Release Date: May 27th 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Jesus Did
One of the most inspiring, honest, vulnerable, comforting, moving, and inspiring artists I’ve heard throughout the 32 years I have been alive, is the Aussie CCM band Newsboys. Comprising of Michael Tait, Jeff Frankenstein, Jody Davis, and Duncan Phillips; this 30 + year old band originated in the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. My brother Jon wrote a blog about the group that you can read about here, as well as his most recent reviews on the band’s album STAND from last year, and their 2019 album UNITED, which reunited long-time members Phil Joel and Peter Furler for a season- for the highly popular Newsboys United tour as well! One of the bands that I was listening to back in 2006 onwards- it was this band amongst others that helped me expand my musical horizons beyond just Carman and Delirious?. Not that those aforementioned artists were bad in any way (check out blogs about Carman and Delirious? here and here!); but when you look at Newsboys and their impact the humble Aussie band have had on the CCM industry as a whole (read our blog about Newsboys here!)… how could you not be enamoured and impacted by their music? Songs like “Breakfast”, “Shine”, “He Reigns”, “Love Liberty Disco”, “It Is You”, “Million Pieces”, “Entertaining Angels”, “In Wonder”, “Wherever We Go”, “In The Hands Of God”, “Born Again”, “God’s Not Dead”, “We Believe”, “Guilty”, “Crazy”, “I’m Not Ashamed”, “You Are My King (Amazing Love)”, “Step Up To The Microphone”, “Stay Strong”, “Glorious”, “Lord (I Don’t Know)”, “Thrive”, “Devotion”, “Presence (My Heart’s Desire)”, “I Am Free”, “That Home” and “Live With Abandon” have all impacted my life, and most likely the lives of many people in the whole world.
Even with Michael Tait replacing Peter Furler as lead vocals back in 2009… listeners and critics have welcomed this transition of lead vocals with open arms. The result is a group that has been around for over 30 years, who has presented the word of God in their songs many, many times, and a band who is unashamed of the gospel, and whose mission is to draw people closer to Jesus, regardless of how popular that may be or look like to the modern world at large. In 2019, the group released their most ambitious project in probably CCM history. UNITED featured the return of Phil Joel and Peter Furler- and you can read all about the album and our thoughts here. If you’re fascinated about Newsboys and their history, you can read their Wikipedia… but since this past week is when Newsboys have released their brand new single “Jesus Did”… well it’s time to let you all know my thoughts of this song, and give you all my two cents’ worth, don’t you think?
Let me be frank and honest for a bit- I love Newsboys. Their songs have strengthened my faith and my walk with God, and I don’t really have a preference of lead singer- both Peter Furler and Michael Tait are both compelling, powerful, honest, vulnerable, and authentic. However, with such a quick turnaround from STAND to this new single (presumably from a new album, or even maybe a potential deluxe edition version of STAND!), “Jesus Did” … well it’s solid, but it’s not spectacular. With Michael as effervescent and exquisite vocally as ever, “Jesus Did” is as poppy and as CCM as any Newsboys melody I’ve ever heard. There’s nothing wrong musically, nor even lyrically with this melody. But the ease at which questions can be answered without any probing or wrestling with doubts; well, it makes this song pretty simplistic, don’t you think? As Michael fervently declares that ‘…I didn’t think that I could ever change, or that my heart would even want to, all the fears that I never faced were building lies I couldn’t break through, nobody else could’ve reached for me, could’ve pulled me out, could’ve set me free, hallelujah, Jesus did…’, we are presented with a testimony type track, but still a track that paints the Christian life as being an easy life and as being like sunshine and rainbows. To be fair, songs on CCM radio are pretty simplistic, and bands like Newsboys sometimes dive into the cliché lyrically. But as a stand-alone single or even as a lead single to an unnamed album, “Jesus Did” is just ok, and isn’t as ‘wow’ as I originally thought it would be.
What more can I say about “Jesus Did” the song, that I haven’t mentioned already? Personally, I reckon this song is solid, but it isn’t as good as many from their catalogue of late- songs like “We Believe”, “God’s Not Dead”, “Born Again” and “Guilty” to name a few. This song reminds me of the Love Riot era- probably my least favourite Michael Tait era; and if you’re not a fan of Michael Tait as lead singer and prefer Peter Furler instead, then “Jesus Did” probably won’t resonate with you. But I’d say check it out anyway, as you never know if it’ll be your new favourite song or not. As the overall encompassing theme of Newsboys’ latest project is one that is being convicted and passionate to stand for Christ in everything that we do; we are reminded by this fact and are encouraged to be more active in our faith. In this song we are also encouraged that Jesus reached for us, pulled us out of the pit, and loved us even when no-one else would; and this sentiment is still worth pondering over. “Jesus Did” isn’t their best song, but it isn’t Newsboys’ worst. And so, I will say this: well done guys for a melody that though musically and lyrically simple, still makes us think. I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for you next in the future!
RIYL: Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys 1.0, Stellar Kart, DC Talk