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Love Liberty Disco - Click to view! Styling fake afros, blinding new white disco outfits, and excessive amounts of make-up, the boys from down under are back with their latest studio recording. Unfortunately.

Ever since the departure of John James from the Newsboys after their Take Me to Your Leader project, the band has attempted to pull themselves together under the leadership of drummer-now-turned-vocalist Peter Furler. Since then, they've taken a nose dive into the reject box of my CD collection. Step Up to the Microphone (1997) was evidence of their shortcomings. The proof is in the pudding in this latest album, Love Liberty Disco. In an attempt to draw listeners in with their happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic, fun side, the boys from down under simply lack focus.

There are several points to keep in mind before even THINKING about buying this album:

Point #1: Australians Can't Disco. Before I begin, let it be known that I am in no way biased against Aussies. I am a big fan of Rebecca St. James and, one of my personal favorites, Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. However, since the title cut lacks the same special groove and original synthesizer sound of the disco we all know, yet not necessarily love, it only makes me draw the hypothesis that the Newsboys just completely missed out on the 70s era.

Point #2: Just Because The Title Has The Word "Disco" In It Does Not Mean That Your Dad Will Like This CD. There are only two cuts from the album that even hardly resemble disco, and those are the title track and "Say You Need Love," a springy synth tune that will annoy even 40 year-old fat guys wearing disco suits and reliving a mid-life crisis.

Point #3: It's Not Rock, Either. Gone are the days of good, fun, rock hits with a Christian message like "Breakfast" or "Shine". Listeners will have a hard time finding anything that sounds like rock, or alternative, or anything cool for that matter, on this entire album. "Good Stuff," which is track #4, is only a cheap imitation of PFR's "Anything" and a vain attempt at rocking.

Point #4: There Are Only Two Decent Songs. The only songs worth listening to on Love Liberty Disco are the opener, "Beautiful Sound," and track #3, "Forever Man." Both are reminiscent of the old school Newsboys sound and there's a hint of the original style present. "Beautiful Sound" describes how beautiful the sound of voices praising God in unison is, and "Forever Man" is about receiving eternal life through Jesus. Still, even these two songs are not worth purchasing the entire CD, so I suggest waiting to see if the EP's will be released.

Point #5: You Will Not Make It Through The Entire CD Without Falling Asleep. For those of you who are insomniacs, you just might consider purchasing this album. The remaining songs "Everyone's Someone," "I Would Give Everything," "Break," "I Surrender All," and "Fall On You," can all be described in one word: BORING. These are all mainly on the last half of the CD, and while they may seem to carry a message, they are totally devoid of any real emotion behind the lyrics, and only serve to further the point that the Newsboys have lost their focus.

Point #6: It's Horribly Low-Budget. Upon opening the CD case, I was disturbed by the horrible gaze of Satan staring back at me. Oh, wait, that's only Peter Furler with too much eye shadow on! And look, there's Marilyn Manson (a.k.a. Jeff Frankenstein) right next to him wearing excessive amounts of lipstick and eye shadow as well. And forget about learning the song lyrics. Most of the lyrics are on crude pictures of scribbled on sheets of paper, with many lyrics either missing or marked out. Besides that, it's all taken in black and white, which impairs my vision even more. To put it in Layman's terms, the Newsboys simply did not put much into this album.

So goes the latest release from Christian music's once semi-popular rock band from Australia. Even though it is truly a let-down, don't think that Love Liberty Disco can't serve a useful purpose. I recommend it for a paperweight, a doorstop, a frisbee, or a gift for that one really annoying friend of yours. This is your chance to get even. Still, if you're a faithful follower of the Newsboys to the bitter end (and I pity you if you are), this album shouldn't disappoint. Unfortunately, it does.
- Rick Foux
January 2000
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