on July 13, 2010
Genesis, Van Halen, newsboys. They all did it. Many legendary acts have introduced a new lead singer amidst their career without missing a beat. So when newsboys announced that dc Talk vocalist Michael Tait would take over for exiting front man Peter Furler--after a natural period of surprise--the band and its fans alike began to relish the positives and possibilities of this fresh start. Some have forgotten that newsboys already changed lead vocalists from original singer John James after Take Me To Your Leader to Peter Furler starting with Step Up To The Microphone. This new album opens with "Born Again," the amazing title track which reflects how newsboys became a band completely renewed. "We've all believed in lies at some point. I had some prodigal years in the past," says Michael Tait. "But I hope the song encourages others to make the same decision I did: "I'm giving Him the best of everything that's left of the life inside this man / I've been born again." Crowd-rallying "One Shot" is where Michael's childhood dreams ("All I wanted was to do the rock thing") meet the newfound joys of being center stage with newsboys, helping spread their kingdom cause even further ("We say there's one way / when push comes to shove we're gonna sing of His love").
The musical hooks and Michael's stellar vocals have raised the bar on what to expect from newsboys. From someone who has collected their entire catalog, this is without a doubt their best album in my opinion. My top 3 albums by newsboys are Born Again (2010), Go (2006), and Going Public (1994). "When The Boys Light Up" is destined to be the album's most celebrated track. A biographical anthem of reignited belief and purpose penned with longtime newsboys collaborator Steve Taylor, it puts every transitional issue anyone might raise to rest. "I was feeling all overcome / Had a faith gone dim and then some / Got a call from a band of brothers . . . / All the doubters I heard them say "now the band's gonna fade away" / But the `boys are back for a second act / No excuses. We're lighting fuses." "Running to You" emphasize the change that must occur in a relationship with God: "More than just emotion, my broken heart has chosen / Jesus, I'm running to You."
What worked for both Go and Going Public is in full effect on Born Again which is that this is a complete album with no filler songs. "Be Still" is an amazing album track from Going Public and "The Mission" is an example from Go. As great as the "hits" are from Born Again, the songs "Impossible," "Build Us Back" and "On Your Knees" are stand-out album tracks that really complete this album in my opinion. The themes are all relatable and I keep coming back to the album tracks which are rich both lyrically and vocally. As if the 10 new songs aren't enough to make this a stand-out album, Born Again also includes 2 surprises at the end, "Mighty To Save" and "Jesus Freak." As arguably the most influential songs of the 1990's ("Jesus Freak") and the 2000's ("Mighty To Save"), what a great way to cap off this excellent album.
Born Again is the HOTTEST album of the year! In comparing top albums this year from former dcTalk members Michael Tait versus TobyMac, advantage Tait and newsboys. If you are looking for musical hooks and lyrics that are not ashamed of the Gospel, you need to get Born Again, hands-down the best album ever by this legendary band. Newsboys already have over 20 #1 hit songs. I expect a few more #1 hit songs from this incredible album, one of my top 5 albums of 2010. "Born Again," "One Shot," "Impossible," "Build Us Back" and "On Your Knees" are among my favorite songs ever by this incredible band.
on April 6, 2011
Yes, Tait really brings a special kind of diversity to the Newsboys sound. Like Toby Mac & Kevin Max, he has successfully extended his music career beyond DC Talk. With 20 quality tracks at a currently great price, this is an *excellent* way to experience the new direction.
A few highlights...
"Born Again"- As soon as I saw the video for this on youtube I was hooked. This band has been involved with building projects in Baja Mexico, and it fits *greatly* with the music video and song. Beautiful place; beautiful people.
"Save Your Life"- Takes the place of "Impossible" on the 1st release. Excellent.
"Miracles"- Tait rocks it here. I can see why they created a video and remix.
"Jesus Freak"- A nice blast from the past with a twist. I like it.
"Way Beyond Myself"- 2 solid versions, original and Flatline remix. It's the very deserving remix contest winner.
... And I can *easily* add more to this list. I hesitated to get the 1st Born Again CD- this newer edition is fantastic! While Peter will always be the quintessential Newsboys leader to me, Tait brings a fresh, new vocal dynamic that I believe will likely increase the appeal & impact of the Newsboys' message over time. It's a radical change, to be sure, but I'm thinking it works! And it's not like Peter can never make another Newsboys appearance. If Duran Duran can return, and Mick Jagger is still performing, I'm thinking *anything's* possible with Peter. :) We'll see!
P.S. And then this... Peter's 1st individual single is available this month, with his 1st full solo CD, On Fire, available June 21st. It's new directions all around for Peter and the Newsboys.
on July 26, 2010
I have to admit that when I heard that Peter Furler was stepping away and that Michael Tait would be the new Newsboys frontman, I did a double-take. Not because I don't like Tait -- I think he has a fabulous voice and have liked his solo stuff since the dc Talk days -- but because it seemed about as drastic a change in a lead singer as a band could make. While I like Furler's singing, what really stood out to me was his 'showmanship', the way he would interact with the crowd as they sang along with some of the most lyrical quips imaginable (thanks in large part to song-writer extraordinaire, Steve Taylor).
As much as I have liked the Newsboys (especially 'Step Up To The Microphone' & 'Thrive'), I must admit that I have lost interest over the last few years as they have been a part of the 'recycled worship' movement that has yielded some nice takes on existing songs, but very little creativity and 'newness' (as in 'Microphone' & 'Thrive'). The Newsboys have been one of my fave bands to see in concert, because they had so much energy and Furler's 'showmanship', but the last few CD's have seemed to lack the creativity and 'punch' that their earlier stuff had.
Enter Michael Tait. While I agree that this CD really doesn't sound like the (early) Newsboys, I feel that it IS an improvement over what they had been slowly drifting into. 'Born Again' carries more energy & emotion, and the title couldn't be more appropriate considering the transformation they are undergoing. I have always liked Peter Furler, but I didn't feel like the last few Newsboys projects had really captured that swagger that he had shown on the early projects and in concert.
Here is a few thoughts on the 'Born Again' CD:
1: BORN AGAIN -- it certainly doesn't take long to hear the difference in the Newsboys, as they start off with a no-nonsense rocker that is lyrically 'up-front' and tailored to Tait's singing style. A very bold song to begin this new era, which obviously refers to the new life one has in Christ, but also to the new life (symbolically) that both Tait and the Newsboys have with this new direction. 10/10
2: ONE SHOT -- I like this song for the very reason that some on here have dissed it -- the fact that it refers to Twitter & FaceBook. While it does date the music, it is also very relevant to the here and now, much like the lyrics that KJ-52 has in some of his songs. Another very up-front song with lyrical boldness, this one is very easy to sing along with. 7/10
3: WAY BEYOND MYSELF -- I like the dance feel this song has, and it again exemplifies the variety and wide range of music that Tait can sing with. I usually prefer good rockers, but I really like the unique sound of this song and find myself repeating it quite often. 9/10
4: IMPOSSIBLE -- another very good song, but to me it is not as strong as most of the other songs. Great message and lyrics (as with all the other songs), but nothing really makes this song stand out like most of the rest. 6/10
5: WHEN THE BOYS LIGHT UP -- now this could be a Peter Furler song! The style of this song is so Furler, and yet it describes the very 'coming together' of Tait and the Newsboys. Very creative song and is very hard to get out of your head (and that's a good thing). 9/10
6: BUILD US BACK -- although it is slow, I really like the message and the way it 'builds' as the song unwinds. great set-up for the next couple of songs on the CD. 8/10
7: ESCAPE -- Here is the song that I am bound and determined to wear out! The lyrical genius of Steve Taylor and a straight-ahead hard rocking sound that deals with a topic that is seldom dealt with -- dealing with temptation. There is no doubt that this is NOT the old Newsboys, as it has a great edge to it. 10/10
8: MIRACLES -- After an opening that either annoys you or hooks you, this song has a very chunky sound that carries you along as it rocks. As with all the other songs on this CD, the lyrics are refreshingly BOLD and do not hold back. This song continues the musical momentum carried over from 'Escape' and is another rocking hit. 10/10
9: RUNNING TO YOU -- My favorite slow song on the CD -- one of the best on this collection. "Running" continues the momentum built by the previous two tracks and makes this trio the best stretch on the CD. 10/10
10: ON YOUR KNEES -- Very good song, but a little cliche in my opinion. Great song regarding the power of prayer and need for it. 7/10
11: MIGHTY TO SAVE -- This is one of my favorite praise songs, and I like the spin the band puts on it. It is indeed a little 'heavier' with more emphasis on the guitar. A new take on a well-known song. 7/10
12: JESUS FREAK -- A remake of a classic, which is almost always a recipe for disaster. It really sounds much like the original, and I am a big KJ-52 fan so I like the rap, but I miss the heavier feel of the original, especially with the screeching guitar near the end of the song. While this version is very very good, it seems like the jagged edges are a little rounded off. 8/10
Overall, I think the quality is top-notch and I really like the boldness of the lyrics -- strong Christian witness without being overbearing or sappy-sweet. As much as I have liked Peter Furler (and still do!), there is no doubt in my mind that Michael Tait is a superior singer who has a much broader range, enabling the Newsboys to be even more diverse now. Every song is very good to great, with the 'Escape-Miracles-Running To You' trio taking best show, along with the title track. A very solid start to what is a very unique band transformation -- I look forward to what lies ahead for the Newsboys as they move forward . . . .
on August 13, 2010
To explain my title, I did not in any way mean that they needed salvation; I have always been impressed with the lyrical quality of the Newsboys. What I mean is that the band seemed to be stuck in the 90's and was becoming increasing irrelevant in today's Christian music culture. Michael Tate has brought the Newsboys to the 21st century with a new sound that, quite frankly, I love a lot more than the stereotypical 90's praise that the boys have been churning out for a while. Below is a review of each individual track on the Born Again STANDARD EDITION cd, or you can just skip to the bottom for a general review:
1. Born Again - 9.5/10 - The title track, and also the first single from the CD, is nearly flawless, combining a catchy pop-rock sound with good lyrics. I can't honestly say they're GREAT lyrics, I've heard more explicitly spiritual ones before, even on this album, but the message is still evident and makes for a great first track.
2. One Shot - 10/10 - One of my favorite tracks off of this CD, One Shot proclaims that believers should always proclaim their love for God, no matter what the circumstance. As many have pointed out, after a while this song will become dated due to its references to Facebook and Twitter ["Things change, just like the Twitter that you update, or the Facebook status on your front page, but there's no comment you can leave to change my mind..."].
3. Way Beyond Myself - 9/10 - A little more pop than rock, this song sounds gorgeous but leaves a little to be desired lyrically. Although dripping with religious metaphor, you'll have to listen closely to hear the actual reference to the Lord in the chorus.
4. Impossible - 6/10 - The first slower song of the CD, the sound is okay but while the lyrics are empowering, a unbeliever might miss the Christianese in them.
5. When the Boys Light Up - 9/10 - A fun pop rock anthem, this songs is reminiscent of a 90's boy band sound, but still expertly produced and lyrically sound, although still mostly metaphoric.
6. Build Us Back - 9/10 - Perhaps my favorite worship song on the album, Build Us Back is a simple yet elegant song about relying on God to build us up when we endure hardships in life.
7. Escape - 7/10 - Bringing us back to the Newsboys' new rock element with a bang, Escape is a really fun rock song with really generic lyrics. While it sounds cool, it almost seems like a distraction from the fact the lyrics in this song have almost no substance to them.
8. Miracles - 10/10 - Another one of my favorites from this album, this track is a powerful rock anthem that is another great testament to the impeccable production values instilled in this album. Some Newsboys fans will still be disappointed with the lack of an actual reference to God, but He is still quite evident in the lyrics ["You got me up from down, faith has shattered my doubt, I believe in miracles"].
9. Running to You - 10/10 - Another great worship song with very explicitly Christian lyrics ["More than just emotion, my broken heart has chosen, Jesus I'm running to You..."]
10. On Your Knees - 9/10 - The final original song on Born Again, On Your Knees examines the journey of a young woman searching for salvation. It never tells of the woman actually accepting Christ, but it does lay out a fairly clear salvation message.
11. Mighty to Save - 8/10 - The only reason this gets as low as a rating of 8 from me is because the Hillsong original has been redone so many times, so many ways that it's just starting to get old. The Newsboys actually did a fantastic job with this upbeat worship track, just wish they could have chosen something a little more unique.
12. Jesus Freak w/ KJ-52 - 10/10 - Many people have scrutinized this track unduly simply because it's a remake of the much-revered dcTalk hit. Here's my version: I actually like the flow of this version better than the original. When comparing the two songs, there are some aspects that sound better than the original, while others can completely ruin the song for diehard dcTalk fans. I will admit that KJ-52's rendition of TobyMac's raps leave something to be desired from the original, but at the same time it is a fresh take which is delivered at the top of his game. It simply depends on your perspective.
Overall, I really like the "reborn" Newsboys. More rock, less 90's pop. Unfortunately, the lyrics did suffer some on this album, probably in an effort to appeal to a wider audience, although the message of Christ is still clearly communicated if you take the album as a whole. One thing that struck me when I was listening to the album's fourth track was that Michael Tate's voice seems to be better suited for rock than contemporary worship. No one can deny that Tate is very talented and has a unique voice, but on the approximately 50% of the album that's targeted toward the CCM crowd, his voice seems to be a bit out of place, a bit too powerful, if you will, for the genre. I wonder if the Newsboys' next album will be more focused on the rock aspect of their rebirth.
on June 24, 2011
Nine new songs or edits are worth the purchase. I never have understood why bands release material with the same songs from the prior CD, but with nine new or re-mixed songs, this will fill the Newsboys appetite until more new music is released. Also, for any Newsboys fan, you will be glad to know that Peter Furler, prior frontman, has just released his first solo effort - On Fire, and it is really good. Check both of these out! Great music! MAD
on January 7, 2015
It is a new Newsboys, different feel, different tune, and totally different lyrics. I liked the older set of albums better than this stuff. its more electronica now than pop or contemporary and lacks the semi-funny lyrics that got me into newsboys, (Breakfast, What can you do with a God like this, and a few others)
on August 14, 2015
Having been a fan of DC Talk my whole life and liking the Newsboys I wasn't sure how I would like the new merging of the 2. I loved it! I didn't think they could make it work but it honestly is a perfect fit having Michael Tait in the band.
on August 4, 2010
(Note: This is a review of the "Deluxe Edition" of the album available on iTunes, which has four extra tracks. Some of the songs mentioned will be from that version of the album.)
When Peter Furler announced his departure from the Newsboys, fans speculated who would take over as frontman for the popular CCM band. The choice: none other than Michael Tait, former member of the bands D.C. Talk and Tait! The choice proved to be a perfect one. Although the sound for Newsboys is a little different with "Born Again," they still provide an awesome batch of songs in praise of our Creator! The standouts on the album include the Title Track, "On Your Knees," their cover of the songs "Mighty to Save" and "Jesus Freak," and the powerful ballads "Give Me to You" and "I'll Be." While there are a couple of missteps, "Born Again" is a terrific album, and proof that even a change in frontman won't stop this band from creating powerful songs for God! A terrific CCM album that I cannot help but highly recommend!
on June 12, 2014
If there was ever a Christian group out there that I would recommend to people of all ages (and believe me...Christian music is not the only music I listen to). Newsboys has become one of my all time favorite groups. Not only is their music uplifting...it is pleasent to listen to...and I myself have downloaded almost all their albums now..the first being 'God's not Dead"...If you have nit heard them ...thus is a most. It has totally changed my outlook on Christianity!. Thank You Newsboys..for helping to open the door!
on December 26, 2014
Love this whole cd! I am a Catholic girl. What can I say...Every song is my favorite! The sounds and words are so good. I would say cool, hip, sexy! The Newsboys are so talented, each one of them! Micheal Taite makes worshipping Jesus look "Mighty Good!" They all do! Praise God! I never even knew who the Newsboys even were until I saw the movie "God's Not Dead." I just
Love how the Newsboys are unapologetic about an active loving relationship with God.