Album Review :
Newsboys - God's Not Dead

By in Reviews | Comments closed

Band: Newsboys
Title: God’s Not Dead
Label: Inpop Records
Release Date: 11/15/11
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre


  1. The King is Coming
  2. God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion)
  3. Your Love Never Fails
  4. Here We Stand
  5. Saviour of the World
  6. Forever Reign
  7. More than Enough
  8. Revelation Song
  9. Pouring it Out for You
  10. Mighty to Save
  11. All the Way
  12. I Am Second

Since Peter Furler left after their 2009 release, In the Hands of God, it was questioned as to whether the Newsboys would manage after the dramatic exit of their last ‘founding member’ of the band. Not only has the Newsboys succeeded in passing the baton on from Furler to Michael Tait, ex-member of dc-Talk; but they have released a phenomenal 2010 album in Born Again, which in my opinion exceeded their 2009 album and is now on par with GO and Adoration as my favourites from Newsboys. After releasing Born Again: Miracles Edition in April 2011, the Newsboys were back in the studio and have produced 12 interestingly crafted tracks which make up this worship album called God’s Not Dead.

Ironically, all of the songs were not written by Tait, or any other band member. Covers in ‘Revelation Song’, ‘Your Love Never Fails’, ‘Forever Reign’ and ‘Mighty to Save’; these tracks are a hit and miss. Mighty to Save; straight from track 11 from ‘Born Again’ and originally written and recorded by Hillsong; is ok if you haven’t heard any other version of the song (tons of renditions from Jeremy Camp, to MercyMe and Michael W. Smith). Staying true to the original, it is a fairly familiar tune that speaks about God’s faithfulness to us no matter what our situation is. ‘Your Love Never Fails’ is shortened from a 7 minute Jesus Culture track to a little over 3 and a half minutes, changing from a high energy worship track to a pop dance tune. This is no problem though, I found this rendition breathed life into a track that had been ‘placed in a box’ as a typical ‘worship track’. However, Newsboys’ rendition felt over-polished, but despite this, they have made this song unique; and it is just as worshipful. Forever Reign was sped up; and felt like they were trying to ‘rush the song’ rather than to just be in the song, even if this wasn’t what they wanted to do. Another cover to be placed on the album is Jennie Lee Riddle’s ‘Revelation Song’. This was a nice addition; though it sounded distinctly similar to the version that was made famous by vocal group Philips, Craig and Dean. Despite this, this is a song that changes lives, and as listeners hear Michael’s enthusiasm as he cries out ‘…Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty…’; they can just fall into the realisation that God is Holy, mighty and awesome, and worthy of all our praise and adoration.

The remainder of the album was a gem to behold, the title track in particular. Originally written by worship songwriter Daniel Bashta and previously recorded by Kristian Stanfill and the David Crowder*Band, Newsboys perfect this song and is the best from the album. The ability to hit the power notes when Tait sings ‘…My God’s not dead, He’s surely alive…’ is infectious, and together with fellow dc Talk member Kevin Max, the track is a dear favourite, and once you hear the song, you will agree. The song is a definite reminder that God is living and breathing within us. Coupled with the music video that released in January 2012, my respect for this song has increased, and I hope that more worship songs like this will be introduced in churches in the future.

The Newsboys also slotted in various new songs, written by songwriters Seth Mosley, Jason Ingram, as well as veterans Ben Glover, Jared Anderson and Sarah Hart. Two songs in particular that stand out were ‘Here We Stand’ and ‘I Am Second’. Here We Stand speaks about wanting the Lord to come down and show us his presence. Even though the theme is as simple as that, it is very powerful, with the bridge becoming the hook for the song- ‘…There’s nothing like Your presence God…’ I am Second is another song with vocalist Kevin Max, and is personally the next favourite after the title track. As the song starts off, ‘…There’s a me that I don’t really like, a me that says I’m in control til the day that I die, and I don’t know why…’, I find myself thinking, Yes, I can relate to this. Sometimes, we do have those wrestling battles with ourselves. Sometimes we can be selfish and self centred; and only care about ourselves, but at the end of the day, we need to acknowledge and God loves us unconditionally, and the knowledge that we are ‘SECOND TO ONE’ and that He is ‘SECOND TO NONE’. He is the Lord, and He knows and loves us the way we are, but loves us too much to let us stay the way we are. This powerful song, though only a little over 3 minutes, can be just as emotive and responsive as listening to a huge sermon. This is one of the highlights of the album, and it being the album closer is a tribute fitting to the song and what it stands for.

Overall: The Newsboys have stretched their musical boundaries since the departure of Furler, and have brought to the fore sounds that we as listeners have probably never thought possible. Songs like ‘Born Again’, ‘God’s Not Dead’, ‘Miracles’, ‘I Am Second’, ‘Way Beyond Myself’, even a rendition of ‘Jesus Freak’, have been the best in the Newsboys repertoire in a while. God’s Not Dead is one of my favourite worship albums of 2011, and as Michael Tait continues to make the lead singer spot his own and not just carry on and live in the shadow of his predecessor Furler; the band have further progressed into one of the most accomplished and respected bands of the modern CCM era. With 2 Dove nominations for 2012, (Rock/Contemporary Song of the Year: Born Again; Music Video of the Year: Miracles), expect the band to carry on for a few more years yet. With more songs being penned throughout February this year, another album in the near future is imminent. This is an album that is worth looking at, irregardless if you hope Peter Furler would make a comeback to the Newsboys or not. With its ever rotating personnel, these four in Tait, Jody Davis, Duncan Phillips and Jeff Frankenstein, will stay for a while yet!

RIYL: Leeland, Sanctus Real, Third Day, dc Talk

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3