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Newsboys take some risks and it pays off
on September 10, 2013
Countless shows and two studio albums over the past four years have proven that the Michael Tait brand of Newsboys sells. The previous two releases with Michael Tait were somewhat forgettable overall, but their third release is thankfully more memorable, and that is largely because the Newsboys delivered on their promise to push the musical envelope and take some risks.
This sounds nothing like any previous Newsboys album. Over their 16 studio project career (over 25 years), they have explored many facets of pop/rock. This time around, they boast a dance-pop sound. We started hearing it on Born Again and God's Not Dead, but it's pushed even further here. They explore elements of dub-step ("That's How You Change The World"), bubbly Brit pop/rock ("Go Glow", "Fishers of Men"), modern pop ("Restart", "Love Like I Mean It", "Disaster", "Enemy"), a piano ballad ("That Home") and a CCM'y sound with an electronic flare ("Live With Abandon", "One Word", "We Believe"). Many of these songs sound like today's secular radio dance songs and it's pulled off very well.
Lyrically, the album features positive and encouraging messages. It's been a while since we've heard the quirky lines or thought-provoking lyrics of former Newsboys. With Tait, the quirkiness we've seen with older Newsboys songs like John Woo, Take Me To Your Leader, Live In Stereo (random tracks that popped into my head) are non-existent, but there are plenty of clever lyrics, such as "Seven billion people on a spinnin' ball / And they all mean the world to You" on "Fishers of Men". Other lyrics off the album are often worshipful and anthemic in nature. Most of the songs also have a big catchy chorus and have a strong youth appeal.
Highlights off the album include dub-step influenced "That's How You Change the World", bouncy "Fishers of Men", and the stripped down piano ballad "That Home". While being far from a masterpiece, this album is a very solid pop/rock/electronic album with anthems for living out the Christian faith. There is enough risks taken to be a musically engaging album while still feeling coherent. 3.5/5
If you interested in picking up this album, consider spending a few extra extra dollars to pick up the deluxe edition which has a handful of new tracks.