NewsboysAs is often the case with Newsboys, the music is bearable, even almost enjoyable, until Peter Furler’s CRIKEY accent steals the spotlight. Although that voice is much less hateful and sort of powerful on this new single from their Greatest Hits record. If a sign of anything to come, its taking them in sort of a natural, rather listenable direction. Cliched but catchy. Nice if that’s your thing. Its infinitely better than their recent strikeouts: an annoying version of Jon Egan’s “I Am Free”, and probably the worst song of their (or anyone’s) career “Wherever we go … that’s where the party’s at!” Ughhhh I think I threw up in my mouth just typing that.

I haven’t come to expect much from the pen of Pete (lyrically speaking) but sometimes even the most staunch pop lover craves depth and insight over empty feel-good platitudes:

Here’s where sin becomes cliche
Have you forgotten who you are?
Did you forget who’s trip you’re on?
Stay strong you are not lost
Come on fix your eyes ahead
There’s a new dawn to light our day
Stay strong you and I run
For the prize that lies ahead
We’ve come too far to lose our way

The bridge carries an eerie similarity to NeedToBreathe’s “Don’t Wait For Daylight.”

“Stay Strong”
Get up there’s further to go
Get up there’s more to be done
Get up this witness is sure
Get up this race can be won

“Don’t Wait For Daylight”
Sing out, sing out
Your voice is all you have
Sing out Sing out
I know you will
Sing out Sing out
It’s up to you
Sing out, sing out

Equally cheesy perhaps, but the latter feels much more genuine than the former. This situation is only magnified by the similar sonic emotions of the two songs. I’m not ashamed (ha) to say that “Don’t Wait For Daylight” uplifted the crap out of me, whereas “Stay Strong” feels forced and shallow.

The piano line, although copied and pasted from Something Corporate’s “Forget December” of all places, feels like the subtle sort of musical backbone that Newsboys should consider exploring at greater length. And yeah, by this point when it comes to well, any major CCM artist, its obviously ripe with U2 and Coldplay burglary. Its best for us originality police to begin dealing with it a little bit, and maybe make some (small) provisions, so as to avoid beginning every CCM review with “if Chris Martin were here…” ‘Cause yeah, if Chris Martin were here, he’d probably wonder why the hell we talk about him so much.

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Jordan Kurtz

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