Hannah Hobbs “Sundown (Live)” Album Review
Prime Cuts: Pouring All My Love, God Song, Yes He Lives
Overall Grade: 3/5
With the recent sex scandals, high profile firings and resignations, and the alleged abuse of staff, Hillsong church is sinking into an ocean of troubles. Sales for both Hillsong Worship and UNITED's latest records have drastically declined with none of them cracking the Billboard Christian album chart top 10. As a result, many are quick to abandon the sinking titanic. Hillsong UNITED has dropped the word "Hillsong" from its moniker. Members in both UNITED and Hillsong Worship have been trying to go solo with Brooke Ligertwood, Benjamin William Hastings, and Hannah Hobbs taking the lead.
Hobbs has had been with Hillsong church for a long time slowly climbing up the rungs. She was first featured as a lead vocalist on the track she co-wrote "Thank You Jesus" on the team's 2014's album "No Other Name." Subsequently, she can be heard singing on tracks such as "Open Heaven (River Wild)" and "Every Breath." "Sundown (Live)" is Hobbs' solo debut. Featuring 8 newly crafted songs, 4 songs she formerly co-wrote for Hillsong, and a cover of the old praise chorus "I Love You Lord," the album looks promising.
Album opener "Yes He Lives," in fact, is very good. A pop offering with a big chorus, this is definitely a candidate for being ranked high up there with Hillsong's classics such as "No Other Name" and "God is Able." Hobbs showcases her emotional side with the stunningly heartfelt, "Pouring All My Love." This is a song that was inspired by Mary's pouring out of her ointment at the feet of Jesus. The way the ballad segues into "I Love You Lord" is priceless. The sovereignty of God has not been more eloquently phrased than on UNITED's "God Song" (which Hobbs' co-wrote): For You reign in realms we'll never find/And You dwell in worlds outside our view/Oh You care to own this heart of mine/So I must be made to worship You.
However, there are a few missed opportunities. Instead of giving us her take of Hillsong's "Thank You Jesus" (which is underrated and it deserves to be released as a single), Hobbs only sings a couple of lines of the chorus again and again. The same can be said about "I Love You Lord" --- it's time this beautiful ballad gets a new lease of life with added verses and a bridge, but Hobbs does nothing new to it. Then in the middle of the album we get a 10-minute instrumental track as in the title track "Sundown." Without much modulation in the song structure, the song destroys the momentum the album has had been building so far.
Then there are the songs that fall into the singer-songwriter curse where they are so similar to each other that they flow from one into another without distinction. "Broken Into Beautiful," "Without You" and "Let It Be Lovely" fall into this category. Overall, the album does have its commendable areas, but like many singer-songwriter records, it also falls into the "same-ness" trapping.
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