This week on Worship Wednesdays, we are going to be quickly delving into Newsboys smash hit from 2003, called “He Reigns”, and diving deeper into who this song is so popular and life-edifying!
One of the few songs from the Peter Furler frontman era that is sung by Michael Tait at concerts; this song was the first single on the album Adoration in 2003, which saw the band expand their musical genre from pop to worship, much to the excitement, confusion and, as time progressed welcome, of many fans around the world. And if you ask me what my favourite Newsboys song is, “He Reigns” would be second (behind the Desperation Band cover “I Am Free”). Why is this so? Well though it’s musically simple (with a powerful electric guitar riff at the beginning, and a mid-tempo pop/rock sound) there’s that Holy Spirit anointing on the song that I can’t seem to explain in a few sentences. Sometimes God inhabits a song for a time, more so than others (that’s just my opinion); and sometimes it’s just intuition, and you can tell that a song is special. That certainly was the case with “He Reigns”!
One of the songs on WOW Hits 2004 (one of the first CD’s we received in the mail in 2003) that completely blew me away and hence one of the songs that introduced me to more genres and artists in CCM; I would have to congratulate Newsboys for writing and releasing this song. Though it’s not really popular to sing at our church (our church is more in favour of Hillsong, Jesus Culture and Bethel Music); it’s the simple and heartfelt words of Peter singing out glory, hallelujah, He reigns, that touch me the most, and transport me to a place of unbridled and uninhibited worship to God.
With the music video below featuring the band singing on a beach, and people of different ethnic backgrounds praising God in unison, with such emotion, passion and honesty, no doubt songs like “He Reigns” have the power to bridge barriers and cross cultural boundaries, and that is predominately why I am talking about it today. When Michael took over the band 5 years ago as lead vocalists, a great chunk of songs from the setlist of live shows when Peter was around was slowly transitioned out, with songs from Born Again, God’s Not Dead and Restart now included. But a few songs remain from Furler’s era, and one such song is “He Reigns”, proving to us that the track has lasting power beyond anything we could ever imagine. It’s probably one of the songs from Newsboys to impact people the most. It’s got no flowery or sophisticated language, nor does the song talk in riddles like the tongue in cheek songs such as “Cornelius”, “John Woo”, “I Fought The La”, “The Fad Of The Land”, even “Breakfast” and “Shine”; yet “He Reigns” probably carries more meaning than any of the fun, pop Newsboys songs (not to say that they’re not good, it’s just that “He Reigns” is something different!), and that is why I will always speak highly of the track.
Every time I listen to the song, there’s always something to gain from it, whether it’s a personal worship moment or a time where we can sit and reflect on the goodness of God. Debuting at #4 on the Christian charts in 2003; Peter and the gang are to be congratulated, as well as Michael for recognising the song as something that still needs to be sung on a Newsboys set list. There will come a day when this song disappears from a Newsboys setlist all together (and maybe feature more heavily on Peter Furler’s own set list) however that day is not going to be soon I think. If there’s a song you should listen to first if you haven’t heard of the Newsboys; then “He Reigns” is it!
Check out the music video below (featuring Peter on lead vocals), and view Michael’s interpretation here, and let us know your thoughts of this timeless Newsboys classic!