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JFH Music Review

Newsboys, Christmas! - A Newsboys Holiday

Christmas! - A Newsboys Holiday

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 5 tracks: 17 minutes, 31 seconds
Street Date: October 12, 2010

It's about time. Honestly, it's a little astonishing to think that after a few decades of experience under the Newsboys' belts, they have never come forward to produce a Christmas project in their career. But Tait and the gang indeed do things a little differently than before, and a Christmas project from the renewed band brings forth many possibilities. And with that, we are presented with Christmas!: A Newsboys Holiday.

As has been previously established over the past year, the Newsboys have taken on a completely different shape. With Michael Tait now on vocals, astonishing things have occurred with the Newsboys' sound. But with this new, saccharine-soaked pop vibe the quartet brings to the stage, the Christmas songs they choose to cover here are good choices for their style. Opening with Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You," the guitars and synths immediately resonates with both pop flair and Christmas cheer. "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Winter Wonderland" follow the same formula with legitimately entrancing guitar riffs infused throughout. With bells and guitars strung together, "O Holy Night" makes a glorious appearance and fits well as a slower track in the mix. Finally, "The Christmas Song" closes out the set with a classically presented rendition of the holiday favorite.

It's hard to argue that each track doesn't do a good job encompassing the Christmas spirit, but there's definitely much that lacks from the EP. First of all, four of the five tracks presented here are not exactly very spiritual in their content. While done well enough, there's very little of Jesus' birth mentioned except for "O Holy Night." And oddly enough, it's "O Holy Night" that seems the most musically lacking. For a seriously worded song with the gravity of the subject matter, it doesn't seem to quite fit the incessantly poppy sound that accompanies the song, especially with the other tracks considered. As a result, the whole project feels lopsided, almost as if the band had to include an unmistakably "keep-the-Christ-in-Christmas" favorite to keep Jesus in the project somewhere. "The Christmas Song" fits Tait's voice quite well (in reference to their song "One Shot," he can indeed "sing like Nat King"), however, interestingly enough, it's not a Newsboys track. Recorded years ago as a bonus song on Tait's Lose This Life, its composition feels like it came from a completely different recording session, and it was. In some ways, it feels a little cheap to include an old Tait song from years ago on a Newsboys record (assuming listeners won't necessarily know the difference), and though it feels tacked on to the end as a cop-out, it's still a fine track standing alone.

A Christmas project from the Newsboys has been more than overdue. It does make one wonder what the result would have looked like if Peter Furler's wit and charm were involved, and it seems to be that we'll never know. But with Tait at the reins, despite its shortcomings, Christmas!: A Newsboys Holiday is nothing but a magical EP fit for any Newsboys fan's collection this season.

- Review date: 10/10/10, written by Roger Gelwicks of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

In what has become a banner year for the refaced pop rock act Newsboys, the band wastes no time putting new lead singer Michael Tait's voice on another batch of songs, this time on their first ever seasonal project - a Christmas EP. While it's tempting to ponder why the band had to wait until their third frontman change to produce a holiday record, it's safe to say it's about time. The EP does well to capture the band's current power pop sound with Tait at the helm as they tackle four traditional Christmas tunes and a remake of a Mariah Carey 90's favorite. The EP makes a nice accompaniment for their hit new album, Born Again, but it's a little odd to try to shake off the idea that one of the tracks, "The Christmas Song," is actually the same exact rendition Michael recorded for his 2003 Tait band album, Lose This Life... so the track doesn't feature the Newsboys on it at all (Perhaps if it were an iTunes bonus track in addition to five or six actual Newsboys recordings would have made more sense, but the way it's presented almost feels a bit lazy). And while it stylistically doesn't even feel like the other four songs, it's still undeniably a fantastic rendition of the timeless tune, as Tait captures a Nat King Cole feel beautifully. So while the EP is rather short and very, very overdue, it's still a fun holiday addition... and just maybe the guys will expand it in the future. - John DiBiase, 10/10/10


. Record Label: Inpop Records
. Album length: 5 tracks: 17 minutes, 31 seconds
. Street Date: October 12, 2010
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It:

  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You (3:14)
  2. Jingle Bell Rock (3:14)
  3. O Holy Night (3:58)
  4. Winter Wonderland (2:31)
  5. The Christmas Song (4:34)





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