(PHOTO: SPARROW RECORDS)
The Newsboys just released their 17th studio album since 1985, Restart, and the band thinks this record is "the best Newsboys record we've ever penned and recorded."
The Newsboys approached Restart wanting to "take music further" by challenging the negatively perceived view of Christian music being lifeless. Drummer Duncan Phillips told the Christian Post this album was about the art of music and being something that can stand up next to anything and still provide a message.
"I believe Christian music should be better. We shouldn't be copying one another, and this album (Restart), that is what we did. I'm incredibly proud of this record. I think it's going change the face of our fans, but hopefully changes the face of CCM in general," Phillips said.
The album opens up with "That's How You Change the World," a EDM infused pulsing song that really showcases the new direction the Newsboys are heading towards. This song escapes the conventional pop-rock Newsboys sound and dabbles in electronic and even dub-step elements.
"Restart" again enters with a pulsing electric drum beat and synth. The upbeat song talks about getting a second chance with God, and Him hitting the "restart" button in our lives.
Anothr track is their current single, "Live With Abandon." This track is a little more stripped of the intense synths and electric sounds but still manages to make it the key of their sound. "I want to live with abandon, give you all that I am, every part of my heart Jesus, I place in your hands," lead singer Michael Tait proclaims.
Later is "One Word." This is the first song on the album where it sounds like non-processed regular drums were used. It also has more of a worship feel as it talks about Jesus being able to change the world with "one word."
Restart closes out with "We Believe." It's soft and slow piano and synth intro brings in the smooth voice of Tait. The lyrics of this song make it powerful: "We believe in God the father, we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in the Holy Spirit / We believe in the crucifixion, we believe that He conquered death, we believe in the resurrection and that He's coming back again." A choir then takes the song out singing the chorus; it's a very simple but powerful way to close the album.
Restart was a pleasant surprise from the Newsboys and certainly fits the title. The album sounds like nothing they have ever put out before, and yet feels right for the direction they are going in. The album surely will infiltrate the mainstream as far as sound, and amazingly manages to make every song feel like a potential radio single.
They stick to the same formula and conventions of eletronic pop and borderline rock with strong lyricism and Christ-centered focus. The theme of the record is recognizing faults and having God reshape a life that so desperately needs Him. Restart also shows the power of God as a creator that is aware of his creation and believers understanding that nothing is too big for Him.
Tait has been quoted as saying he feels this album is the Jesus Freak record of this generation as far as the coming together of music and the message put forth. While some may disagree with that and the claim of this being the best Newsboys record, Restart is unequivocally the best Newsboys album of the 2000s. This is not the same Newsboys of old, this is a group heading into the future that knows what sound is perfect for this generation of believers and seekers.