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NEWSBOYS REMIXED (2002)
Newsboys Remixed - Click to view! Remix albums are difficult projects to undertake. On the bright side, they're limited to old material, giving artists a brief respite from songwriting and composition. These benefits come at a high price, however, as expectations for remixed tracks are much more stringent. Remixed songs no longer have the innovative glow of a first listen, so they must offer either significant improvement or radically different arrangements to make their purchase worthwhile. Unfortunately, Newsboys Remixed doesn't quite make the cut, with half of the CD comprised of inventive and engaging tracks, and the other full of tracks that would've been better left alone.

The CD begins well, with a remix that breathes new life into "It Is You." In a style evocative of a slave chant, a lone male voice repeatedly sings a line from the 23rd Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd / He restores my soul." Other small changes free the original of its former heavy, sluggish feeling. Simple tones give the chorus a powerful aura, and deep rumbling cymbals evoke the calming sensation of ocean waves. The only drawback is the loss of the original climatic bridge and the ensuing build of power, as the remix version lapses back into the 23rd Psalm before gently fizzling out.

"Fad of the Land" and "Thrive" each receive flattering makeovers, the music altered to do justice to their original lyrical potential. A slightly cosmic, mechanized sound lends itself well to the witty, sarcastic lyrics in "Fad of the Land," while a dance beat gives an appropriately uplifting feel to the more spiritual "Thrive. "Joy" fits into the radically different category, with a pleasing beginning that combines techno, brass outbursts and synthesized strings before lapsing into familiar electric guitar enhanced by a dance rhythm. The remix of "Love Liberty Disco" is similarly changed, and a monotone voice slowly repeating the song's title serves as the only landmark for the first two minutes. When the lyrics do arrive, they're brief and boosted with a dance beat. Bringing up the end of the lineup is a catchy "Mega Mix," a fast-paced, eight-minute audio montage of the Newsboys' hit songs that fans will recognize from Shine The Hits.

A few songs simply didn't need to be remixed. Changes to "Entertaining Angels" are minimal and pointless, while "Shine's" new gritty, static edge does little to improve the song. Distorting Peter Furler's voice in "Rescue" is an unappealing and unsuccessful attempt to change a song that was lively enough to begin with. However, while these songs just came across as unremarkable, there are several tracks that sound considerably worse for the wear. The wonder is lost in "Beautiful Sound" when synthesized sounds replace the original guitar and elegant string arrangements. The vocals on "Million Pieces" sound like they're coming through low-quality walkie-talkies, and an unintelligible line becomes increasingly annoying as it's repeated throughout the song. Contrary to its name "Good Stuff" is anything but enjoyable, and its corny music and cloying chorus of "la's" would be more appropriate in an elevator then on a Newsboys CD.

When it comes down to it, listening to Newsboys Remixed is like panning for gold. True, there are a few gems, but whether or not it's worth sifting through the silt to find them is questionable. A DJ, perhaps, or the owner of a dance club would be wise to invest in this album, as the upbeat cuts are easy to move to. Lesser fans, however, would be well advised to content themselves with older material and save their money for the next new CD.
- Becca Tuttle
June 2004
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