Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What makes the Newsboys so good?

Last weekend we drove down to Austin to see the Newsboys in concert. The Newsboys are a Christian band from Australia who have been around for just about as long as U2. Unlike U2, they have not lost their original greatness, as they continue to add to their 6 gold records. Their name sums up who they are and what they are about. "Gospel" means "Good News" and their purpose is to spread the news of Jesus Christ.

So what is it that makes the Newsboys so good?

They are extremely talented musically. Watching Peter Furler go from guitar to bass to drums, all while singing in his own gravelly style is remarkable. But there are lots of talented acts out there.

Their concerts are lots of fun. The high-tech lighting and video make it an amazing experience. And who can argue with upside-down dueling drums and Captain Crunch fights? But their greatness is not just in their entertainment value.

In my opinion, what makes the Newsboys uniquely great is one man who does not even appear on stage. His name is Steve Taylor, and he writes most of the lyrics. I listened to Steve Taylor's solo work way back in the day. He was something of a firebrand, belting out confrontational lines such as "You're so open-minded that your brain leaked out." My favorite song from his solo career is called "Bad Rap", and it includes this verse:

You save the whales, you save the seals,
You save whatever's cute and squeals.
But you kill that "thing" that's in the womb
Would not want no baby boom
Good, bad, laugh and scorn
Blame yourself for kiddie porn
Convenience is the law you keep
And your compassion's ankle deep.

Who ya tryin' to kid, kid?
Wrap it in a fine philosophy.
Who ya tryin' to kid, kid?
But your bottom line still says "me, me, me"
Got your heads together now?
Got a way that's better now?
Who ya tryin' to kid, kid?
Steve Taylor has written dozens of songs for the Newsboys, and I wish that I could share a whole bunch of them with you. We could discuss how he uses a song about Breakfast to show how we don't mourn like those who have no hope, or how he uses plays on sounds and names in a song about how our lives and words must point people to Jesus. But to really do them justice, you'll have to sit down with the lyric sheet, listen to the music, and get lost in the wit and genius of a great songwriter, but most importantly appreciate how he uses his gift to bring glory to God.

1 comment:

todd said...

"He Reigns!" is my favorite!