Let’s go back in time for a moment, shall we? It’s July of 2010, and after a yearlong transition period, the Newsboys are anticipating the release of their 15th studio project, “Born Again”, aptly titled with Michael Tait from legendary group dc Talk as their new lead singer. The pressure to make a great album is always there for band who has had over 20 number #1 hits, but even more so when it’s your first album with a new lead vocalist. Longtime fans were on their toes awaiting to hear the redefined sound this band had developed, and some skeptics were ready to watch them crash and burn, but little did those skeptics know lie ahead for this talented group of guys. After debuting at #4 on the Billboard charts the week it released, above names such as Justin Bieber and Sting might I add (very impressive), Jeff, Jody, Duncan, and Michael of the Newsboys proved once more that they still had music to make --and lots of it.
Let’s come back to the present: two #1 radio hits and multiple sold out dates on the 2011 Winter Jam tour later, this band has proven it’s a force to be reckoned with in the industry. So it came as no surprise that after the rapid success of Born Again, that fans were already eager to hear more new music… enter in the 2011 re-release of Born Again: Miracles Edition.
This re-release features 11 songs off the original version of the album (my review of which can be found HERE: http://bit.ly/aiAME8), but highlights 5 new songs released previously as “iTunes Only”, four new remixes, and one brand new track titled “Save Your Life.”
“Save Your Life”, which replaces the song “Impossible” on the original album version, is an upbeat and uplifting song with a danceable beat and a great message. It’s very reminiscent of early 90’s pop, but I think that’s what gives it such great appeal. It’s sure to become a fan favorite.
“We Remember”, the first of the five new tracks, is a worshipful song, penned by Mark Stuart of Audio Adrenaline fame. The lyrics of this song are sure to hit home and challenge the way people remember God, (“Your story burns upon our hearts, a beautiful and binding scar.”) “I’ll Be” is the most powerful of the new songs, taking the redemption theme this album and driving it home with the listener, while “Give Me To You” follows along the same worshipful lines as “We Remember”. “Glorious” will be a familiar track to longtime Newsboys fans, it being a song that was first recorded on their 2009 In The Hands Of God album, only this time, including the lead vocals of Michael Tait. This song suits Michael voice very well and, dare I say, might even sound better than the original…
The four new remixes on the album include a VERY 80’s-esq remix of “Born Again”, as well as a remix of “Miracles”, the “Way Beyond Myself (Flatline Mix)”, which many fans will remember voting for late last year in the band's remix competition, and the brilliant “Mighty To Save (Family Force 5 Remix)” --yes, you did read that correctly. Mixed by Soul Glow Activator (aka Solomon Olds) himself, this song doesn’t even sound remotely the same as the original, and while some worship purists won’t like the changes, I know fans will gravitate to it right away.
Included with the physical edition of this album is a free download of the band's new music video for the song “Miracles” (therefore making it the “Miracles Edition”), a great treat, although, I think most people will be sold on this album before the music video is even seen. Many of the five new songs sound very different than the “iTunes Only” versions released last year, making this something all hardcore fans will want to pick up for nostalgia sake, as well as to hear the changes.
Overall, this is still an amazing album and a very impressive re-release filled with something for everyone. Some are going to attack it simply because it is a re-release, but I don’t think it will phase anyone who is excited enough to hear these new songs, because they are all well worth the price of buying the album again. The only change I would have made would have been to include “Impossible” off the original album, seeing as it was a fantastic song and one many new fans might like to hear, but that aside, I love this new edition. I gave the original version of this album five stars, and these remixes as well as the new songs absolutely reaffirm that decision.
Yet again, this band has proved there is still more work to do and more music to make, and I know I speak for all Newsboys fans when I say, we look forward to hearing it.