Newsboys "Born Again" Album Review

Picture
G’day everyone and welcome to the 9th instalment of God Tunes Reviews. You can watch the previous eight reviews on my YouTube channel. On this week’s show however I’ll be reviewing probably the most anticipated album in Christian music from one of the most well known artists in the industry. I’m talking about the Newsboys, and their new album released on July 13th of this year titled “Born Again”.

Newsboys return on this album with a new look. Last year, the band’s Aussie lead singer Peter Furler retired from the job, leaving the door open for former DC Talk member, Michael Tait. Tait comes into this album providing the Newsboys with not only a new voice, but a new sound as well. Born Again was definetley an appropriate title for the album. Two super groups have combined, but does this connection produce a super album?

This is clearly not the same Newsboys as we saw on their previous albums. This album is still a traditional Newsboys pop/rock album with a lot of possible radio hits, but one thing that is clearly noticeable is that the DC Talk influence brought in from Michael Tait has made their sound a lot heavier than other albums. Newsboys has explored a whole new world of sound on this album.

Alright now let’s talk about the songs. Right from the start, Born Again hits you in the face with an explosive beginning in the title track, Born Again. This is my favourite and arguably the stand out on the album. This song is a call to take action in this world to believers of Jesus. The song is also obviously about being Born Again as Christians but it is also about the Newsboys being born again as a band. It says that because Jesus has saved us from our sins, we need to give him our best. As Christians we all need to be “born again” in Christ and celebrate what God means to us. This is the stand out song on the album and I recommend you check it out.

Another song that I found myself enjoying was Track 8, called “Miracles”. This song is all about believing in miracles and faith and that if you believe you will receive. This is another one of Newsboys’ heavier rock songs that Tait has influenced and it’s a great song. “Miracles” along with Track 7 “Escape” are the highlights of the middle section of the album.

Newsboys aren’t all just edgy rock songs. They also have a few softer, reflective songs to keep the balance. These songs include Track 6, “Build Us Back”, Track 9 “Running To You” and Track 10 “On Your Knees”. My favourite out of the softer songs is “On Your Knees”. This song quotes that when you lose hope, your heart is breaking and your dreams are out of reach all you have to do is get back on your knees again and pray. This song is the perfect conclusion to what is an extraordinary first 10 songs.

I say first 10 songs because there was a actually a part of this album that I was disappointed in, There are actually 12 songs on this album and I was disappointed with the last two songs. Newsboys do another cover of a worship song in “Mighty To Save” and also do a cover of a DC Talk hit, “Jesus Freak”. First let’s talk about “Mighty To Save”. This is one of my favourite worship songs and Newsboys does an excellent cover of it, but it just seemed unnecessary to  put it in the track listing when another original song such as “I’ll Be” could’ve gone there. I don’t know, maybe Newsboys were trying to continue the tradition of putting a worship song on their albums, just like they put “Lead Me To The Cross” on In The Hands Of God.


The other song I was disappointed in was the DC Talk cover of “Jesus Freak”. It was obviously Michael Tait’s idea to do that and I love the song. But one thing that I don’t like about it is the rapping of KJ-52. I just don’t think he can compare to the rapping of tobyMac on the original version. 

Leaving the ending aside, Newsboys’ “Born Again” is an excellent album. However, it may have been the biggest release in their history but I still don’t think it was as good as In The Hands Of God. With tonight’s review I’m going to give it a 7/10. But don’t panic you die hard Newsboys/ DC Talk fans that is not a bad score. Born Again had a weak ending, it wasn’t as good as other albums and their were also some other weak tracks that didn’t hit the mark. Other than that this is one of the hottest releases of 2010 , 2nd to “Tonight” by tobyMac. I think this is a must have album for this year and I definetley recommend you get it because it’s awesome.


Thanks for watching tonight’s review. You can check out my twitter page at twitter.com/godtunesreviews for updates on upcoming album reviews. I’ll be back soon with another review of a quality album, but for this week bye for now.


Needtobreathe "The Outsiders" Album Review

Picture
Welcome to Review #8 of God Tunes Reviews. This week I’ll be reviewing the latest project from a great band named Needtobreathe and their 3rd studio album titled, The Outsiders.

Needtobreathe are an incredibly unique band. They originate from a town in South Carolina, USA called Possum Kingdom and consist of 4 members, two of them in brothers Bear and Bo Rhinehart. Needtobreathe’s sound is unique to anything I’ve ever heard. It is a special blend of modern, southern and country rock added with a little bit of their own personal touches. The Outsiders is their 3rd studio album that follows their two previous albums Daylight Is Coming and The Heat. After coming off the back off a few hit singles from The Heat expectations were high for this album.

The Outsiders is trademark sound from Needtobreathe. This album is mainly southern rock, but on most of the songs it is also blended with harmonicas, accordions, pianos and banjos. These instruments might seem like unusual ones to use in a modern band, but Needtobreathe use them perfectly to create a modern, driving and appealing pop/rock sound. The thing that makes them so catchy and appealing to the ear is the voice of Bear Rhinehart. Without a doubt, one of the best and most interesting voices in Christian music.

Alright, now let’s talk about the songs on this album. Needtobreathe have kept their own unique, trademark sound on this album. The Outsiders opens up with the title of the album. This song immediately shows the band’s colours with an excellent use of the banjo in the introduction and clapping. It is a fast paced, catchy anthem which is the perfect opener for the album. This song defines the theme and direction of the album, which is feeling like an outsider as a follower of Jesus. After an explosive beginning, the song then descends into a gentle acoustic “jam-session” which is a perfect contrast. This song is also linked to the seemingly unusual album artwork.

Another song that I thought was special was the last song called “Let Us Love” which is Track 14.  This song is the pumping anthem of the album and a perfect summary to the album. I sing this song a lot around the house because it is a passionate song about loving those around us and making a difference in the world.

Most of the best songs on this album lie around the middle to end section of the album, and this is where you’ll come to two songs which are my favourites on the album. The first song is Track 9 and it’s called “Prisoner”. This is a song where Needtobreathe’s modern rock side is exposed, but there is also a slight trademark country feel to it as well. The thumping drums, bass levels and guitar solo makes this song a hit.

The final song that I want to mention is without a doubt the best song on the album. It’s called “Something Beautiful” and its Track 12. This song has been a hit on Christian radio and it’s not hard to see why. This song goes back to the band’s soft-rock roots. This song is a tune dedicated to yearning for something more than the things and ways of this world. You could expand on that further by saying that Jesus is beautiful and is the only thing that will give us true satisfaction in life. This is my favourite song on The Outsiders.

In conclusion, I would have to give The Outsiders a solid 9/10. There were so many strong songs on this album, that I couldn’t mention and every one of them hit the mark at the right time. That’s a really hard thing to say about an album, but Needtobreathe have delivered perfectly. Some songs drew me in with a catchy phrase and others gradually made me enjoy with musical beauty. Even after a lot of listens you’ll still be able to smile and sing along. They’ve done alright for a few guys from a lonely hillbilly town called Possum Kingdom.

Thanks for watching Episode 8 of God Tunes Reviews, I’ll see you soon with another review of a class Christian album. Don’t forget you can follow me on twitter @godtunesreviews. This has only been a brief review. You can check out a full song by song review and analysis at my website in the description below. I’ll see you next time, bye for now. 


Kutless "It Is Well" Album Review

Picture

Kutless are an awesome Christian rock band from Portland, Oregon.  They have released 5 studio albums plus a live album. Their new album It Is Well is their 6th studio album, and their second effort at a worship project. Their first go at a worship project was in 2006 with the album, Strong Tower. This was a great worship album from Kutless, so the question is, does It Is Well deliver as well as Strong Tower?  Is it a solid worship project? Let’s find out.

This album is a really good worship album which covers the church worship service in great detail, with traditional songs such as “It Is Well”, “God of Wonders” and “Redeemer”. Kutless have also written some new tunes as well such as Track 4 “Taken By Love”. I think that this album is superior to the other worship albums I’ve heard because it takes traditional songs from Church and makes them fun and appealing to younger people. Kutless creates this effect by adding hard rock and heavy guitar sounds. After all, Kutless are traditionally a rock band.

Now let’s talk about the songs on the album. A song that I really have to mention is a song called “Amazed” which is Track 2 on the album. The first time I heard it I just wanted to praise God. It’s a song about how glorious, wonderful and amazing God really is. It’s a very catchy song that wants me to express my love and amazement for who God is.

Another song that I really enjoy listening to on this album is a song called “God of Wonders”, which is Track 7. I’ve heard a lot of versions of this song by different bands and church musicians, but this is by far my favourite version of this traditional worship tune. I really like it because it involves heavy rock. Kutless use their traditional music roots to do a fantastic cover of a great song.

On most albums I listen to, there is a true standout that no other song on the album can match. Well, on It Is Well I’ve once again found a standout. This song is the reason I bought this album. It’s a song called “What Faith Can Do” and its Track 5 and also the first single of the album. This is an extremely inspirational song. It’s talks about what a little faith in God can do, the places it can take you and the things you can achieve through it. The song reminds me of Matthew 17:20 where Jesus says that, if you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you. If you don’t want to buy the whole album, I definitely recommend you buy this song on iTunes.

In conclusion, It Is Well is a great worship album. And yes, I think the songs on this album are superior to that of their previous worship album, Strong Tower. Kutless and worship go really well together, and today I’m going to give it an 8/10. 1. Because it’s a great worship album and 2. Because it delivers perfectly in every way possible and is an extremely encouraging album. This album is great to listen to before church on a Sunday morning because it gets you in the right mood for worship.



Skillet "Awake" Album Review

Picture
G’day everyone and welcome to Episode 7 of God Tunes Reviews. This week we’ll be moving into the world of Christian rock. This week I’ll be reviewing the latest album from Christian rock band, Skillet, titled “Awake”.

Skillet are a Christian rock band from Memphis, Tennessee. I’m a fairly new fan of this band so I don’t know as much background about them as other bands,  but one thing I can tell you is that they are an amazing band. Skillet is a great band because they don’t produce full on heavy metal screamo rock songs. They’re music is mild heaviness and that’s what I enjoy listening to in a rock band. The voice of the lead singer John Cooper is very unique to most other vocalists. It is very rough and sounds a bit hoarse, but it sounds brilliant. Most of Skillet’s popularity came from their previous album released in 2006, called Comatose. I don’t know that much about Comatose, but after listening to a few of the songs, I can see why it was very popular. The real question with this album is, does it deliver as well as Comatose? Well, let’s go and find out.

The first song on Awake is a song called “Hero” which was also the first single. This is a really good song, but the real highlight is the backing vocals of the new 20 year old drummer, Jen Ledger. The combination of the rougher voice of the lead singer John Cooper and the voice Jen Ledger, makes this song sound amazing.  This song talks about mankind’s need for a hero, in this case that hero being Jesus Christ.  The song was written in the midst of all the evil and tragedies that happen in the world today and highlights the fact that Jesus is the one who fights all this evil for us.  Hero gets the album off to a hard edgy beginning.

Following Hero is a song called “Monster”. I know it sounds like a weird name for a Christian song, but the meaning behind it is pretty interesting. The “monster” referred to in the song represents the different and sinful beast inside of us. It talks about how we as humans do everything possible to keep others from seeing the beast from within and how sin is something that we can’t control. The main melody is very catchy. My only criticism of it is that after a while, it got a little repetitive. Other than that it’s an awesome song.

These two songs are great, but the real standout on this album is the title track “Awake and Alive”. I just love everything about this song. It opens up with the trademark of all Skillet songs, the violin. The violins then continue throughout the whole song, creating a great rock atmosphere.  It’s also got an amazing guitar solo and it’s a fantastic hard rock tune. This is one of my favourite songs on the album. I just love the triumphant anthem “I’m awake, I’m alive”.  This song was an instant hit for me as soon as I heard it. Check it out, “Awake and Alive”.

On a whole, Skillet’s Awake is a fantastic rock album. The album covers a lot of topics in today’s world such as sin, faith and even love. This album is great with the introduction of Jen Ledger and her great voice. She is probably the best female vocalist the band’s ever had.
For a huge fan of Skillet, this probably wasn’t your favourite album because it didn’t offer much new sound. For long fans of Skillet you’d probably think that this album wasn’t as good as Comatose. But since I’m a new fan of Skillet, I’d have to say that this album is better than Comatose and I’m going to give this album an 8/10. It is definitely my favourite album at the moment. I’m giving it an 8/10 because it was a real joy to listen to. If you like an album with deep lyrics and catchy rock tunes, then this is the album for you.