Reviews - What do customers think about Going Public?
Forgotten Masterpiece? Jul 9, 2006
This album was the Newsboys sophmore release with a major label, although the production is a bit over the top for my taste,I personally favor "Take me to your Leader",as it sounds more like a band effort."Going Public" neverless does not disapoint,in fact some of the best songs written by Peter Furler(who by the way sings lead on most of the songs)and producer Steve Taylor are on this album."Shine","Spirit Thing","Let it Rain" and the stunning "Elle G." are some of the Newsboys finest moments.I saw the Newsboys a few years back and was surprised that they only performed one song from this great album,then again when the Beatles toured in 66' they didn't perform ANY songs from "Revolver", now considered a masterpiece.My personal favorite from this album is "Let it Rain" a touching ballad from the perspective of the apostle Peter, and how he met Christ while at sea fishing.John James, the band's "lead singer" never really sang lead on many Newsboys albums, it was later revealed that drummer and songwriter and co-producer Peter Furler sang lead on almost every song they recorded,mostly because he sounded better in the studio and James was a better frontman onstage,plus their voices sound pretty simular,but any real Newsboy fan can tell the difference.This is one of the Newsboys best albums and it would be nice if they started putting some of these songs back into their set.Great album,very minor weak spots.Enjoy!
Still The Best! Mar 11, 2006
Out of the 200 or so Christian cds I own, this one is without a doubt the best. (Though "Step Up To The Microphone" comes in close second.) I got this cd after getting "Shine: The Hits", "Thrive", and "Devotion" (all by the Newsboys). Though any Newsboys fan will tell you those cds are all equally great, they are three very different cds. I sure didn't expect what I got from "Going Public". I expected traces of a building group with promises of great things to come, and instead I found a classic cd with few low points and a "perfect" track list. This album, unlike many, got a few tears out of me after a careful listen to some of the lyrics. "Let It Rain", a poignant song about the apostle Peter's encounters with and love for Christ made me think twice about the love we should and can have for Jesus. "When You Called My Name", a song about preachers' or popular Christian musicians' struggle with being God's chosen, simply got a tear because of Jody Davis' beautiful singing at the end of the song. And "Elle G.", a song about struggling to understand a suicide, is just sad because of the truth. It's real and just lets God take control with lyrics like "God, I long to see her face, we haven't a hope beyond your grace, I know that you will overcome evil for good." The other song, which is probably my least favorite song, is "Be Still". It seems out of place, because it's not very original and slightly repetitive, not usual for the Newsboys. But I've gotten used to it. It's a great song, either way. But the other 7 songs are upbeat, clever and basically fun. The first track, "Real Good Thing", is more funny than it is evangelizing. "Shine", their most known, is smart and fun, and really doesn't need much description. "Spirit Thing" emphasizes that the Spirit is a real thing but is hard to define. "Going Public" is an upbeat song (with some cool guitaring) but takes a very serious tone, the need for evangelizing and telling the world about Christ because "the time is drawing near". "Truth And Consequences" is about the need to choose partners carefully with respect for yourself and them and God. "Lights Out", my favorite, showcases some drumming that sounds frankly arm-breaking, but at the same time awesome. The theme on this song is that no one knows when Jesus is coming back and no one should presume to know and sit around waiting. Overall, this is the best cd I own. I would compare it to "Step Up To The Microphone" or "Not Ashamed", their earlier cd. The Newsboys are a great group, and now I have all of their cds, because of how good I thought this cd was. I'm sure this cd is well worth the money. Give it a try, you will like it, or at least some of it.
One of the best of the '90s CCM explosion Feb 28, 2006
The self-defined genre of Christian Contemporary Music has rarely been known for sonic innovation, even at its artistic and commercial peak in the mid '90s. True to form, the Australia-bred Newsboys' breakthrough album Going Public is a smooth mix of pop/rock which sounds like it could have easily come out 10 years before its actual 1994 release date. The Newsboys would attempt to seem more current on later albums, but the aimless wannabe-alternative of Take Me To Your Leader and the slick psychedelic dance-pop of Step Up to the Microphone somehow felt less genuine and well developed. These and other late Newsboys efforts, though well crafted and rewarded with stronger sales, did not often coalesce with the same melodic and lyrical force as on this more straightforward set, the band's most musically regressive but also by far their most impressive album. After listening to these ten songs, not all of them great but most of them memorable, anyone should be willing to let the oh-so-'80s sound slide.
The Newsboys' message is hardly unique in the world of Christian rock. In fact, it often comes off more judgmental than necessary, opening track ("you don't get saved on merit badges... when we get what we don't deserve, it's a real good thing, a real good thing") being a prime example. Clearly the intent is not to demean anyone else's faith, but in condensing Christian tenets to their starkest terms and using them as a pop chorus, the 'Boys often come off a bit snide, at least to someone not well schooled in the original verses. This should be no surprise to fans of later Newsboys material, which only amplified this tendency, centering entire albums around the idea of being a good Christian, while somehow avoiding any admission of personal vulnerability. At times the band's music reeked of self-righteousness. It is not a problem you find in the Christian crossover bands like Jars of Clay, although their tendency is the opposite, to go so personal the Christian content of the music is less obvious.
There is a middle ground. DC Talk's Jesus Freak, in addition to being a much better album than this, and probably the best thing that has ever come out of CCM pop, is also a more lyrically accessible introduction to Christian music. Apart from one painfully self-righteous moment, DC Talk's breakthrough album works as a personal meditation on faith, whereas the Newsboys more often write about the duties of religion. What is highly unique, and makes the above flaw almost excusable, is the way this band presents its rote message, through humor. Relient K and other bands have apparently taken this to some crazy (and not particularly entertaining, in my opinion) extremes since, but the Newsboys' humor, while one might call it irreverent, doesn't get too off-topic. At once generic, dogmatic, and heavy on the synths and falsetto, the Newsboys' music has extremely catchy hooks, but would sink rather than shine without this light sense of humor. Another weak point of later albums was the departure of original singer/lyricist Jim James, leaving a band with less lyrical personality.
1. "Real Good Thing" introduces the waves of shimmery guitar and keyboard that will dominate this album. It's a song equally disturbing and comforting, for the lyrics I mentioned already. Building to a molasses-slow mantra and then dissolving, it's perhaps the most subtle song on this big sounding record, though that's not saying much.
2. "Shine," THE hit. What is there to say? I actually used to hate this song when I heard it on the radio in the background, but, er, it reveals a glint of brilliance in context. "Shine" is at least not false advertising for the band: the lyrics are the height of Jim James' corny but sardonic wit. Everyone knows them so I won't quote. As for the music, Christian bands can often get away with inferior hooks because of a built in audience for their message, but it must be said, the guitarwork in this song is stunningly catchy. The verses build with tension and the chorus provides major release, and while the influence of the Edge's minimalist riffs is probably there, it is hardly the blatant U2 ripoff often attempted by CCM artists. Very '80s sounding as I said, but still one of the best crafted pop hits of the time, Christian or not.
3. "Spirit Thing," a ballad, follows. This is one of the few songs on Going Public that attempts some sort of introspection, although that too comes off a bit impersonal and trite, but it's nonetheless another strongly melodic song making for a very impressive, diverse and well paced start to this album.
4. "Let It Rain" is far from rock. It goes heavy on the atmospheric keyboards, without much of an interesting melody. The tune and lyrics both have a gospel feel but it's so drowned in production that some may take an instant disliking to it, as I did. Those who appreciate the intricacies of 1980s production may find more redeeming qualities, especially on headphones.
5. "Going Public," the title track, is one of the strongest songs of the Newsboys' career. A dark melody and guitar riff drowned in keyboard and reverb again brings it close to mid '80s U2, without blatantly ripping them off. Truth be told, what I call U2 influence could actually be the influence of Van Halen, Rush or another arena rock band. The Newsboys come off a bit soppy in the ballads, but the techno-rockers like this and "Shine" are exceptionally well crafted and full of intensity and melodic interplay. They are, however, very heavily produced, so if you're looking for a punk/metal sound, or even the mock-alt-rock of Newsboys songs like "Cup O Tea," avoid. The lyrics, as in most of this album, detail the Christian struggle to convert and/or kill the heathen before it's too late.
6. Side two (on my tape) opens with a bit of a whimper. The too-repetitive "Truth and Consequences" being on this album is of course very catchy, but is also a little annoying. It's musically similar to "Real Good Thing," but the melody is more pedestrian and the lyrics attempt to make some point about how hard it is to be a Christian single and generally flail around with forced wit. Also an example of a song that makes this record a very poor choice for new Christians, as it could be impossible to relate to for anyone who has not lived years under a pointless vow of "no sex before marriage."
7. "Lights Out" is the only truly embarassing song on this album, though not without some guilty pleasure value. As I said, the Newsboys' punchy style of rock hardly amounts to metal, but here they attempt to go that route. The lyrics are also ridiculous, trying to put Christian ideas of end times in over the top Black Sabbath language. Short but definitely not sweet. Leave the big riffs to the big kids who can do it properly. Next.
8. "Be Still" is the most unmemorable song of the album. I don't really remember it. It's probably nice enough if you leave this album playing on in the background as you pick the kids up from soccer practice, prepare your spaghetti dinner, drive in your luxury car to a luxury church and generally ignore the tenets of the Bible dealing with poor indigent people who actually make vibrant interesting music.
9. "When You Called My Name" provides the requisite what-real-artist-was-that-melody-ripped-off-from moment on this album (a proud tradition of CCM). In this case it's Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven." This song isn't about anything so serious as a dead child, so it doesn't call to mind the same tears, but the rehashed melody makes it quite enjoyable. In fact it fulfills a very similar function to the earlier "Let it Rain" and will be enjoyed by the same people, those who appreciate aimless, atmospheric, watered down gospel pop with '80s keyboards.
10. "Elle G" is last. I like albums that say all they need in 10 songs, especially when the material is not consistent enough to deserve more of my time... and especially when they manage to go out strong at the end. The Newsboys comply with one of the most stunningly dramatic closers I've ever heard from anyone. We've already established that subtlety is not the Newsboys' forte, so with that in mind, enjoy this almost prog-rock scale pop epic. In the Newsboys favor, I have to say "Elle G" is not any kind of crime against good taste the way a typical Styx or Journey song is, and that with tracks as memorable as this which aren't even singles, Christian music doesn't quite deserve its lousy reputation. That said, this is '80s to the max, perhaps even late '70s. It builds and builds. The falsetto comes out of nowhere crashing down on you. Wave upon wave of keyboard and guitar rush toward a climax that puts even recent U2 to shame. Then it all drops out, heartbreaking. What are the lyrics? At the end they do indulge themselves with some manichean terms, but mostly they're suitably vague. I think they were supposed to be something about a friend, a girl, or maybe a woman, who committed suicide. This track at least has that intensity that can only come when the material is personal. It is smooth but still deep, a quality that often eluded the Newsboys.
"Elle G" is surely the strongest song on this album, but "Shine" and the title song also make Going Public worthwhile for any Christian pop fan. While the album drops off in the second half, suffering from insipid, uninspired music and cold lyrics, its first half is very strong and it redeems itself totally at the end. Going Public lacks the consistency of later Newsboys efforts or the flirtations with more modern sounds, but has twice the heart, even if it still doesn't come close to what DC Talk accomplished in 1995. But for better or worse, the Newsboys are one of the biggest bands of the genre, and this is their essential moment.
Good stuff Sep 7, 2005
I know this is not new music but it has sure blessed me.
Now they're going public! May 11, 2004
I must say, this album is easy to get addicted to! It has a unique style of music that a lot of other artists don't seem to have. If you want my opinion on the songs... "Real Good Thing": I can't see why anybody wouldn't like this song! It has great lyrics, great sound, and a great feeling. VERY fun. "Shine": Finally, the signature song of the 'boys! Strangely, I used to get bored whenever I thought of this song. Now, I'm in love with it! It's a VERY fun, VERY exciting song. As awesome as it is on the album, it's 100% better when it's live (I was able to see the Newsboys in concert at their Adoration tour). You can tell that these guys have TALENT! "Spirit Thing": The song that I barely remember from when I was very young. It seems like everybody loves this song! It has a really good tune, sound, and feeling. I love the guitar at the beginning. "Let It Rain": I love this one! It has a very relaxing sound and feeling. I LOVE the chorus. Great worship song!
"Going Public": Finally, the title track! It seems like nobody really talks about this song a lot. I LOVE the intro, the lyrics, and the sound. Great back-up vocals, too! I LOVE it! "Truth And Consequences": I LOVE this song! I've gotta admit, it's got a really catchy tune. Awesome lyrics, sound, and beat! "Lights Out": WOOHOO! This is probably the fastest song I've ever heard in my life. If you like fast beats, then you'll LOVE this song. It has the best vocal and instrumental arrangement. It's a VERY fun song! "Be Still": This song actually isn't bad. It has a feeling that's a lot like the feeling in "Let It Rain". It's also a VERY good worship song. It's pretty calm, too. Don't forget, I LOVE this one, too! "When You Called My Name": This is the kind of song that can stick around in your head. It's kind of quiet, but I like this song that way. There are some points where there is NO sound what so ever for about 1 or 2 seconds, just incase you think that it's skipping. I REALLY like the lyrics. Great tune, too! I LOVE this one as well! "Elle G.": This is a great song for the end of an album! If I had to pick any favorite Newsboys songs, this would surely be one of them! I really like the tune and the lyrics; the lyrics tell a really interesting story. I LOVE this one, too!
Overall, I recommend this CD to anybody who has just gotten to know the Newsboys a couple days ago (that would be if you're reading this review a couple days or so after you found out about the Newsboys), or to anybody who is FAN of the Newsboys. ENJOY!!