Album Review: A Beautiful Exchange

Featuring Hillsong Worship Posted on September 20, 2010

Recorded live Nov. 8, 2009, along with thousands of worshipers gathered together in the Sydney Entertainment Centre and led by worship leaders Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Darlene Zschech and Jad Gillies, among others, the resulting collective expression of worship launches a series of firsts for Hillsong LIVE.  A Beautiful Exchange will be the first release of brand new songs in the alliance announced last month with EMI Christian Music Group, and it launches amidst the group’s first radio single from the album and first ever U.S. tour.

Kim Castro

From Darlene Zschech to Brooke Fraser, Hillsong has consistently created some of the most powerful and beloved worship and praise music in the world. Their new live album entitled “A Beautiful Exchange”, is more of the same…music that moves, encourages, and, in my opinion, will bring the body of Christ to worship in a powerful way.

I love the opening of “Our God is Love”. It is up tempo and has a sweet chorus. The guitar is clean and adds a lot to the tone of the song. All of the musicians are talented, but the drums stand out with interesting rhythms and fills.

“Open My Eyes”…my first impression is of the pad and the electric guitar “singing” in a higher register, a great combination. This song is encouraging, urging the Church to awaken and see the wonder and power of our God. Another contemplative song with a driving beat.

I am drawn in with the opening chords of “Forever Reign”. I really like the repetition in the lyrics. Again, the guitar stands out to me, supporting underneath the vocals but shining between verse and chorus. This is a great song that builds but keeps the focus on God.

“The One Who Saves” is perfect for surrender, for falling on one’s knees and raising hands up to Him. It is both somewhat sad and hopeful, with the vocals urging, “open your heart, offer all, Jesus Christ is here…now.” A beautiful, encouraging work.

Another song that grabs me is “You”, with its opening of keyboard, drums and vocals. I like the sound-it’s slightly different but still congregationally friendly. And “Love Like Fire” sounds vaguely familiar to me-slow, powerful, uplifting-classic Hillsong.

The title track, “Beautiful Exchange”, begins with an atmospheric sound utilizing beautiful effects. It reminds me of a stream flowing among rocks. All of the instruments and vocalists merge to create a gorgeous whole. Definitely my favorite song on the album.

Overall, this album is another extremely strong work from Hillsong-what we have come to expect from these talented musicians. It seems these songwriters, singers, and instrumentalists set the bar higher with each album. I expect this to make an impact around the world.

Bio: Kim Castro is a lover of Christ and family. She is a worship leader and songwriter hailing from central California. Her heart is to obey the Great Commission and to serve others as God leads.

Ryan Rotman

Hillsong Live has given us another fantastic worship album with A Beautiful Exchange. This album holds a collection of songs that come straight from the heart of a body of believers that are seeking hard after God. After listening to the album, these aren’t just words put to music, these are prayers that are set to music and offered as worship to a Holy God, a God of love, a God who saves. These are all songs that are set in a vertical setting, they’re being sung to God, not about God. I think these are exactly the type of songs the church needs. We have so many songs that are in the context of singing about God, we need songs that are sung to Him. These are songs that I believe the church can connect with.

Our God Is Love: An upbeat song, and as the opening track on the CD this would also be a great song as an opening of a service as a call to worship. Every soul every beating heart, every nation and every tongue. Come find hope in the love of the Father. All creation will bow as one. Lift their eyes, see the risen Son, Jesus, Saviour forever and after.

Open My Eyes: Another upbeat song with a lot of energy and the musical arrangement is great. I like this song because there is already an understanding by the believer on the greatness of God, but there is also a longing to continue to learn more. So open my eyes oh God, open my eyes to see all the wonders and the power of Your name. By Your grace I’ll live, by Your grace I’ll see, for my life and my salvation is in You.

Forever Reign: I believe this is an anthem that the church at large can really grab hold of. It’s a little slower with a melody that is easy to catch on to. In times of such uncertainty, when we feel like there’s nothing left, we have a God who loves us and has outstretched His arms for us to run into, a picture of the cross and salvation. I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms, the riches of Your love will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace. Light of the world forever reign.

Bio: Ryan is a worship leader from Northern California.

Angie Brening

Hillsong has set the standard high for years and with their newest album, “A Beautiful Exchange”, they don’t disappoint. This album can be replicated by worship teams and easy taught to congregations to worship along with. It is a collection of genuine anthems of God’s greatness on this earth.

The first song, “ Our God is Love” is a great song to open any service with. The chorus is catchy, singable and the harmonies are easy to learn.

My next favorite is “Forever Reign”. I love how the melody is predictable and in an easy key for many different types of voices. The words are heartfelt and the overall feeling of the song creates an exciting atmosphere to get lost in.

“Love Like Fire” draws you in. The analogy of fire in worship songs can sometimes be “over the head” of new believers. But the words in this song are easily understood. The word picture of how a fire consumes definitely communicates to a new and old Christians alike that God’s love is supposed to consume us and consume our lives. I love songs like these because they are beautiful and poetic but not so intangible that the “regular” person can’t connect to it.


Bio: Angie Brening is currently a worship pastor who is passionate about music, mentoring, empowering & inspiring others to live a life of purpose, on purpose.