In 2006, Hillsong United released United We Stand – a game-changing worship album that established Hillsong as a force unafraid to diversify, experiment, and otherwise challenge our expectations.   2013 seems to be the year they reinforce that image. Earlier this year, Hillsong United shook things up with the progressive and innovative arrangements of Zion.

Now Hillsong Young & Free step into the action with their debut, We Are Young & Free (Live).  The latest musical iteration from Hillsong Church have produced one of the more distinct sounds to come out of this local church in recent years. We Are Young & Free could be a game changer.

We Are Young & Free is most definitely an anthem album. Party songs like “Alive” “Wake” and “In Sync” perfectly capture the current pop culture scene and offer a God glorifying alternative that this current youth generation has been waiting for.

Musically this album is a bullseye: well-produced, thoughtful musicianship, and tasteful additions of EDM (electronic dance music) elements.  Worship bands like the David Crowder Band and more recently, the Worship Central movement, have done a great job at incorporating electronic sounds and elements into their music, but never really knocking it out of the park and appealing more to a young adult demographic than to teenagers.

Lyrically, all the basics of Christian theology are there; however, true to the Hillsong brand, an emphasis on God’s love and His grace is laced on every track of this album.  It would be great if they departed more from the out-of-the-box worship lexicon, but the target audience isn’t likely to complain.  And honestly, there could be worse things than giving your youth group something fresh, energetic, relevant.

All in all, this is a stand-out disc that nails it for their target youth audience. We Are Young & Free will be a welcome addition to any iPod, pre-youth group music rotation or workout mix.

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