the church's youth band) and the more elegant side of the adult team.

With the double-disc sets Hope and now For All You've Done, it seems Hillsong's creative forces are either stuck in a rut or desperately trying to fulfill its obligatory one-album-per-year quota. The latest United release, More Than Life, suffered from this same problem, and the fact that five songs from it found their way onto For All You've Done call into question just how fresh this material is. Rather than serving up a cohesive, one-disc collection of the year's best choruses, we get an erratic, ill-paced worship mammoth that's spread over two discs, with an excess of generic ballads in between.

Of the album's 15 tracks, for example, four are energetic numbers, two are mid-tempo, and a whopping nine of them are slow—and I do mean slow—ballads. Except for "Forever and a Day," Disc Two alone is an interminable snoozefest replete with songs that are heartfelt, but ultimately indistinguishable from one another. Less is more would've definitely helped here, and it's something Hillsong will have to understand if it doesn't want its releases to collapse under the weight of their own arsenal.