With the unstoppable popularity of worship projects flooding the Christian music industry, it shouldn't come as a surprise when popular acts like the Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, Third Day, and Michael W. Smith begin releasing worship-themed projects. So how do these projects compare to those soley dedicated to that genre of music?
For those familiar with the big names in CCM best known for their catchy positive tunes with common lyrical themes, it is known that most of these artists strive for true musical quality. Many worship projects, created solely to be used as a tool for our intimate time with the Lord, are often raw and musically simplistic but aren't without Spiritual impact. So what kind of result is there when musical quality and intimate worship are fused to perfection? Why, the answer's simple. This can be heard quite easily from acts like Rock N Roll Worship Circus, Delirious?, Third Day, and most recently on board the worship train, the Newsboys.
Adoration: The Worship Album is the Australian-bred quintet's first offering of a collection of songs written and performed for the sole purpose of moving the heart of God. The project opens with the first single from the album, "He Reigns," a Newsboys original that fuses a signature melodic sound enhanced by a Gospel choir that complements and doesn't overpower. An incredible rendition of the popular "You Are My King (Amazing Love)" follows, with Peter Furler and Phil Joel's lead vocals feeling right at home with the classic. While this song has been covered by worship leaders time and time again, I've yet to hear a rendition as complete and solid as what the Newsboys have done here. The tame and sometimes redundant "Great Is Your Faithfulness" precedes an upbeat new take on the 2000 Newsboys original, "Praises," complete with new lyrics. The title track is a memorable pop ballad with lyrics that could pass it off easily as a Christmas anthem, complete with "O come let us adore Him..." The down-to-earth and personal lyrical approach reminds us how much He loves and cares for us and deserves every ounce of our adoration. "In Christ Alone" is a worthy take on the Getty and Townend original and serves as an intro for two dynamic live versions of newer Newsboys classics, "Lord (I Don't Know)" and the smash hit "It Is You" (both from last year's Thrive). Adoration winds down with two more original highlights, first with the unique "Father, Blessed Father." "Father" begins with a melancholic and quirky guitar riff that gives way to a pop worship tune that builds to a climax that successfully incorporates a Gospel choir. Before the track ends, the song deliciously pays tribute to a most memorable classic Newsboys tune from over seven years ago, "Breathe (Benediction)" from their glorious 1996 album, Take Me To Your Leader. In the same vein as "Father," "Hallelujah" (not to be confused with the track by the same name from 1998's Step Up To the Microphone) offers a quirky intro and tasty yet subtle drum loop that only introduces a more traditional of a worship song (complete with a backup choir).
Although a different direction for the Newsboys, it's territory they explore and conquer beautifully with Adoration. As pop giants like these guys continue to raise the bar on what to expect in new worship music, we can only hope to see more projects like these in releases to come.- Review date: 4/4/03, written by John DiBiase
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