I wonder where you all were when Peter Furler, longtime member of possibly one of Christian music’s most famous bands ever, announced that he was stepping away from being the front-man of the Newsboys. I know where I was- in front of my computer, staring at the words, as if, at the time, everything else didn’t matter except for the news that was right in front of me. There was a moment where I thought I would never buy a Newsboys album again. Not because I knew that Michael Tait wasn’t a worthy replacement, but rather it was because the Newsboys that was going to be; may not have been the Newsboys I had grown to love when Peter was front man.
Michael Tait brings a different energy to Newsboys, one that showcases more of their rock/dance sound. Gone are the days of songs like ‘Breakfast’, ‘Shine’, ‘I’m Not Ashamed’, ‘Entertaining Angels’, ‘Love Liberty Disco’, even songs like ‘Glorious’, ‘Stay Strong’, ‘Wherever We Go’ and ‘In the Hands of God’ from their set lists- which is quite a shame. And with only ‘Something Beautiful’ and ‘He Reigns’ being the sole representatives of the Peter Furler era being sung in their concerts currently; we as a site dedicate this Sentimental Saturdays post to reflect upon the journey of the Newsboys, as we appreciate how much Peter Furler was a blessing and a powerful songwriter when he was in the band.
This is not a post to say that Peter Furler and his new solo material are much better than the current Newsboys now. Michael Tait has relaunched the band, and they now have as much energy as previously. Yet somehow when I look at the Newsboys now and compare them back to when they were predominantly Australian, I smile and be appreciative that in fact I was a part of the time when Peter Furler was around. There is a difference when it comes to growing up with a band and listening to their music as lead singers change, compared to that of just listening to the band after the change, and then going back to listen to what you have missed out on.
The Newsboys now is great. The Newsboys before was great too. Yet I have felt that too many bands, with a change of personnel, want to badly change their sound. And maybe that’s ok. Michael I’m sure can’t necessarily sing all Peter Furler tracks- he has to have his own repertoire of tracks to sing from. But wouldn’t it be great if for one night in the future, they have a Newsboys concert totally dedicated to old school Newsboys. Frankly, I do miss songs like “It is You”, “Million Pieces”, “Joy”, “I Am Free”, and other energetic tracks, sung (or rather not sung) at live shows, or on the radio.
This is not a Newsboys bashing session. If you want that, then check out youtube or facebook to see advocates of both Peter and Michael hating on each other. No, this is more of an appreciation post, to notice the efforts of Newsboys, regardless who fronts the band, to society as a whole. It was the Newsboys’ albums, namely Thrive, Love Liberty Disco, Step Up to the Microphone, Devotion, Go and Adoration that solidified my faith throughout my late teenage years. And while it is great to see Peter Furler doing his own solo thing, it is still not the same. Maybe a combined Newsboys/Peter Furler Band tour in the future?
Newsboys have been busy for a while, and with the release of their new hymns album Hallelujah to the Cross in November 2014, this band is certainly not going to go anywhere. With 3 albums, 1 EP and a live project under his belt, Michael’s role as lead singer of the Newsboys is certainly cemented. Regardless of people’s views of Michael being in the band, and Peter leaving; the fact remains- Newsboys will still be one of my favourite bands, and, alongside Steven Curtis Chapman, Tim Hughes, Delirious?, Rebecca St. James, Steve Grace and Carman; have influenced my spiritual life throughout my teenage years the most.
What do you think of the current incarnation of the Newsboys? Would you pay money to see a tour of Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, Abandon, Kevin Max, TobyMac, Paul Colman and Peter Furler (Gee, that’ll cost a lot!)? What is your favourite Newsboys song ever? Do you miss songs like “Breakfast”, “Shine”, “Entertaining Angels” and “Joy”; and wish that Michael would sing them once in a while? Let us know in the comments.