Twenty-twenty left us with a choice. In the midst of safer-at-home orders, racial and political unrest, and a virus that wreaked havoc around the world, the question remained: Where do you stand? For Platinum group Newsboys, the answer was easy. Recognizing that their season of collaboration with former bandmates Peter Furler and Phil Joel for their nostalgic run as Newsboys UNITED was coming to a close, current band members Michael Tait, Duncan Phillips, Jeff Frankenstein and Jody Davis, began to assemble an album that gave no doubt as to who they are and what they believe. The result is STAND, one of the most thoughtfully-crafted releases of their career and a project that marks the band's return to their original label home, Capitol CMG.
Since their early beginnings in Australia, Newsboys have propelled countless hits up the charts. With signature songs, including "We Believe," "Born Again" and Platinum-certified mega hit "God's Not Dead," which birthed a film franchise of the same name, Newsboys have sold more than 10 million albums spanning 23 recordings. In addition, they've amassed one Platinum and eight Gold certifications, 33 #1 radio hits, four GRAMMY® nominations, two American Music Award nods and multiple Dove Awards. With the transition to Michael Tait as the band's lead singer in 2009, Newsboys embarked on an unprecedented second act that continues today.
When the global pandemic shuttered live events indefinitely, the award-winning supergroup was given something they've never been afforded--time. For the first time in three decades, Newsboys had an uninterrupted season before them to write, record and experiment.
"It really allowed us to immerse ourselves in the studio side of life," Phillips attests. "There's kind of this psyche that goes along with being in the studio, which is totally different than the live situation. It's a whole different head space. So for the first time in our career, we had the opportunity to really immerse ourselves in that. It's crazy because I never thought it would happen."
Ironically, although they were restricted in the sense that they couldn't tour, they had never been more free to create. The uninhibited space allowed Tait to dive deeper into the creative process than ever before with the charismatic frontman co-writing all 10 tracks on the album and co-producing the project alongside Tedd T., Micah Kuiper, Bryan Fowler, Ben Glover and Jeff Sojka.
"It's fun when you have time to unpack your thoughts and really think about what you want to say on a record. You get real reflective. God showed up and just started putting songs on my heart," shares Tait, who wrote upwards of 50 songs over the past year. "You're literally creating something out of nothing, but every song isn't necessarily a home run. It's trial and error."
The unconstrained environment also gave the band free rein to put every song through the wringer, constantly rewriting, reworking and rearranging until every single lyric and sonic embellishment met their high standards of excellence.
"We wanted to get the best out of every song," Tait shares. "It's like picking up seashells and putting them in a bag, and you get home and you're looking at them all going, 'I got some killer stuff.' Instead of just grabbing a handful, it's looking at each piece and going, 'What do I want to put in that bag?' It's going to get heavy, so we have to make sure it's worth the weight, literally."
Phillips agrees Tait's integral investment and intentionality in every part of the process made STAND that much more indicative of who they are as a band. "I think there's more of Michael in this record than any record he's been involved in in a really, really great way, because Michael's a great songwriter, and it allowed him as a lead singer to really own that side of what we do," the long-time drummer offers. "I think there's a magic that happens when a lead singer gets involved in the songwriting. I've seen him just shine and explore his creativity and take ownership in this version of Newsboys."
This iteration of Newsboys--which the band members affectionately refer to as "Newsboys 2.0"--follows more than 200 shows and a full-length worship-centric LP with Newsboys UNITED. STAND pushes the band into the next chapter while building on the vibrant, synth-filled pop of 2016's Love Riot.
Coming out of a season of collective loss and disappointment, Newsboys sought to craft a record that was the antithesis of 2020. While STAND is their response to the questions raised over the past year, melodically, it's filled with bright sonic textures and arena-ready anthems--poised for their "Step Into The Light Tour" as they return to the road in the fall of 2021.
Lead single "Magnetic" serves as a fitting introduction to the upbeat collection. "The song is about the relentless chase God has for His creation," Tait shares of the groove-laden track. "He loves you so much that He lets you assert your free will. He puts it all out there and says, 'What are you going to choose?' But at the same time, He will pull you back into Himself. You can't escape at the end of the day."
The effervescent "Magnetic" opens the project before heading into subtle reggae-inspired territory with "Ain't It Like Jesus," a selection that reflects Tait's appreciation for Bob Marley's musical style and boasts of all the unexpected ways God shifts the paradigm of our lives.
"It's like Him to take every situation that Satan meant for bad and flip it, and that's the beauty of the God we serve," Tait contends, noting, "I felt like, musically, 'Magnetic' and 'Ain't It Like Jesus' were crafted with the idea of, 'How will this come off live?' because every song ultimately ends up on stage."
Pop gem "Blessing On Blessings" follows suit, challenging listeners to focus on all of the gifts--big and small--that God bestows on His children daily with a sunny piano-led melody. Meanwhile, the powerful "I Still Believe You're Good" declares the goodness of God in the midst of unimaginable circumstances. Tait soon realized it was an unintentional nod to the recent turn of events. "When we started writing this song, it became so clear that this is really the whole COVID-19 story wrapped up in melody," he says. "As Paul said, 'I'm still going to be content in every situation.' It's easier said than done. But at the end of the day, we asked ourselves, can we find the rainbow in the COVID cloud? And we did."
A follow-up of sorts to their signature ballad "We Believe," the album's title-cut solidifies where the group stands in a politically-charged culture. "We tried to write a song that speaks to the very purpose and mission of every human. We finished the song and were like, 'This feels like an album theme.' 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," Tait remarks. "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 have to 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, do it."
It's evident what side Newsboys are on. In the midst of racial division, fans only need to turn their attention to the stage to catch a glimpse of true diversity on display. A black frontman, an Australian drummer and two additional American bandmates round out the Newsboys' brotherhood. Their obvious camaraderie speaks louder than any soapbox could. However, that doesn't mean they don't realize the responsibility they have to speak truth. This album especially lives up to its name, letting listeners know exactly where it is they STAND.
"You can say so much in a three-minute song. You can change the world," Tait offers. "That's a very blessed and privileged position to have. We take it seriously, and we love it, because we know that we're conduits of something special."
I LOVE NEWSBOYS| Posted June 15, 2014
Michael has the most unique and amazing voice! All of Newsboy's songs have inspired me and made me a better Christian. I appreciate them so much and I hope that they inspire many more people around the world to follow Christ. Newsboys are my favorite band... EVER! Their songs are the best! I saw them live at Winter Jam 2014 in Indiana and I had seats right by the stage. Michael high fived me many times and the whole band was awesome! I got a hug from Michael when the band was signing autographs which was a BIG plus (he smelled sooooo good)!!! Thanks again Newsboys for all you have done for me :) -your biggest fan!!
God's Music| Posted May 28, 2013
I love your music. I played all your albums at our Ministry's Restaurant called "5Breads and 2Fish" "Meals on Jesus.
The guests were homeless, working,and students who needed meals. The first song would be The King is coming, the first song to open the doors giving glory and honor to God.
inspiration| Posted December 11, 2012
I am a huge fan.... you guys are so awsome!all of your songs are great!!! :) and I definitely think you guys did a great job choosing your new leadsinger! I have always wanted to be famous and so you guys I look up to. Thanks for Listening :)
NEWSBOYS| Posted February 23, 2012
From Born Again to Gods Not Dead, these have to be the best new albums out for a band that loves God and is proclaiming His word. Love the band love the message love the music and most of all LOVE THAT GODS NOT DEAD.