- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 1 Oct
- Wherever We Go
- Something Beautiful
- The Mission
- Let It All Come Out
- In Wonder
- Your Love Is Better Than Life
- I Am Free
- Secret Kingdom
- The Letter
- Gonna Be Alright
Newsboys have been anything but idle in recent years, yet lots of their fans have been wondering where they've gone. Some felt the (mostly) Aussie band began to get too serious with
Happy to report that the fun side of the newsboys has finally resurfaced after a five-year hiatus with
The greatest strength of the newsboys has always been Furler's natural gift for infectious melodies and hooks. Some have compared it to ABBA—I'd say closer to '80s bands like Duran Duran, a-ha, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. You can tell from the opening tom thunder of the radio single "Wherever We Go" that it'll play tremendously well in concert with its stadium-friendly chant, "Hands up, holler back here/Let's throw this party in gear, we brought the welcome mat/Wherever we go, that's where the party's at." The title track is similarly even more irresistible with its electronic flavored funk, and an awesomely produced chorus that belies the talents of co-producer Tedd T (Mute Math, Rebecca St. James).
"Something Beautiful" bears a similar dance rock vibe to past favorites like "Reality" and "Rescue," and "The Mission" even riffs on that classic guitar echo from '80s bands like The Police and Flock of Seagulls.
Speaking of classic CCM artists, Steve Taylor's witty lyricism usually combines with Furler's musical sensibilities with potent results. Here the wit is scarce and a little forced. "Wherever We Go" seems goofy for the sake of goofiness in trying to express the fun they have in shining for God's glory—"Wherever we go, bluebirds sing and the flowers bloom and the grass gets green … the bees behave, in the treetops squirrels smile and wave … and the ozone layer shows improvement/It's a curious thing, and it's humbling." Furler and Taylor also self-plagiarize from "Breakfast" for the style and whistle solo in "Secret Kingdom," which tries to use Lord of the Rings references as a clever way to illustrate our own mission in the world.
Both writers are still capable of writing a power anthem as well as anyone, especially "The Mission" with its passing of the baton from Jesus to all his followers 2,000 years later, or the encouragement in "Let It All Come Out" to come clean (with our sinful past) to become clean. Too bad newsboys can't resist including Desperation band's "I Am Free," another worship cover that would have been more at home on
I won't pretend that
(A limited edition version includes three bonus tracks—an unnecessary live version of "I Am Free," plus the extras "Something to Believe In" and "City to City." A DVD is also included, showing the personal life of all the band members in their hometowns, except Paul Colman, who gives a humorous promo tour instead. It also offers a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of the album through a series of quick bloopers, as well as Phil Joel's quest to earn the autograph of a legendary rock star.)