CD Review: Born Again, by the newsboys

Born Again, by the newsboys (Inpop Records, 2010)

You know how when you love an album there’s always the fear that the next one won’t hit that same sweet spot? Either the artist(s) or you will have gone in a different direction? Or maybe that one album was a fluke connection with you?

I loved In The Hands of God. I bonded with the music on that album, and it blessed me spiritually in so many ways. I knew it wasn’t a one-time connection with the newsboys’ music, though, because some of their previous songs have reached me the same way.

Along comes Born Again, not only a new album but featuring a new lead, Michael Tait. And although I’d understood that former lead Peter Furler was going to stay part of the writing team, I don’t see much evidence of it this time around.

Thanks to some clever marketing strategy from the band, fans had plenty of opportunities to hear some of the new tracks far enough in advance of the album release that we had a good feel of what to anticipate.

I jumped at the chance to pre-order the CD, thus scoring some track downloads back in the spring. And the single, “Born Again,” had a lot of airplay.

After a lot of time listening to the full CD (including the digital-only bonus songs I had to download separately), I’m ready to add my comments to the mix.

Short version: love it.

Longer version: may still love In the Hands of God a bit more, but that’s just me.

Born Again has it all. Musically the songs range from the driving beat of the title track and “One Shot” to the gentler rhythm of “Running to You” and “I’ll Be”. There’s even some rap in the redone “Jesus Freak”.

And the lyrics that pull it all together. The songs are singable; some are fun and some are healing, and there’s an amazing amount of Scriptural truth. It may not be straight from an official version of the Bible, but it’s there in songs like “Escape” and “Build Us Back”.

Some of the lyrics I couldn’t get, and even with the lyric sheet I have questions. (What does “now you’re in the in-low” mean?)

Michael Tait’s voice gives a way different sound than Peter Furler’s, yet the overall feel of the music is the same and still great. Newsboys, new or old, have my vote for favourite band. To learn more about them, visit the newsboys’ website. You can listen to sample tracks at the newsboys’ MySpace page or the newsboys’ Facebook page.

With Born Again, I’m glad “the boys are back for a second act”.

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