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AN NRT EXCLUSIVE EDITORIAL
The Essentials: Newsboys Power Anthems
NRT's Paul Phillips reviews some of the most anthemic hit songs from the Tait era
 


AN NRT EXCLUSIVE EDITORIAL, The Essentials: Newsboys Power Anthems
Posted: May 19, 2022 | By: PaulPhilips_NRT
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The iconic Christian contemporary band Newsboys has been pumping out music since 1985 by founding artists Peter Furler and his schoolmate George Perdikis in Australia. Since then, Newsboys has gained an unprecedented amount of success: they’ve sold more than 10 million albums spanning 23 recordings (one platinum and eight gold certifications). They’ve also scored, 33 #1 radio hits, four Grammy nominations, and multiple Dove Awards.
 
Many musicians have come and gone from the Newsboys lineup over the years. Lead singer Peter Furler exited the band in 2009, passing vocal duties to established pop crooner Michael Tait. Tait was a member of DC Talk, one of Christian music’s most popular bands (we’re still waiting for a DC Talk reunion).
 
Since Tait became the band leader, the Newsboys have continued their storied success. One thing I’ve noticed in their music is that almost every album contains an evangelistic anthem, proclaiming the name of Christ. 
 
It became noticeable when the band released their hit single, “God’s Not Dead,” a song from the 2011 movie with the same name. So, I’m going to examine five Newsboys (featuring Tait) I-love-God anthems that are must-haves for any playlist. Great songs to get yourself pumped up to worship or evangelize.
 
“Stand” (feat. TobyMac)
 
So far, this is my favorite song for 2022. I have it on heavy rotation. I find the song a little convicting at times. When I’m not standing up for my faith—whether it’s to others or myself—the song puts everything into perspective for me. Admittedly, it doesn’t always push me into action. But it certainly makes me stand.
 
About the song, Michael Tait told NewReleaseToday: “We tried to write a song that speaks to the very purpose and mission of every human. And especially nowadays in the face of so much hate. I mean, let’s face it, I’m a man of color, and people are trying to tell me black and white can’t get along; we don’t like each other. 
 
When people ask you, ‘Where do you stand? Tell me the hope that lies within you,’ believers in Christ should stand. The Bible says God would rather you be cold or hot, not lukewarm. You’re not standing if you’re standing in the middle. You must choose a side. If you’re going to be a bad boy, be a bad boy. If you’re going to be a God follower, then be a Jesus freak. Just do it.”
 
This song has two versions: a variant featuring pop icon TobyMac, and the original, from the album of the same. I recommend the TobyMac version. (Yes, Tait is singing with a DC Talk member).
 
“I'm gonna stand in a world that's breaking/Stand for a truth unchangin'/I'm not ashamed, I've considered the cost/I'll stand right here at the Foot of the cross, and stand.”
 

"The Cross Has the Final Word" (feat. Peter Furler)
 
Michael Tait and Newsboys co-founder have similar-sounding voices. So, Peter Furler returning to the fold to collaborate with Tait was special to me. Occasionally, Newsboys cover contemporary Christian and worship songs. They put their spin on Bethel Music’s “No Longer Slaves” and this must-hear anthem by contemporary artist, Cody Carnes.
 
In a press release, Peter says the song is about “the power of Jesus and the great work He did for us on the cross. It's truly something Christians place our hope in.” 
 
“Doors were opened that brought in powerful things like sickness, disease, hurt, and pain. Science can't defeat those things. Drugs can't defeat them. Alcohol can't defeat them. Buddha can't. The New Age movement can't. Muhammad can't. The only thing that can is something more powerful than all of them—something more powerful than death. The only thing more powerful than death is Jesus Christ and the reconciliation of what He did on the cross."
 
“Sorrow may come in the darkest night/But the cross has the final word/There's nothing stronger, nothing higher/There's nothing greater than the name of Jesus/All the honor, all the power/All the glory to the name of Jesus”
 

“We Believe”
 
Whenever I hear “We Believe,” I want to go out to the street and say, “I believe in Jesus.” Everyone believes in something. They commit their lives to certain causes or beliefs. Me, I believe in the one who saved me from death, Jesus Christ.
 
In an interview with NRT’s Lead Contributor Kevin Davis, drummer Duncan Phillips said, “With ‘We Believe,’ it lays it out straight. There's no doubt about who we are and what we stand for. When I first heard this song, I started weeping. Someone has finally said it. Someone has finally said this is who we are as Christians. I don't want to get weird and say anyone who doesn't believe like me is going to hell. That's not the point of this song. At some point, we must stand up and say this is who we are.”
 
“We believe in God the Father/We believe in Jesus Christ/We believe in the Holy Spirit/And He's given us new life/We believe in the crucifixion/We believe that He conquered death/We believe in the resurrection/And He's comin' back again, we believe”
 

“God’s Not Dead (Like A Lion)” (feat. Kevin Max)
 
It was this song that brought me on board with Newsboys’ foot-stomping power anthems. It was this song that motivated me to text everyone on my contact list that, “God’s not dead.” (This was suggested at the end of the movie, God’s Not Dead.)
 
The Newsboys hit is actually a version of "Like a Lion," a song written by songwriter Daniel Bashta. The worship band Passion, along with iconic Christian contemporary singer David Crowder, performed the song on the 2010 album, Passion: Awakening.
 
Keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein spoke with Kevin Davis about the song. He says, “It seems like culturally that atheism has become more and more prevalent. God is being taken out of so much of our culture and has been for years. People are just deceived. There’s a lack of truth and in some Christian music circles and in Christians in general, there’s a lack of boldness.” 
 
“What’s most disheartening for me is that even in Christian music there are so many songs that don’t proclaim the name of Jesus. A lot of us say great things that may coincide with biblical principles and social justice, and I don’t know about you, but the boldness of this song is what attracts me.”
 
(Wait a minute, the other DC Talk member Kevin Max sings with Tait. Maybe release a version with TobyMac as well. And then you have the band back together again—at least for one song.)
 
“Let love explode and bring the dead to life/A love so bold to bring a revolution somehow/Now I'm lost in Your freedom/In this world, I'll overcome/My God's not dead, He's surely alive/He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion/God's not dead, He's surely alive.”
 

“Born Again”
 
“God’s Not Dead” was not the first headbanging power anthem from the Tait-era Newsboys. “Born Again, the title track from the 2010 album of the same name, gets that honor. (Yes, there are more power anthems from that album. But it’s this song that grabbed my ears.)
 
Drummer Duncan Phillips told Kevin Davis that “there are two distinct meanings regarding the message of the song. One is about being ‘born again’ as Christians and the other is about being ‘born again’ as the band, Newsboys. When my friend of over 30 years, former lead singer Peter Furler, announced he was leaving Newsboys, we all had a natural period of surprise and concern. We decided we could make one of two decisions: quit, or call up Michael Tait, the amazing singer from DC Talk, and keep going. Naturally, it took us about 20 seconds to decide to call Michael.”
 

“Jesus Freak” (feat. KJ-52)
 
No, this isn’t a DC Talk article, I swear. But I do think that it’s worth mentioning that the Newsboys covered the iconic hit “Jesus Freak” and included it on Born Again. They sang it with hip-hop Christian singer KJ-52. What are you waiting for? Stream this song and all the others on Apple Music and Spotify now.
 

Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with 20 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.

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