The Newsboys are hitting “restart” with a new collection of pop-flavored tracks releasing Sept. 10. Although a Christian music staple for decades, the band is receiving fresh attention and accolades after the addition of Michael Tait on lead vocals and a string of successful releases, including Born Again and God's Not Dead.
For longtime drummer Duncan Phillips, the title of the new record carries a double meaning for the band and its listeners, who are living in a world of economic struggle.
“In the last few years, people have been re-evaluating their lives,” Phillips says. “The bigger house is not all they thought it would be, and they’ve realized that some of the stuff they’ve chased after does not matter. They’re focusing more on the things that are really important.”
Phillips says the Newsboys members feel like they’ve “hit the restart button and are getting going again.”
Part of the new emphasis for the band is bringing more people into the creation process, such as producers Seth Mosley and Chris Stevens, who have “great pop sensibilities,” Phillips says.
“If you like pop music, you’re going to freak out over this record,” he adds. “You tend to gravitate back to your first love in music, and I really loved the ’80s music. This record is the most pop-driven record Newsboys has ever done.”
The collaborative process has helped the band improve with time, Phillips says.
“We have had a certain amount of success [when we produced and wrote the songs], but we realized we weren’t the best at it,” he says. “Now we’re getting the best songwriters to co-write with us, and ultimately we’re getting a better record because of it.”
The album’s first single, “Live With Abandon,” released to Christian radio this summer and carries a challenge for listeners to re-engage the culture.
“People are feeling isolated and insulted, and our culture is getting crazier,” Phillips says. “Our natural reaction is to recoil into our subculture, but as Christians, we’re supposed to be in the world but not of it. We need to jump back in and show them what Christianity is all about.”
Following that same thought process, the song “Love Like You Mean It” encourages Christians to change their world by showing love to others. When Christians re-engage the culture, Phillips says, it models the love of Christ, who often reached out to those that society deemed unlovable.
“I just want to love people,” Phillips says. “I want to show them the love of Christ that He showed them.”