IT’S OKAY TO SOUND BAD “LIVE”

Today, I’m including one of the most interesting Hillsong United videos I’ve ever seen.

Because it’s bad.

Hillsong puts out some of the most orchestrated, polished and well-played songs in Christian music. Fan or not, you have to respect the enormous amount of work they’ve put into maintaining creative output and working toward excellence.

But in this video, they don’t sound very good. Without a lot of post-production and abundance of guitar overdubs, they sound like a church band. Watch the video.

Notice a few things:

  1. One of those acoustic guitars are out of tune just a little bit. And both guitars seem to playing in the same register, which highlights in rhythmic variations between the two.
  2. The mix is weird. When the first guy starts singing, they don’t have his mic up enough. There’s an obvious moment where somebody realizes they need more gain and they turn him up.
  3. You can’t hear the piano.
  4. You can’t hear the kick drum.
  5. You can’t hear bass.
  6. You can’t hear all those vocalists.

I love this video because it reminds me that real worship sounds like real people playing and singing. Real worship includes bad sound and out-of-tune guitars and even the awkward pause now and then.

The next time you listen back to a live recording of your team, just remember that it takes thousands of dollars, rooms full of equipment and unlimited takes/tracks to make perfect sounding songs. And you don’t need any of that for God to be glorified in song.

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2 comments

  1. Kelly Perkins

    Great points…Everyone in our Worship Team is very perfectionistic, but, what it all boils down to is the Heart Of Worship, not the technique of Worship…

    • toddwright

      Yeah, and I don’t think worship bands fully understand just how much production goes into making albums. Somewhere along the way, churches learned that they’re supposed to sound like CDs. Which I don’t think is a good way to make music for cong. worship.

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