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REVIEW: Newsboys rebound with latest release ‘Thrive’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Newsboys have easily become a household name in Christian music over the last 14 years and nine albums. Slowly, they have built a rich tradition after consecutive pop rock hit albums.

However, fans were not as receptive to their last release in 1999, “Love Liberty Disco,” as they were to their previous ones. Although I admire them for experimenting, they drifted too far away from the signature sound they displayed in songs such as “Breakfast,” “Not Ashamed” and “Shine.”

Enter “Thrive,” the Newsboys’ attempt to restore that signature sound and come back to their foundation.

After one listen to the album’s opening guitar riff in “Giving it Over,” it appears the Newsboys are moving in the opposite direction of Love Liberty Disco and pushing the hard rock elements.

After listening to the full project, it is easy to find evidence of the quintet that I have come to love.

The Newsboys also bring some worship choruses to the table as well. The title track “Thrive” and “Lord (I Don’t Know)” offer infectious melodies and rhythms, making it extremely easy to sing along and worship God.

However, many of the guitar riffs and phrases they use come from previous recordings. For example, the biggest of these is in “Rescue.” The opening is basically the same as the song “Praises” on Shine, their greatest hits album.

The big success the Newsboys have in Thrive is found at the pen. The lyrics are quite creative, and, in some cases, overwhelming. For instance, the songs “Fad of the Land” and “John Woo” are so deep that a double take is nearly required. I’m still not sure I fully comprehend “John Woo,” a song referring to the film director John Woo.

The skill with the lyrics can probably be credited to Steve Taylor. He coauthored the lyrics and produced the album with Peter Furler for the first time since “Not Ashamed,” and the project definitely gained from it.

Thrive proves that the Newsboys can bounce back after an unsuccessful collection and they can do it with great strength. I somehow doubt this will be the last.

    About the Author

  • Tim Harms