Hillsong Worship, one of the most established church-based praise and worship collectives, has a catalog packed with live albums—one for nearly every year since 1992—and those recordings capture congregations fervently singing along. Awake was made differently: Hillsong’s leaders brought their songs into the studio. “The sound of Hillsong Worship is the sound of the church, primarily,” explains Brooke Ligertwood, who leads the group and coproduced the album. “You put on a record and you can hear our church singing. Before we entered this process, we had to ask ourselves some questions: What's the sound of our community when you take it out of that live context?” Many of the arrangements build toward anthemic pop-rock catharsis, progressing from hushed single-voice intros to billowing guitars, keyboards and choral harmonies and churning tom-tom patterns, all treated with reverb and ambient effects that give the tracks an immersive quality. Here Ligertwood goes through each of the album’s 12 tracks. Dawn “That's a spontaneous instrumental that happened when we went in to run the song ‘Awake My Soul’ for the first time. There’s a rustling texture that you can hear that starts to come in about halfway through that’s actually the sound of praying. So, we had a bunch of our worship leaders come into a room and actually pray for the people who would listen to the album—pray for churches, pray for pastors, pray for refugees, pray for the suffering, pray for single parents, pray for the sick. I love the thought that when people first put on this album, whether they know it or not or can hear it or not, they're actually being prayed for.” Awake My Soul “Sometimes when we're approaching writing worship songs for our church, you approach it in a way where you're asking yourself, ‘How can I best serve the congregation right now?’ But then as songwriters as well, it's our personal art. So sometimes the stuff that you write as a songwriter, you're not necessarily thinking about anybody else singing it, but it's your own way of processing or your own way of praying. This was one of those songs for me; I was actually picking my kids up from preschool when it came to me. It's a song about when you hear a group of people in a room praying or singing to God, what we hear is the sound of the music and the sound of singing, but what God hears is the sound that our hearts are making, the sound of faith. In return, when God manifests himself in a place, it's almost as if we can hear him walk into the room by perceiving it with something in our souls that was designed to be that antennae to what's happening in the heavenly realm. So, it's the idea of a sound begetting a sound, in a way.” Come Alive “There's a really famous scripture in Ezekiel 37 about dry bones coming to life and the prophet praying over these dry bones and them standing up and getting flesh and tendons on them and then becoming people. That scripture has been written about in so many songs and sermons, but I think what [songwriters] Ben Hastings and Scott Ligertwood and Michael Fatkin did with this particular interpretation of that scripture was come at it from a really fresh angle. It's a song that commands something inside you to come alive and to command the dry places to rise up and flourish once again.” See the Light “I think this is a song that's going to be really usable in churches. It's a really simple but powerful confession of faith fit to a really bright and contemporary arrangement.” No One but You “Lyrically, it starts very intimate and personal and talking about what the Lord has done for you personally. It starts with a single vocal, Aodhan King's vocal, and then grows and grows and becomes this multilayered musical monster with all the voices in the world. It ends up being an invitation to all of creation to worship.” King of Kings “It has a really simple and repetitive melody, which gave us an opportunity to put a lot of words in there. When you have an opportunity to write a lot of words, it's always good to tell a really good story. And as Christians, our very best story is the story of the Gospel and the story about what Jesus did, and the implications of that for us today.” I Will Praise You “That's a devotional song which also touches on the theme of the cross, which is really great and really simple. There’s an accessible declaration in the chorus that, I think, both individuals and churches can connect to.” From Whom All Blessings Flow (Doxology) “The chorus is actually the original doxology ‘From Whom All Blessings Flow.’ Then we wrote new verses and a new bridge fit to that ancient chorus. But one really cool thing that happened as we were researching about that was we found out that the melody was from the Genevan Psalter, which originated in the 1500s. It was almost like a modern revival of worship at that time. Because at that point in history in Europe, when people came to church, it was the clergy chanting in Latin. And then John Calvin in the 1500s started to teach that all people should be able to come to church and sing to God in a language that they understood. And so the Psalter was put together as a response to that teaching—the idea that worship wasn't just for the clergy, wasn't just for people with theological degrees, but that worship was for everyone.” Every Breath “That was one of the first songs that came in written by one of our awesome worship leaders in Sydney, Hannah Hobbs, and Ben Tan. It's a chill moment. In church, we use a lot of songs that get really big, very big declarations, and then you also need the songs that you can just sit into like a really well-worn and comfy couch.” Bright as the Sun “In all his writing with Hillsong United and Hillsong Worship over the years, Joel Houston’s really given a generation a new kind of devotional language. He's one of the best lyricists ever, I think, and so here we have a classic Joel Houston song: a lot of words, all extremely poetically placed in a really beautiful devotional journey that grows and gets you to a place that you perhaps didn't expect to get to at the beginning of the song.” Upper Room “It seems very obvious, but that was a song that should be just a single-voice song; it felt like something that's just narrated by one person.” He Shall Reign “Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding have taken Handel's Messiah chorus and written really classic, beautiful melodies and simple lyrics around that theme. So this is a really classic church song.”

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