As I sit here and listen to this album I think to myself, "Why?" In case you haven't heard the Newsboys released a new album on Nov. 16 entitled Love, Liberty, Disco. If you're a big Newsboys fan and haven't heard this yet, you're in for a big surprise. Many bands have drastically changed their sound this year like Jars of Clay, Third Day, Delirious and The Insyderz. Well, add the Newsboys to that list. I think that when the Boys sat down they said, "Alright let's do a album that's totally different from anyone else including ourselves." Well needless to say they succeeded, and in a major way. I think that many bands are under so much pressure to do good that they forget to have fun. As we all know very well the Boys are very good at having fun and i think they did here.
Lyrically, the album is incredible. All the lyrics were written by Peter Furler and Phil Joel. They deal with everything from love, to conviction, to the Holy Spirit and wrap it up into one project: Love, Liberty, Disco. The first song, "Beautiful Sound" has a couple different meanings. The obvious one is that the Lord loves to hear us sing. Looking at it closely I think they were trying to point out that we are "poetry in motion" in God's eyes. What a humbling thought. The title cut "Love, Liberty, Disco" says that there is a God that loves us and a family that loves us. Once I looked at the song closely I saw a theme of heaven. The little drawing next to the song in the album jacket kind of reinforces that idea. The song "Forever Man" talks about God being the Forever Man. Our society focuses on people who are original. The lyrics, "Good news for the common man, made by the creator's hands" is encouraging because it reminds us that God created us in His image for His purpose. The only disturbing part in this song is when they mimic the vocal band Glad.
My favorite song, "Good Stuff" is based on the love chapter, 1 Cor. 13. I feel it's a challenge to believers to "show what we know, let the good stuff flow." Showing love is something that we know how to do, but often forget. The song, "Everyone's Someone" is a reminder to all that "no matter who you are, no matter where you run to, no matter what you do, no matter what you're going through. When it all comes down everyone's someone." The song "Say You Need Love" talks about unconditional love. It talks about God's love for us that we sometimes don't return in full. "I would Give Everything" starts out depressing, but ends on a happy note. It's hard to tell exactly what this song is about. I think it's actually the Boys' statement of faith. Some of the lyrics are, "I would give everything to give nothing" and continuously asks the question of "How long?" The song "Break" is a song of conviction by the Holy Spirit. One of the lyrics in the song is , "A world full of hurt so full of need. The closer I get I see. The less of me." talks about seeing the need and letting the Spirit break us and let Him take control.
"I Surrender All" is pretty self-explanatory in itself. However this isn't the same song that we sing in church, but the application is the same. At the end of the song, it talks about God's nature is to love us, but not the things we do. God doesn't have to love us because He's God, but He does anyway. "Fall On You," the last song on the album talks about letting the Holy Spirit fill us. I think that it was the perfect song to end the album with. It summed up all of the topics on the album and ended up with the source of it all the Holy Spirit.
Musically, the album is very different from typical Newsboys stuff. It has a very wide range of styles. It has everything from something that could of fit on their 1995 Going Public album and Step Up to the Microphone. "Beautiful Sound" sounds like something that would of been on Step Up... "Forever Man" starts out slow and finishes on a mediocre pace. It's a good song, but their Glad-like sound, at one point, turned me off. This was the first time that I've ever noticed all the members doing harmony that stuck out that much. "Good Stuff," my personal favorite, has that Step Up material sound to it. "Everyone's Someone" is one of the few Newsboys songs since Going Public that has a very defined guitar solo. Jody's guitar solo reminds me of a mix between Hendrix, late 70's rock, and lounge. This song is very smooth and relaxing especially with the strings and the rhyme scheme together. "Break" starts out like a lullaby, especially with Jeff's piano, but picks up speed near the end.
"Love, Liberty, Disco;" "Say You Need Love" and "I Would Give Everything" all have that disco feel to it. "Say You Need Love" is very much like "Love, Liberty, Disco." Peter's voice sounds a little reminiscent of Going Public. "I Would Give Everything" sounds like a song that would be on the opening credits to an 80's romance movies or a one hour TV drama. Most of us have heard "Love, Liberty, Disco" on the radio or WOW 2000. If you haven't, it sounds like the BeeGee's "Saturday Night Fever," except for the pre-pubescent voice. It's the kind of song I can see people dancing to at a concert and singing along. I like listening to that song in the car and doing that John Travolta thing through my rolled-down window.
"I Surrender All" sounds like a hymn, even though it's not the one popular well-known version. It's a nice slow song that puts your heart in place. It is the second to last song which I think opens up your heart for the Spirit on "Fall On You." If this song weren't on this album I wouldn't be able to tell it's the Newsboys because Peter's voice is very high-pitched. The song switches between a slow melodic rhyme to a more upbeat, disco feel and back down at the end. I was hoping that they'd finish off the album in a bang, but was satisfied nonetheless. It was a good song to end the album with because it talks about seeing a need and wanting to help, but letting the Spirit help as well.
Overall I think the mix of simple, down to earth, loving lyrics and music are a good blend. It carries a good beat through the entire album. The lyrics are genuine and that's what matters. I think they saw a need in today's society and addressed it in a trendy sort of way. It's applicable to either Christian or non-Christian alike. Longtime fans of the band will probably enjoy this interesting musical approach the most, but it's well worth checking out.- Review date: 11/17/99, written by Kevin Chamberlin
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