Review: Newsboys – Born Again: Miracles Edition


 Inpop Records

Released March 29 2011

Reviewed By Tyler Hess

A little less than a year after a new era really began in the Newsboys crew, with their release of “Born Again”, the boys are back with a re-release in the form of a “Miracles Edition”, a fancy term for what most bands would just call deluxe.

For those of us that have followed the group since the early days of being a band that tours mostly America (I don’t know too many who followed their career down under), we have seen the band go through a lot of changes, both musically and in the faces behind the instruments, including three vocalists to date.  It has taken a little while, but I think I’ve finally let the shock wear off and can talk about this rationally again.

Born Again Miracles Edition starts off just like the regular edition for the first 12 songs.  We’ve talked about this before, but we might as well take a look again with a fresh perspective.  The original title track starts us off and quickly we hear a difference in vocals with former dc Talk vocalist Michael Tait taking the helm, though the pop rock featured is right in line with the direction that Newsboys have been heading for the last couple albums.  The song, as many tracks on here, have a double meaning, with being Born Again being relevant to both the Christian experience and the new look to the band.

“One Shot” follows with a song about the desire to spread the Gospel and how this life gives us the opportunity to do so no matter what situation we find ourselves in, while showing off the pipes that Tait displayed much more heavily in his own band on the “Empty” album than he was ever afforded in the uber-popular dc Talk trio.

“Way Beyond Myself” shows off a heavy electronic back beat with keyboard player Jeff Frankenstein having taken over the bass tones ever since Phil Joel left and features female guest vocalist Chanel Campbell.  “Save Your Life” follows with a lyrically emotional song disguised by dance pop, seeking to help people out of the darkness.

If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be a Newsboys member, your best bet is in reading their book, “Shine: Make Them Wonder What You Got”, but if you want to know what their show is like, they describe it themselves in “When The Boys Light Up”, as they use up their energy to show the true light of Jesus Christ.

Amazingly it takes all the way until the sixth track, “Build Us Back”, to get to a ballad, a track about God providing the strength for us to recover when our lives are broken beyond our own capabilities to restore them. “Escape” brings us back to the light synth pop that dominates the album with a reminder to not “believe the hype” that the world tries to throw at us.

The other half of the album title, “Miracles” shows wonderment to all the things that God does that are bigger than what our minds can understand, before “Running To You” backtracks to the idea of brokenness and the response that gets us back to God, which connects great with the call to prayer heard in “On Your Knees”.

The original version of the album winded down right here with a couple of cover songs, one being the most overdone song in worship over the past few years, Hillsong’s “Mighty To Save”, followed by dc Talk’s “Jesus Freak”, with guest rapping done by KJ-52, which just doesn’t contain the same feeling found in the original version, even with Michael Tait bringing back his own song.

The bonus songs begin with “We Remember”, a song that falls along the lines of “inspirational” music, which is code for something that belongs in a Disney movie.  “I’ll Be” is another slow rolling ballad that shows why these songs are really B-sides that didn’t fit the original record.  “Give Me To You” and “Glorious are essentially worship songs in a pop rock format.

The final four songs are your prototypical remix songs along the lines of what Skillet recently did on “Awake and Remixed”, taking their biggest hits from the record and throwing in enough dance beats to put out a new release and produce a headache after been put in a chill mood by the slower bonus tracks.  The biggest news in the bunch is that Family Force 5 remixed “Mighty To Save”, though a remix of a cover song is a little off putting.

The Miracles Edition of Newsboys’ Born Again is just about what you expect it to be, with the original version keeping steady with the pop structure carried over with Michael Tait at the helm, followed by more forgettable B-sides and out of place remixes.  I’m not a big fan of coming out with Deluxe editions months after the initial release as opposed to coinciding with the original release, as it forces many fans to re-purchase the album as a whole in order to get the better package, but that is up to you if it is worth the extra eight tracks and how much of a fan you are of B-sides, remixes and buying the whole thing over again.

Score: 3

Tracklisting:

  1. Born Again
  2. One Shot
  3. Way Beyond Myself
  4. Save Your Life
  5. When The Boys Light Up
  6. Build Us Back
  7. Escape
  8. Miracles
  9. Running To You
  10. On Your Knees
  11. Mighty To Save
  12. Jesus Freak
  13. We Remember
  14. I’ll Be
  15. Give Me To You
  16. Glorious
  17. Born Again (French Horn Rebellion Remix)
  18. Miracles (Mega Is A Gang Remix)
  19. Way Beyond Myself (Flatline Remix)
  20. Mighty To Save (Family Force 5 Remix)
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5 responses to “Review: Newsboys – Born Again: Miracles Edition

  1. Andrew May 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I just re-listened to this album the other day and realized that two of the songs on the original album (Build Us Back & We Remember) are covers of Know Hope Collective songs.

  2. Tyler Hess May 23, 2011 at 6:17 am

    interesting, but KHC came out after born again, how do you know who covered whom?

  3. Andrew May 24, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    The Newsboys’s album booklet credits Mark Stuart for Build Us Back, with the copyright belonging to Integrity (since We Remember is a bonus track it’s lyrics and copyright information wasn’t in the booklet I had originally at least) . Also, KHC’s album credits Mark Stuart & Jason Walker for both songs with the copyright going to Integrity again.

  4. Tyler Hess May 25, 2011 at 6:00 am

    ah, well, there we go, thanks for the info!

  5. Blake Johnson June 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I love the album personally. Originally I got the regular edition of Born Again when it came out last year. I actually didn’t have to buy this newest version, because I got it for free when I met them in person two months ago haha. I think it’s a great album and great start for the new crew overall. Now that Peter Furler’s debut solo album is out though, we can finally listen to the actual traditional newsboys sound again, with an even better sound than before!

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