All Of My Best Friends

All Of My Best Friends

“I think the whole reason why this project was special is because we just decided that we're going to write music that we love and music that we ultimately want to listen to,” Hillsong Young & Free singer and songwriter Melodie Wagner tells Apple Music, referring to the highly collaborative group’s sonically savvy new album All of My Best Friends. “So that's why you hear R&B influence, then the pop-punk and contemporary pop. We wanted to make a project that sounded like 2020, that sounded like us, that sounded like a big mix of people and experiences and music.” It’s an approach that joins together both physical and spiritual release for the band’s youthful audience, 4,000 of whom were present for the live recording of the album at Sydney’s Hillsong Church in January. “I think most songs speak to all of us coming together,” says another of the band’s worship leaders, Aodhan King. “We imagined this completely in a live setting, and we did everything we could creatively to help that and to support the live experience of worship. Then the world changed, and we're releasing this hugely communal music into an environment that is the complete opposite. What messages you want to put out into the world has been something that’s more important than ever, because you're speaking to people that are listening and people that are watching.” Wagner and King have stories to tell about each of the tracks on the project. World Outside Your Window Aodhan King: “The intention of that song was for 4,000 people to sing the words and to jump and to dance, which is what they did. That song kind of naturally fit the start of the album. The night when we recorded at the summer camp, it was the song that we started the night with and it was a song that we ended the night with. What's funny about that song is the title of the song, ‘World Outside Your Window,’ it feels so poignant to the time right now, when you think about everybody who's locked up in isolation. It makes more sense now than it did when we wrote it, when everyone was able to go outside.” Never Have I Ever Melodie Wagner: “We did a two-week writing camp. Myself, Joshua Grimmett, and Michael Fatkin went in and I had the idea for a song called ‘Never Have I Ever.’ It's familiar, but let's put another spin on it.” Best Friends AK: “That song was very much for the idea of unity and togetherness, which is a thread throughout this album. Every time we make a Young & Free record, we are focused on our youth group and youth meetings that have been at our church every Friday night. I think we wanted to just remind young people that, ‘Hey, you don't need to do this alone. Being Christian or worshiping God is not something that you have to keep to yourself, but is something that you can do with your best friend, and with community.” Indescribable MW: “Ben [Tan] and I, ‘Indescribable’ was one of the first things that we mumbled when we were playing around with melodies on this song. That was just a placeholder, just saying, ‘You're indescribable.’ It might sound like a love song that a person would sing to another person, but I think worship is, in essence, us singing our love and our praises and adoration towards God. But it's like, how do you describe back to God, creator of the universe, how you feel about him? We just wanted to take the thinking out of it and have it feel as natural and organic as possible.” As I Am AK: “In this song, we were speaking to a really important topic, unity and everybody being made in the image of God, which I guess for us as Christians is such simple language, but for some reason on the earth at the moment, that seems to be something that people are not fully understanding. Mel and I wrote this with a friend called Michael Fatkin.” MW: “Production-wise, we went back and forth for a long time on how we wanted it to sound. We had a few different demos. But I think where it ended up is where it was meant to end up. There's a lot of gospel influence on this song. We were listening to a lot of Chance the Rapper.” Uncomplicated AK: “That song was definitely an attempt to get back to those simple, old-school worship roots, to compel people to simplify and come to Jesus in a way that's not through a million hoops. Jack McGrath and Brendan Tan and Joshua Grimmett had most of the song, and then I heard and I was so stirred by it, so I guess that was a good sign.” New Thing MW: “‘New Thing’ is very much what we would call a prophesying song. It's taking that scripture, when it’s God saying, ‘Behold, I'm doing a new thing. Do you not see it? Do you not perceive it?’ This song is speaking into what's beyond what we can see right now. It's meant to be faith-building. It's really close to my heart, and I think it could be a really incredible encouragement to anyone who's listening.” Need Your Love AK: “When we set out to write this song, we were like, ‘Let's make a house [music] song. Let's make a song that feels like the beginnings of Young & Free but also just feels like a huge dance party.’ When you have 4,000 young people in a room, all you want to do is get them jumping and having fun with their friends and whatnot. So this song was 100% intentionally for that reason. Lyrically, we wanted it to feel simple, so they can sing it back to us. That's always been how we made our songs. It would be this spontaneous on a night where it feels almost like the young people are writing the song with you.” Glimpse AK: “That song was very much '80s-inspired. The girl who wrote it, her name is Karina [Savage]. She's in a band called Glades. The music is that indie pop, '80s vibe. Our genre of music, Christian music, I guess we just see as genre-less in some ways. We've always gone, ‘We need a fast song and a slow song.’ And some of those midtempo songs like ‘Glimpse’ have been so loved, because they're not the usual kind of spots that we would hit when we're writing songs.” Keep On MW: “The night of the record, I'm pretty sure that was the first time that anyone had heard this song, congregation-wise. Our youth ministry, any way that they can be involved and put their imprint on a song, they're going to do, and we love it. That song’s all about 'keep on keeping on.' Short, simple, but I love what it means.” All My Life AK: “I remember we were calling it the Celtic song for a while, because it was reminiscent of some of those beautiful Celtic hymns. I can't imagine the album without that song now. On the night, it was just such an incredible moment. Everybody's singing along. When we got to the chorus, that song just felt like this incredible release and beautiful moment.” Everything I Could Want MW: “We introduced that song on the night as well. I think because the song was so hooky, they gravitated to it and caught on so quickly. I think that's even an element to why it is memorable, because it distinguishes itself against other worship music, and especially music that you're hearing in church. This is the social media generation, so comparing yourself is just second nature. We wanted to have a song that says, ‘What's the use comparing, worrying and stressing and trying to keep up with everyone? What is it actually good for?’” Lord Send Revival AK: “That song at the time was written around the Australian bushfires. In Australia, in that time, November through to January, you would walk outside your house and the sky was completely covered with smoke for three months. ‘Lord Send Revival’ was a prayer and petition for the Australian bushfires, asking God that he would heal the land and pour out his raining spirit and get rid of these fires. When COVID hit, it felt right to release this song around the time everything just seemed the most uncertain. It’s a song of desperation, for sure.”

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