The Newsboys Experience: Part Two

Love Liberty Disco (1999) ****

For the first time in their career, the Newsboys release two albums with the exact same line up. Taking the production duties into his own hands, Peter Furler creates an album buzzing with retro touches. The look and sound of the entire disc evoke the Seventies. There are hints of disco and hints of pop (think Electric Light Orchestra) that further build upon the theme. I saw them on this tour in the inflatable Air Dome. It was a great show.

Thrive (2002) ****

Steve Taylor returns to the fold with this one and the band continues to put our their brand of quirky guitar pop. There are definitely some Jeff Lynne moments on this one. Giving It Over hearkens back to E.L.O.’s Don’t Bring Me Down. There are plenty of catchy songs as well as the exceptional worship tune, It Is You. This, in my opinion was the last great album before Furler left the band.

Newsboys Remixed (2002) *

I’m not a huge of fan of dance remixes so the majority of this one just goes over my head. There are a couple of interesting choices but not enough for me to recommend the entire album.

Adoration: The Worship Album (2003) ***

Due to the success of It Is You, the Newsboys refocused their career and spent the next three years releasing worship songs. Their versions sound sincere and they are well produced but they came along at a time when it seemed everyone was putting out a worship album.

Devotion (2004) ***

Jody Davis was out of the band at this point and it honestly felt like they were just going through the motions. This is another collection of straight worship songs. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing to write home about either.

GO (2006) ***

This is the twelfth studio album from the band and it follows a compilation that took songs from the previous three albums and packaged it as another worship album. There are some good tunes here (Steve Taylor contributes to a couple) but by this point it really felt like the band had started to decline. I do like their version of I Am Free and Wherever We Go does recapture a bit of their earlier wit.

GO Remixed (2007) *

I wasn’t a fan of the first remix album and I can honestly say that I have never given this one much of a chance. The song City To City was in the movie Cars 2, that’s about all I can say.

Houston We Are GO (2008)

I have to refrain from rating this one because I have never listened to it. I have never really wanted to listen to it. It appears between two “greatest hits” compilations so I have never honestly considered it. Sorry.

In The Hands Of God (2009) ***

This album marks the return of Jody Davis and is the last album with Peter Furler on lead vocals. Michael Tait sings some backing vocals here and there and Steve Taylor does contribute to the songwriting but it is a far cry from the glory days of Take Me To Your Leader. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a bad album but it is obvious that the band (with Furler at the helm) had run its course.

Born Again (2010) ****

Michael Tait took over on vocals during the tour for In The Hands Of God and made his recorded debut on this one. I really expected this to be the last Newsboys album but have to admit that I am pleased that it was just the start for their new career. There are some solid songs here that bring Tait’s former band into the mix, including a cover of Jesus Freak.

Christmas! A Newsboys Holiday (2010)

I cannot rate this one because I have never heard it. I really don’t want to hear it either.

God’s Not Dead (2011) ****

This one slips into the modern worship category. It features songs from various worship leaders, all done in the new Newsboys high energy rock-pop style. It’s nice hearing Kevin Max in the backing vocals but it almost makes you feel like you’re listening to DC Talk. Nothing against John James or Peter Furler, but Michael Tait is the best singer they have ever had.

Live In Concert: God’s Not Dead (2012)

I have not heard this album either.

Restart (2013) ***

This album is consistent with the new sound and features some solid songwriting. It fits in with modern mainstream pop music that non-Christians would not be turned off my it. The Newsboys don’t write their own songs any longer (with few exceptions) but they do go to the best that CCM has to offer.

Hallelujah For The Cross (2014) ****

I absolutely love this album. Instead of doing another modern worship album, they have done older hymns (and a couple of newer tunes) in the same style that they currently utilize. They even dust off Where You Belong/Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus from the Not Ashamed album. Maybe it’s because of my age, but this is my favorite album since Michael Tait joined the band.

So there…you have it. I don’t think I can rank them the way I did the Petra albums. You’ll just have to use my ratings.

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