I just received the link to samples of the new Hillsong United cd called "Aftermath". Even though they are just 30 second clips I know that this will be a cd that I like. Hillsong United has an advantage that many other bands do not have, they have many many people writing for their records. Normally in a band there is one main guy or gal doing the writing and while the occasional other band members may chip in and get a writing credit now and then it is fairly rare that so many great writers would be writing for one record, except for Hillsong United. Since they are a band originally formed out of multiple bands with no main leader(although to the public many would view Joel Houston or in the past Brooke Fraser as the main leaders), they have drawn together many writers as well. Here are a few of the writers and the songs they've written:
Joel Houston-The Stand, From The Inside Out, Tear Down The Walls(my personal favorite) Brooke (Fraser) Ligertwood- Hosanna Marty Sampson- Came To My Rescue Reuben Morgan- Mighty To Save, Yahweh Matt Crocker- You Hold Me Now, No Reason To Hide Jonas Myrin- Our God, You Alone Can Rescue Darlene Zschech- Shout To The Lord Mia Fields Joel Davies Jad Gillies
There are actually many more writers than I have listed here but this will give you an idea of what they are working with. Thats 10 songwriters that have written songs that are sung all over the world. These writers have 6 songs on the CCLI top 25 list(this means their songs are being sung the most in the world).
So, where am I going with this? While listening to the audio sample and looking at the tracks listed I notice that there is a song on the album twice. It is called "Search My Heart" and it is written by Joel Houston and Matt Crocker. The second time it is listed it has that little note attached to it that says "(Radio Version)." This means Hillsong United is aiming at getting on Christian Radio. Perhaps it is because they have recently changed record labels(they are now on EMI) and now they are signed to the same label with the hugely radio successful artist/worship leader Chris Tomlin. Maybe they now have an inside person who has coffee with the ever so picky christian radio heads and casually hands over this new Hillsong United single and says "Hey, play this new single by that great band out of Sydney. We know people are gonna love it!" Maybe. Who knows how the song will get to the radio stations across the nation but I can tell you one thing, after listening to the song clip, I can't imagine a single station adding it to the playlist. It sounds too good. It sounds too new. It sounds too different. It sounds like what I want to hear on the radio but never do. So will they be able to do it? Oh please please please I hope so, because then this would mean that everything could change. Imagine living in a world that is all black, and grays, and whites. Then one day a storm cloud passes by and a double rainbow appeared. It would be stunning. Your eyes would want more. You would never be able to go back to looking at the black and white knowing there was color out there. You would figure out how to bring that color into your life. This is what I'm hoping a song like this by a band like this could do to Christian Radio. I know, I know I am sounding a bit delusional but sometimes maybe delusional is just strange looking "hope."
Here's why I think they can do it: While the major radio landers have an average 45,000 followers on twitter(Casting Crowns-42,000, Mercy Me-32,000, Third Day-41,000, Chris Tomlin-77,000, Michael W. Smith-88,000) Hillsong United triples them with 130,000 twitter followers. Now I know that twitter is not the end-all tell-all but it is a hint. A hint at what could be. Maybe there are enough people like me out there wanting to see a rainbow.