Born Is the King
With Hillsong’s Born Is the King, the prolific Christian rock group from Australia presents an elegant collection of worship songs for the holiday season. It starts with “The Westward Procession,” where an overture of orchestral production sets the stage for a baroque-pop rendition of “Joy to the World.” Banjo strings and organ drones accompany the heavenly vocals of celebrated folk singer Brook Fraser. The soulful “Born Is the King (It’s Christmas)" follows with a huge, panoramic sound. Hillsong incorporates Indonesian instrumentation into a wonderfully wistful version of “Emmanuel,” where Fraser’s feathery vocals float over lilting piano notes. Joel Houston’s androgynous voice croons lovingly over an acoustic guitar–based version of “We Three Kings,” where he inflects very similarly to the late, great Jeff Buckley. They turn “O Come Let Us Adore Him” into a six-and-a-half-minute epic replete with grandiose orchestral accompaniment. A lullaby version of “Silent Night” closes.