Newsboys-Everyone+Tait=?

Recently the Newsboys announced that Michael Tait would be taking over as their new lead singer. For those who have followed Christian music and all of its strange quirks, the pairing is something could only be contrived in dream sleep—whether it is a dream come true or a nightmare depends on your perspective. Michael Tait made a name for himself as a member of the multi-platinum rap-turned-rock-turned-pop DC Talk with his great voice and Lenny Kravitz-esque styling. The Newsboys made a name for themselves by, well…making sounds that Christian teenagers like to hear—not to discredit their contributions though, as they were one of the more creative Christian bands in the 1990s.

Both bands were lauded for doing what most other Christian bands couldn’t—be both unique and talented (not overly so, but more than the scene was accustomed to). Both bands went through some intriguing changes—Peter Furler took over as lead singer of the Newsboys in 1998 with the appropriately titled Step Up to the Microphone (he had been the drummer and primary songwriter). Furler was probably always considered the leader of the band; now, he was also the frontman. Additionally, Furler was the only original member of the band by that point, though Phil Joel, Jody Davis, and Jeff Frankenstein settled into permanent spots with Duncan Phillips taking over behind the drums for Furler. By 2002, Newsboys peeked creatively with Thrive. Subsequently, they jumped onto the praise and worship bandwagon that made Christian radio even more unlistenable with Adoration in 2003. Of course, this gave them the best sales of their career, but we all know that doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Arguably the most talented members of Newsboys, Phil Joel and Jody Davis left the band to pursue solo interests. But Newsboys was a cash cow not yet ready to meet demise.

DC talk on the other hand has had their history so well documented, it’s hardly worth mentioning here, but in summary, it can be said that the solo albums revealed that most of creative talent was tied to Toby Mckeehan’s pop sensibilities and Kevin Max’s unorthodox approach. Tait was responsible for bringing a nice voice and not much else.

Sadly, a great voice doesn’t take away from the ubiquitous blandness found in both Tait’s solo work and more recent Newsboys work. In an interview with Tait, the Newsboys, and several peer artists like Third Day, the new pairing of Tait with Newsboys has been likened unto a combination of Burger King and McDonalds—a super burger. An incredibly greasy burger that will clog your arteries and make you want to die, perhaps.

No friends, this is not the joining of two goods to form a greater one. This is the joining of two has-beens trying to survive in a collapsing market. This is the clinging to an audience that still exists but is too naïve to understand that this is neither the Newsboys nor the DC Talk of the 1990s. What should be done here? The Newsboys need to call it a career. On the other hand, this is an infinitively better career move for Tait—songwriting duties will still belong to Furler—and once again he will only have to provide a decent voice. I wince as I watch this pairing though; it’s just not right to fleece the flock like this. Newsboys should not have DC Talk songs in their setlist and Michael Tait should not be fronting an Australian band that has no original members left.

I kinda feel like ranting…

But I’m not sure if I am in a position to do so. So, instead of a rant, I’m just going to see where the flow goes… wait, is that the same as ranting?

See… I get on some blogosphere and read politics, politics and more politics. I get it almost everyday when I’m back at my school… okay, my school is Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell, so that’s to be expected…. I know, I know. Truth is, it’s actually not what you might think… as a school, they would encourage you to form your own opinions far more than most secular schools. Most of the faculty is pretty conservative, but that’s not a requirement. In fact, I’d say I’m much more open minded now than I ever was… funny how I’ve bought books dissenting from the Religious Right and such right on campus.

A while back I made a post about my frustrations with the polarization in Christian circles. I don’t agree with the Religious Right on some things… mostly because the only issues they push tend to be limited.

Now, I am pro-life… I will say that. I don’t think a young lady who has just had an abortion needs to be harrassed and criminalized. There needs to be an efficient system to allow for more adoptions. Many people would love to adopt, but they can’t afford the process. Should abortion be illegal? Yes, I think it should be. But really… there has to be more than condemnation offered to the woman who’s just made one of the most difficult decisions she could ever make.

I don’t support gay marriage…. I said before that I’m not terrified of it. It’s probably never going to affect me personally. The way I see it, marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman… usually under authority of government, but even back to ancient Roman times, marriage is more than a legal agreement. In ancient Roman society, Roman citizens were legally able to marry non-citizens… they did anyway… the spouse just didn’t have the same protections that a citizen would have. These were illegitimate marriages in the eyes of the government, but were still every bit a marriage. My point is actually from the reverse…. legal recognition is not the deciding factor for legitimacy. If the government sees gay marriage as legitimate, okay… so they do. It doesn’t really hurt me or my beliefs. I don’t agree with it, and I’ll say so…. but really… my faith isn’t about making everyone who doesn’t believe like I do act like me. If someone doesn’t share my faith, I don’t expect them to have the same convictions as me…. they can’t. That applies to so much more than this of course.

Regarding those above issues… I’d prefer that they be decided at the state level rather than national.

Anyway.

War is hell.

Yeah…. it is. No denying. But really…. it’s amazing how jerkish so many people get over the issue. Most arguments resort to ad hominems and other logical fallacies. Then I read stuff like “Who would Jesus bomb?” It’s more than an overly-emotional featured blogpost on xanga…. actually it stems from a movement founded by Shane Claiborne (see Irresistable Revolution) and company. Jesus probably wouldn’t bomb anyone…. He wouldn’t be a politician in a democracy. He’d speak up for treating people with equality. He’d say that the governments that are in place are there because there’s a plan in place. He’d say that we should help the poor and the homeless…. but guess what….

People wouldn’t listen if Jesus was here right now. They didn’t then. They wouldn’t now.

My faith is not political. I care about politics because I’m a citizen of the U.S. and the world. That said, if we can influence our nation to care about people…. how wonderful would that be?

My worldview isn’t really US-centric. I’m fascinated by foreign cultures. I’ve studied culture a lot. It’s really a beautiful thing to see our differences and appreciate them. May I recommend a book? Beyond Culture… by Edward T. Hall…. it will open your eyes. I am not the world. You are not either. We are.

So, I guess I  am ranting anway.

Ah well.

Why can’t I have a presidential candidate I like?

Ah well. At least we can still voice our opinions here… unlike in some places. The right to dissent is a beautiful thing…. especially when you’re reading 1984.

Food for thought: No form of government is more uniting of its people than monarchy… especially a benevolent monarchy. King Cyrus of ancient Persia is still my favorite world leader of all time.

Now, I’m going to go write some free verse or maybe I’ll read… or continue to enjoy The Duhks… sweet tunes.

Excuse my ADD exhibited above.