Fol­low­ing up such a mas­sive debut album isn’t easy. With 2013’s “We Are Young And Free”, Hill­song Young & Free’s EDM influ­enced pop sound has made a pro­found impact on the church music scene world­wide, and their fol­low up “Youth Revival” strikes many of the chords of con­ver­sa­tion and con­tro­versy that its pre­de­ces­sor does. Its strengths aren’t in its song­writ­ing, though it’s refined, nor are its strengths in its lyri­cal depth, which were arguably stronger in their debut.

The strengths of this record are rooted in the way “Youth Revival” cap­tures the cur­rent cul­tural cli­mate so well. Latch­ing onto famil­iar musi­cal trends, you’d be hard pressed to tell the dif­fer­ence between lead sin­gle “Where You Are” and the lat­est Justin Bieber, though the sub­ver­sive and bril­liant strength of the record is pre­cisely this. The use of big synths, fin­ger snaps and pan-​pipe vocals holds a mir­ror to the pop­u­lar and reflects back a Chris­t­ian worldview.

Youth Revival” is a laser focussed record that under­stands and deliv­ers to its teenage tar­get audi­ence. Sim­ple, catchy melodies are paired with intro­spec­tive lyrics that speak to a level of faith that isn’t com­plex but one of search­ing, affir­ma­tion, long­ing and sur­ren­der. Each song is excit­ing and fresh, and fit com­fort­ably into the pop genre.

While “Youth Revival” is an easy lis­ten, and could be writ­ten off as shal­low and mean­ing­less, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber the pur­pose and tar­get of this type of music. This record is yet another land­mark in Hillsong’s man­date to cap­ture, shift and change pop­u­lar cul­ture for the Kingdom.

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