The Greatest Hits
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Nov
- I Fought the La …
- Million Pieces (Kissin' Your Cares Goodbye)
- Something Beautiful
- In the Belly of the Whale
- He Reigns
- Wherever We Go
- Take Me to Your Leader
- Stay Strong
- Entertaining Angels
- You Are My King (Amazing Love)
- Real Good Thing
- Spirit Thing
- It Is You
- Not Ashamed
This compilation seems completely unnecessary at first glance, and the uninspired album cover sure doesn't help. Besides, we already have Shine: The Hits from 2000, as well as He Reigns: The Worship Collection from 2005. But this release manages to improve on its predecessors, and there's also a nostalgic purpose for The Greatest Hits. This year marks the official twentieth anniversary for the perpetually popular newsboys.
The absolute essentials are accounted for: "Shine," "Breakfast," "Not Ashamed," "Take Me to Your Leader," and even the sublime "Joy" from the first hits anthology. Also present are the worshipful anthems "It Is You" and "He Reigns," as well as the most recent material from the Go album, "Wherever We Go" and "Something Beautiful."
Lesser hits like "Woo Hoo," "Step Up to the Microphone," and anything before 1992's Not Ashamed have been dropped to accommodate the newer material—not a major loss, though its strange that 1999's Love, Liberty, Disco album has been completely ignored once again. Would it have hurt to throw a couple more songs on this 68-minute disc to get it right? And does their cover of the worship standard "You Are My King" really belong here?
At least, The Greatest Hits includes more unreleased material for fans. "I Fought the La …" is a tad inane, but still a funny dissection of songwriting as a metaphor for joy in all things. "Stay Strong" is a more serious anthem about perseverance, with a Brit pop sound reminiscent of "Elle G." But chances are most fans don't have "In the Belly of the Whale," a real gem from the Jonah VeggieTales movie that holds up to the newsboys' playfully poignant glory days from the mid-'90s (featuring a hilarious reggae rap from longtime collaborator Steve Taylor).
It's for you to decide if this compilation is worth buying, but the songs remain infectious examples of Euro-pop production, clever wordplay, and irresistible melodies. It's also impressive that this one serves as both the one disc a casual fan should own and an adequate companion to Shine: The Hits (since less than half of this disc overlaps with the previous collection). It may not be a perfect compilation, but it surpasses Shine as the truly better representation of the newsboys' long-running body of work.