Album Review: What a Beautiful Name EP

Album Review: Hillsong United’s What a Beautiful Name EP

April 14, 2017
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Worship powerhouse Hillsong United released an eclectic What a Beautiful Name EP. The EP presents six versions of the worship anthem, currently #1 on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs. The studio and live versions are familiar, thanks to Hillsong’s 2016 release, Let There Be Light, and YouTube video with over 18-million views. The band introduces an acoustic and orchestral version on this EP–a slightly different sound with the same depth of emotion and power as the original. The gospel version features the piano behind stirring vocals. Finally, the EDM version comes to you courtesy of Hillsong Young & Free.

Co-writer and Hillsong worship leader Brooke Fraser explains the heart behind the EP. “With the release of the What A Beautiful Name EP this week we are hoping churches from across denominations and stylistic sensibilities can discover a version that uniquely speaks to their context and can equip them to lead this song whatever their setting, whether they have a full gospel choir at their disposal, a DJ set up, or simply an acoustic guitar” (press release).

“What a Beautiful Name” is one of my personal favorites, so I enjoyed the EP upon first listen. The Orchestral Selah stood out as a sort of instrumental psalm. The strings begin the journey of creation. The notes swell through time until the power of resurrection is realized.

The acoustic version invites contemplation on the lyrics. Perhaps more than any of the other tracks, the simplistic presentation of the acoustic recording allows the listener to trace Jesus’s name through scripture–from creation to his birth, then to his death and resurrection.

“What A Beautiful Name” is based on the core scriptures of Hebrews 1:1-4 and Colossians 1:15-20, 26-27. Brooke Fraser explains:

Perhaps some of us understand God loves us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but haven’t grasped His power, ability and will to move strongly in our present circumstances. Or perhaps, we understand God as the supreme, omnipotent Deity He is, but have never known Him close and tender, as a friend acquainted with the depths of our humanity, knowing our flaws cannot perturb His love. Our prayer for this song is that we can all enter into a deeper, more lateral, revelation of the person of Jesus Christ—the epitome of beauty. (press release)

“What a Beautiful Name” is #1 in downloads on the popular worship app, Planning Center, indicating that congregations across the country are singing the powerful lyrics. I have no doubt many of you will hear it in your worship centers and sanctuaries. As you sing, consider the journey through scripture as the song takes you from Jesus’s beauty in creation, the wonder of his birth and life, and the power displayed in his death and resurrection. A beautiful and powerful song that honors the beautiful and powerful name of Jesus.


What a Beautiful Name EP is available for download from your favorite streaming service.

About Hillsong Worship

Hillsong Worship is the congregational expression of worship from Hillsong Church – a global church with local expressions. Their music captures the heart and sound of Hillsong Church globally and represents the coming together of the Hillsong worship team from around the world; including Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Ben Fielding, Dave Ware, Annie Garratt and many more. Since 1992, Hillsong Worship has resourced the local church and received gold and platinum album status multiple times, writing such well-known worship songs as “Shout To The Lord,” “Hosanna,” and “Mighty to Save,” which was awarded the 2009 Dove for Worship Song of the Year. Their 2014 release of No Other Name was awarded the GMA Dove Award for Worship Album of the Year. Their latest live album Open Heaven / River Wild (2015) debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums Chart and Australia’s ARIA Album Chart.

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Kelly Smith is a small town girl who married a small town man. They have three children spanning preschool to teen. Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to find ways to connect with other women who are walking in the shadow of the cross. She blogs at

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