The immensely popular, Dove award-winning and Grammy-nominated Aussie band Newsboys has been “born again,” so to speak, with the addition of a new frontman: former dcTalk member Michael Tait. After longtime lead vocalist Peter Furler stepped down in 2009 to pursue solo projects and spend more time at home with his family, Tait stepped in to continue the band’s tradition of rocking tunes with solid messages. Born Again, the first studio album with Tait onboard (and 14th overall), sold the most ever for the band, an impressive 45,000 units in its first week of U.S. sales, netting a No. 4 slot on Billboard’s mainstream album chart.
The title track challenges believers to live for Christ as new creations: “Found myself looking into the mirror/Knew I wasn’t who I wanted to be/ … We are the ones He called by name/Never gonna look back/Let go, let go of the guilt, the shame.” “One Shot,” another inspirational challenge, encourages believers to “prove what they’re all about” and show others who Jesus is in their communities and vocations.
“Way Beyond Myself” is about exactly that: the fact that life is about God and not us. Tait sings, “There’s so much more than meets the eye/Or what’s going on inside/ … Like the wind that moves the leaves/Lord, You move me to my knees/I believe in something way beyond myself.” On “Impossible,” he thanks God for empowering him and doing the same for other Christians.
Anyone who’s been discouraged will appreciate “Build Us Back,” which reads, “We’ve been crumbled, we’ve been crushed/ … When the thief takes, when our hopes cave/You build us back/ … Your unfailing love remains.” Similarly, “Running to You” should cheer those who have felt defeated (“When everything is broken/There’s a door wide open/You’ll find me running through/More than just emotion/My broken heart has chosen/Jesus, I’m running to You”).
“Miracles” deals with God’s seemingly impossible interventions. “On Your Knees” highlights the value of prayer, and a cover of “Mighty to Save” glorifies God and expresses longing for His salvation. Finally, a new version of “Jesus Freak,” from dcTalk’s 1995 album of the same title, pays homage to Tait’s days with tobyMac and Kevin Max—and once again challenges believers in Christ to share their faith.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find even an unstated negative message on Born Again. And coming from someone who reviews a lot of seriously messed up material, the Newsboys are—oh, I’ll just say it—music to my ears.
Born Again is a winsome, engaging mixture of praise, personal challenge, prayer and, of course, rock. And Michael Tait once again proves himself a worthy frontman. He told crosswalk.com, “I’ve had friends … who [called and said], ‘Is this true? Is a Peter Furler/Newsboys show going to be a Michael Tait/Newsboys show?’ [and I tell them] I’m a Newsboy now! And they go, ‘Well, that’s awesome!'”
I completely agree.