If you are new to Christian rock, please read this
post about the definition of Christian rock and some of the biggest questions about Christian music.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Top Songs of the Year

This list includes my top 15 songs of 2010. This is part 1 which features songs 15 through 8.

15. Impossible – Anberlin

This song is the first single released off their latest album Dark is the Way, Light is a Place. Like most of the album, this song is all about relationships. According to lead singer Stephen Christian, this song is about the hardships in love. “Love is a friction, a chemistry. We need to fight it out in a good way, not with threats of leaving, but to, in love, find an understanding," said Christian. This video is the actual music video for the song. I absolutely love this video, the slow motion effects are insane.

14. For Those Who Wait – Fireflight

This is the title track from Fireflight’s latest album. This powerful song is all about someone who is going through a difficult time and wondering where God is in this situation. But, this song reminds us that God’s time is not our own, and His timing is perfect. Lead singer Dawn Michele describes the song as, “We say to God that we’ve been praying and waiting for Him to show us what comes next and it is excruciating. Somewhere along the way rocks get thrown in our path and I think God is using those things to push us along and teach us to have faith. God wants to mold us into who He wants us to become before we reach that final destination.” The official video for this song is really powerful, it might even make you cry.

13. Catch Myself Catching Myself – Underoath

This next song is a really dark but powerful song by Underoath. Spencer Chamberlain sings about being chased by addiction and temptation. These dark thoughts are haunting him, and he believes the only way to escape them is by destroying them through fire. This song is speaking about freeing yourself from temptation and addiction. The best part of this song is the vocals. After Aaron Gillespie’s exit from the band, Chamberlain picked up the clean vocals as well as continued doing the screaming vocals. His vocals on this song are absolutely superb. The video features the song along with lyrics through a video slideshow.

12. God Save the Foolish Kings – House of Heroes

This is another great song released by House of Heroes. Like so many other songs by them, this track takes a unique experience and ties their faith back into it. God Save the Foolish Kings is about a gang fight between two rival gangs: lions and kings. In this song, one member of a gang finds God through the experience. The official music video is a superb visual adaptation of the song. Also featured in the video is Stephanie Smith, who provides back up vocals in God Save the Foolish Kings.

11. Something Holy – Stellar Kart

Coming in at number 11 is a worship song by Stellar Kart. The album, Everything is Different Now, was a loose worship concept album. Something Holy is definitely the stand out track on record. This song speaks about how we as humans were born to be a part of something huge. We were meant to be a part of something holy. The video is a really cool homemade video featuring the lyrics of the song.

10. This Awakening – Sent By Ravens

This hard hitting song speaks about crying out to Jesus Christ. The band sings about falling desolate in a hopeless situation and falling into Jesus Christ’s water. Throughout the song, water is really a metaphor for Jesus’ love. Sent By Ravens wants to fall deeper into God’s water (love and grace). This is a really cool song off Sent By Ravens’ debut album.

9. Hanging On By a Thread – The Letter Black

This is the title track off their debut album. This song is very similar to This Awakening by Sent By Ravens. This song is another desperate cry out to God. This song is about Hanging on to God by only a thread. Yet, through this hopeless situation, The Letter Black still finds redemption and resolution through their perseverance in hard times. This is the official music video for the song.

8. You Will Remain – Philmont

After they were dropped from their label earlier this year, many people, including myself, thought this band was through with their career. I was especially disappointed because I loved their debut album. But, nonetheless, this band proved that they could still make great albums without a major label. In the fall of this year, they released an independent EP that was funded primarily through the donations of fans. You Will Remain was the first single released off the album, and I think it is the best song on the EP. This powerful song speaks about how no matter what we go through or the struggles we face, Jesus will always be there right beside us.

To see the top 7 songs of the year, You can go to part 2 here.

Top Songs of the Year Part 2

This is Part 2 of my top 15 songs of the year. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.

7. Cover Your Eyes – Children 18:3

This punk band is known for their hard hitting melodies, dual vocals, and fist pumping anthems; Cover Your Eyes is no exception. From the very first beat, this is an in your face punk rock song. Cover Your Eyes is all about standing your ground, and not running from fear or adversity. Children 18:3 know how to rock, and this song is no exception. Below is the official music video for the song.

6. Renegade – Manafest

This next song is from the Christian rapper Manafest. This song is off his latest album The Chase. As the title suggests, this song is all about feeling like a renegade to Jesus Christ. This song tackles the feeling of sinning, but still having the courage to say, “I’m not a renegade. I’m not the enemy. I’m still a good person at heart.” What puts this song over the top is the guest vocal work by Trevor McNevan, lead vocalist for Thousand Foot Krutch and FM Static. With the fusion of McNevan’s vocals and Manafest’s raps, this anthem packs a hard punch for its listeners. Below is the official music video for the song.

5. We Shot the Moon – Write this Down

Coming in at number 5 is the best track off Write this Down’s self titled debut album. Featuring insane hooks, polished vocals, and hardcore screams, We Shot the Moon is easily one of the top songs of the year. This song uses the metaphor shooting the moon in cards to real life. Shooting the moon is a risky strategy in many card games in which the player attempts to get the highest possible amount of points. Write this Down uses this idea in their song. They are laying their lives out on the line and attempting a risky move in the game of life, and hoping to come out on top. Plus, this song has one of the catchiest chorus’ of the year. It will get stuck in your head for days. Below is the album cover, plus the song.

4. Dear X, You Don’t Own Me – Disciple

This was the first single released by Disciple of their brand new album, Horseshoes and Handgrenades. According to lead singer, Kevin Young, this song is all about tackling our addictions, struggles, and pain, and releasing their power over us. “The Bible says sin has no more control over us when we are born again, we are a new creation. Sin can’t enslave us or manipulate us anymore. So this song is written to our past, dear pain, dear shame, dear hate and dear anger. We are saying to those things you used to have me, own me, and manipulate me but you don’t own me anymore,” said Young. Below is a really cool homemade video of the song.

3. Parallels – As I Lay Dying

This is the only metal song on my Top 15 list. As I Lay Dying is a band filled with phenomenal musicians. Each and every member is a true professional at their instrument. Lyrically, this song is about how we as humans, are comatose people. We are hungry and malnourished, while being in a comatose state. The only way to set us free from this, is the love of Jesus Christ. Below is the official music video for the song. The music video tackles a different subject matter than the song. The video takes a look at a fictional world where technology and machines control humans.

2. Believe – The Letter Black

This really powerful song by the Letter Black is off their debut album on Tooth and Nail records. Featuring dual vocals from married couple Sarah and Mark Anthony, this hard hitting rock song serves as an anthem for all Christians. Believe speaks about standing up for Jesus Christ, even in the toughest of situations. Below is the official music video for Believe.

1. Eternity – Disciple

This is Disciple’s second song in my top 5. This is easily the most powerful song of the year in my opinion. As the title suggests, this song is all about eternity. It is about spending eternity with our Savior Jesus Christ. The song speaks about how we, as Christians, will one day leave this world, and enter glory. For me, I don’t think words can accurately describe how powerful this song is. Take a listen below.

This list took me a long time to make because there were so many memorable songs in 2010. But, overall, I hope you have enjoyed this look at my top 15 songs of the year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Top Ten Christian Rock Albums of 2010

10. Disambiguation – Underoath
Rating - 3 ½ Stars
Top Tracks – In Division, Catch Myself Catching Myself, A Divine Eradication

This is the first album without original drummer and vocalist Aaron Gillespie. Taking his place is former Norma Jean drummer Daniel Davison. On this album, vocalist Spencer Chamberlain not only performs the screams but the clean vocals as well. With the member changes, Underoath offers a much different album than some of their previous works. Musically, this band is top notch. They always seem to have an organized chaos to their music. The downfall to this album is the vocals. Spencer Chamberlain is a phenomenal screaming vocalist. Sadly, though, he does not have the power to carry the band with clean vocals. In the top tracks, Chamberlain does a pretty good job on vocals, but Underoath is not the same without Gillespie.

9. Kill The Noise – The Savvy
Rating – 4 Stars
Top Tracks – Real Good Feelin, Fame, That’s My Jam

Number nine is Kill the Noise by the band The Savvy. This entire rock record features in your face lyrics, rocking guitars, and pounding drums. Though this record only features five songs, each one is carefully crafted to give the listener a full rock and roll experience. This young indie band knows how to put together a great album. The only downside to this album is the length, less than twenty minutes, but The Savvy makes up for it by offering five amazing songs. If this had been a full length album, Kill the Noise would easily be in the top five.

8. Suburba – House of Heroes
Rating - 3 ½ Stars
Top Tracks – God Save the Foolish Kings, Independence Day for A Petty Thief, Constant

After releasing a full length album and three EPs last year, House of Heroes is at it again with their fourth full length album. Like their past albums, the band finds creative ways to sing about their faith with witty lyrics, fun songs, gang vocals, and fast guitars. What makes this album such a fun listen is definitely the lyrics. From finding God after a gang fight to a pure worship song, this album has it all lyrically. Suburba is not as groundbreaking as their last album, The End is Not The End, but overall this album is definitely worth the money.

7. Everything is Different Now – Stellar Kart
Rating - 3 ½ Stars
Top Tracks – We Shine, Something Holy, Rescue

Everything is Different Now is a mix between a cover album and a worship album. Every song on this album is a true worship song, plus the album offers four cover songs (We Shine, Spirit In The Sky, You Never Let Go, and Until My Heart Caves In). There were many rumors about Stellar Kart doing a cover of Yellowcard’s song Only One, but that track did not make it on the album. Overall, this is a very solid album from Stellar Kart. The major downside is so many cover songs. I would have enjoyed more original songs on this album. But, all in all, this is a very solid album from the band.

6. Our Graceful Words – Sent By Ravens
Rating – 3 ½ Stars
Top Tracks – Trailers vs. Tornadoes, Salt and the Light, This Awakening

This debut album from the newly signed Tooth and Nail band blew me away. This hard rock group packs a hard punch. From the first screams on the song New Fire to the moving ballad Salt and the Light, this album has it all: blazing guitars, passionate vocals, and moving lyrics. Even though they are a relatively new and young band, this album has all the fixings of a seasoned music veteran.

5. Rain’s A Comin’ – Children 18:3
Rating - 4 Stars
Top Tracks – Cover Your Eyes, The Cruel One, Stronger

In 2008 the Christian music world was blown away by Children 18:3’s debut album. After two years of speculation about a sophomore album, Children 18:3 returned with Rain’s A Comin’. In reviewing their first album, I gave them five stars. Even though Rain’s A Comin’ is not as good as their debut, this is far from a sophomore slump. The first three tracks mirror their debut album with their hardcore punk rock sound. But the main difference between their first two albums is the lyrics. The title track screams about the coming of change in this world, The Cruel One pays homage to One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Oh Bravo features a dad consoling his daughter after a talent competition, Wonder I features the band thinking about heaven, and Lost So Long ends the album in a phenomenal way. The only downside to this album is the use of instrumental tracks. There are two instrumental tracks, and both of them feel really out of place, especially the last song The Last Laugh. With that small complaint aside, Children 18:3 proved that they are a force to be reckoned with in the Christian music scene.

4. Write this Down – Write this Down
Rating – 4 Stars
Top Tracks – Alarm the Alarm, Despite Your Valor, Redemption, We Shot the Moon

This album took me completely by surprise. Both the mixing of vocals between screaming and singing and the instrumental work are phenomenal. Besides vocals and instruments, this band really separates themselves from other Christian groups due to the diversity of this album. Literally, there is something for every fan of rock music. The band features a variety of songs from the genres screamo, alternative rock, acoustic, and even some punk mixed in. Plus, a lot of these songs will get stuck in your head even after only one listen. Alarm the Alarm and We Shot the Moon will have you singing for days. This is definitely the surprise album of the year.

3. The Chase – Manafest
Rating - 4 Stars
Top Tracks – No Plan B, Avalanche, Renegade, Fire in the Kitchen

This is another surprise album. Manafest has put out five rap albums since 2001. Some of his songs have dabbled in rap rock music (Impossible and So Beautiful), but this album takes it to another level. A major part of this album is the use of guest vocalists. Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch and FM Static lends his vocals and hard rock style for three songs, and Dustin Anstey is featured on two songs. These guest vocalists help add even more rock elements to The Chase. The amazing aspect of this album is the fusion between rap vocals with edgy rock music. The result of this fusion is a head-banging glory fest of rock anthems.

2. Hanging On By A Thread – The Letter Black
Rating – 4 ½ Stars
Top Tracks – Hanging On By A Thread, Believe, There’ll Come A Day, Best of Me

The Letter Black, formerly Breaking the Silence, signed with Tooth and Nail records last year. After releasing a debut EP, this debut full length album finds the band coming into their comfort zone. A fusion between Skillet and Evanescence, The Letter Black offers a hard rock album mixed with dual vocals between Sarah and Mark Anthony, as well as driving rock and roll melodies. The definite highlight of this album is Sarah Anthony’s vocals. Throughout the album, her vocals are very polished and crisp, yet she has enough vocal ability to pull off hardcore screams. Soaring vocals mixed with hard rock melodies make this a great album.

1. Horseshoes and Handgrenades – Disciple
Rating – 5 Stars
Top Tracks – Dear X You Don’t Own Me, Eternity, Deafening, Worth the Pain

I have only given five stars to three previous albums: Dear Diary by FM Static, Children 18:3, and Comatose by Skillet. This one definitely needs to be added to the list of five star albums. I bought this album with the special preorder deal that Disciple was promoting on their website. With this deal, you receive some special merchandise, an immediate digital download of Horseshoes and Handgrenades, as well as seven bonus tracks not featured on the album. First, you know you have a great album on your hands when even the songs not featured on the record are great. When really good songs are not on an album, you know the album has to be spectacular. Second, each song is carefully crafted lyrically, vocally, and musically to offer to the listener emotion, faith, and passion. Disciple has always been a band very open about their faith, and this album is no exception. Eternity, a song about the glorious moment when we go to heaven, is a very powerful and emotional song. Dear X is one of the most intense songs ever recorded by the band. Finally, Worth the Pain wraps up the album in an inspiring manner. This song urges the listener to persevere through hard times because they will be better for it in the end. Overall, this album will blow you away. If you only purchase one album of 2010, this is the one to buy.

I hope you have enjoyed my look at the Top Ten Christian Rock Albums of the year. This list would not be complete without honorable mentions. These albums were very solid but ultimately did not make it into the top ten.

For Those Who Wait – Fireflight
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place – Anberlin
Smoke and Mirrors - Lifehouse

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rock and Roll Christmas Part 2

If you would like to check out Rock and Roll Christmas Part 1, you can check it out here.

For this post, I want to once again share Christian rock Christmas music with you. To see part 1, which includes Christmas music from Relient K, Sent By Ravens, FM Static, and more, click here.

First, is the song Mary Did You Know by Kutless. This popular Christmas song was written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. This version by Kutless was released on X Christmas. This powerful song is told from Mary’s point of view. The song asks if Mary truly knows the importance of Jesus’ birth.

Next, is the famous Christmas carol, Silent Night, by House of Heroes. This song was released on their Christmas Classics EP. In this video, House of Heroes deviates from their usual alternative rock style, and presents an intimate, acoustic version of this beloved classic. Vocally, this band really shows off their unique talents in that every band member sings in this song, not just the lead vocalist.

Third, we are now going to turn our attention to some Christmas metal music. For several years, August Burns Red has been a staple in the Christian metal scene. In this video, the band presents a metal version of Carol of the Bells. Unlike their other songs, this Christmas classic does not feature screaming vocals. The band presents to us a metal instrumental version of Carol of the Bells.

The final song takes a different spin on Christmas music. This song is actually a love song by the band Capital Lights. His Favorite Christmas Story is about a young man who falls in love with a girl while dancing on Christmas Eve. After that night, the couple does not meet again until fate brings them back together one last time.

I hope you have enjoyed these two looks at Christian rock Christmas music.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rock and Roll Christmas

For this post, I want to share with you a unique part of Christian rock. Every year, many Christian bands and artists put out various Christmas albums and songs. But, these songs are not your normal everyday Christmas carols; these songs are Christmas classics with a rock and roll twist.

The first video is by Relient K. This animated video features the song Sleigh Ride. In Relient K’s career, they have released two very popular Christmas albums: Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand, and Let it Snow Baby…Let it Reindeer. This music video features the story of one rabbit’s love. To impress his love for a female rabbit, he and his friends decide to borrow Santa’s sleigh for the night.

The next song is Christmas, Baby Please Come Home, by Anberlin. This song was first recorded by Darlene Love in 1963. The cover version by Anberlin has been featured on 3 cds: Lost Songs, X Christmas, and Happy Christmas Volume 4. This song is about one person missing their significant other on Christmas, after their relationship went sour.

Third, is a music video by The Almost. Little Drummer Boy was featured on their No Gift to Bring Holiday EP. In this video, Aaron Gillespie and The Almost bring a modern flare to the classic story of the Little Drummer Boy.

Next, is Christmas Shoes by FM Static. This song was originally recorded by NewSong in 2000. This powerful Christmas song features one boy attempting to buy a gift for his mother. She is on her deathbed, and the little boy wants her to look good when she meets Jesus. This heart-wrenching song is what Christmas is all about.

The final video is a podcast from Hawk Nelson. Jason Dunn and Daniel Biro attempt to spread Christmas cheer to a neighborhood.

I hope you have enjoyed this first look at a rock and roll Christmas.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Christian Metal and Screamo Part 2

This is part 2 of my look at Christian screamo and heavy metal. For this post, I simply want to share with you more bands, songs, and lyrics from these genres. If you want to see me describe and go into detail about the history and questions surrounding these types of music, or if you want to hear music by Demon Hunter, Underoath, Becoming the Archetype, or August Burns Red, click here for Part 1.

The first band I want to share with you is I Am Terrified. This is a Christian screamo group from Birmingham, Alabama. They have released only one album to date, a self-titled EP in 2008. This band is driven, “by the desire to give God straight-up worship, and to show the love of Christ to every kid we can possibly reach,” said guitarist Jeremy Folse.

The song I want to share with you is called Heaven Knocking Hell Rising. This powerful song is all about the return of Christ and Jesus saying to his people, “You’re Welcome.” To view the lyrics, click here.

Next is the Christian metalcore group For Today. They have released three full-length albums since 2005 on Facedown Records. According to their lead singer, Mattie Montgomery, the band’s ministry and mission statement is rooted in the belief in Jesus Christ. “This has nothing to do with music and everything to do with our faith in Christ,” said Montgomery.

The next song is entitled Saul of Tarsus (The Messenger) off their second album Portraits. This song is all about standing up for Jesus Christ and preaching His name to the world. To view the lyrics, click here.

The third band is another Christian metalcore group called Haste the Day. The name of the group is derived from the old hymn It is Well. The band has released six albums, with over 250,000 albums sold to date.

The third song is off the title track of Haste the Day’s third album entitled When Everything Falls. This song features the former vocalist of the band, Jimmy Ryan. This powerful song is all about standing firm in Jesus Christ when the threat of temptation arises. To view the lyrics, click here.

The next group is a legend in Christian heavy metal. Living Sacrifice formed in 1989 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since 1989, they have released seven full length albums and one greatest hits record. Here is what a few other Christian metal and screamo musicians had to say about this group.

“Living Sacrifice has been a huge influence on me, musically and spiritually. From very early in my youth, when I first started taking an interest in heavy music, Living Sacrifice stood out as a band that displayed a greater level of skill, songwriting ability and professionalism. They are one of those bands that you can count on to continually release amazing material,” said Ryan Clark, lead singer of Demon Hunter.

“Living Sacrifice was one of the first Christian heavy bands to be respected outside of the Christian scene. They definitely helped pave the way for our band's crossover,” said Tim McTague, guitarist of Underoath.

“You can hear Living Sacrifice's legacy in the entire generation of bands who've come after them. And those bands still haven't caught up,” said Tim Lambesis, lead singer of As I Lay Dying.

The song that I want to share with you is In Christ off their album In Memoriam. This simple song speaks about our lives, as Christians, in Christ. To view the lyrics, click here.

The final band I want to share with you is the Devil Wears Prada. This group originated in Dayton, Ohio in 2005. Since their formation, they have released 3 albums, and their latest album, With Roots Above and Branches Below, peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Top 200. Guitarist/vocalist Jeremy DePoyster believes the mission of the band is to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ. “Every effort we make is for one reason, and one reason alone: our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. We support many bands with many different goals, but we feel that this is what God has called each of us to do. I don't expect everyone to agree with that, and that's fine, but I like to think of 1 Corinthians 10:31, ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,’ ” said DePoyster.

The final song I want to share with you is called Hey John What’s Your Name Again? This song is about someone who is obsessed with their image, fashion, and popularity. In the song, the band is telling this person that they will hope and pray for them. To view the lyrics, click here.

I hope you have enjoyed this look at Christian metal and Christian screamo music. This last video is a fun video featuring the lead singer of Living Sacrifice with his daughter. It shows that even a little girl can sing with the best of them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


For this post, I want to share with you four different testimonies from people involved in Christian rock.

First, is Toby McKeehan. He is known for his stage name TobyMac. Mckeehan was in the popular Christian group DC Talk for 11 years from 1989 to 2000. After the group announced a hiatus, TobyMac began his solo career. Since 2000, Toby has released 4 albums. Between his solo career and DC Talk, Toby McKeehan has sold over 10 million records.

When Toby was 12, his mom faithfully brought him to church every Sunday morning. One Sunday was especially important because the youth pastor invited McKeehan to a church camp. While at the camp, Toby accepted Jesus Christ.

Second is Jeffrey Gilbert. Gilbert is the current drummer for the Christian hard rock band Kutless, and he is the former drummer of Seven Places. Gilbert was raised in a Christian home. His parents came to know Christ shortly before he was born. Gilbert is very thankful for his parents’ testimony and raising him in a loving, Christian home.

Next is Jeremy Camp. Camp fell in love with a young woman named Melissa Henning. Soon after Camp discovered his newfound love, Melissa was diagnosed with cancer. After temporarily beating her battle with the disease, the couple got married. While on their honeymoon, the newly weds learned that the cancer had returned and she only had weeks to live. After five months of marriage, Melissa Henning lost her battle with cancer. Through these tough times, Camp learned about the true meaning of worship.

This next video also features Jeremy Camp speaking to a crowd. This video is about his life after Melissa and her battle with cancer. He remarried with the former lead singer of the group the Benjamin Gate, Adrienne Liesching. Camp has also been blessed with two daughters. In this video, Camp looks back at his experiences.

This final video features lead singer Peter Furler speaking to a stadium full of people. Furler shares his powerful testimony and leads an altar call for people to accept Jesus Christ.

Once again, I hope you have enjoyed these powerful and moving testimonies.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

God's Song

“God, you are amazing and perfect in all ways. I am ashamed for the times that I think I know better than you. Please forgive me of my pride and selfishness. Please lead me to find forgiveness from those I have hurt.”

This is a quote taken from a blog by the lead singer of As I Lay Dying, Tim Lambesis. I just wanted to start this blog with a prayer of humility. This post is once again all about bands becoming humble and offering themselves up to God to be used by Him. This post is all about the overt ministries of Christian rock bands.

The first band is Flyleaf. Lead singer Lacey Mosley believes she is a role model for girls. Lacey believes she can be an inspiration to many young women to stand up for their beliefs. The band’s mission is to please God. They don’t want to please the world or the church but to please Jesus Christ, so that when they get to heaven they can hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

The second band is The Almost. I have two videos to show you from band. The first is called True Christianity. This video features lead singer Aaron Gillespie speaking about the true meaning of Christianity. He believes the secret in reaching people for Christ is love.

The second video has Gillespie speaking about God’s song. He says this song of worship has been going on since the beginning of time and will continue until the end. Gillespie’s goal for The Almost is to be a part of that everlasting song, even if it is only a small blip on the radar.

The fourth video is of the band Spoken. This band has a passion for rock and roll and an even bigger passion for Jesus Christ. Spoken believes as long as Jesus wants to use them for rock and roll, they are willing and open to follow His call.

I wanted to do this post to show some opinions besides mine. Throughout this blog, I have been talking about Christianity and rock music, and how these subjects come together and co-exist. I wanted to present a post that went beyond my beliefs and show you what Christian musicians had to say about their own music and their beliefs in Jesus Christ.

I believe this final video sums up not only this post, but also my entire blog. This video features the lead singer of the hard rock band Disciple speaking to the crowd. This live video features Kevin Young speaking about a witnessing opportunity he had with a bouncer. Kevin Young used this story to help witness to the crowd and lead them in prayer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Women In Christian Rock

This week I wanted to talk about a new trend that is developing in Christian rock music. This new trend is women. Yes, the role of women in the Christian rock scene is not only becoming more prevalent, but more and more popular. Today, some of the biggest Christian rock acts feature women as vocalists, bass players, guitarists, and drummers. For this post, I want to focus on some of the biggest and most popular Christian rock bands that feature female musicians.

Lacey Mosley - Flyleaf

The first group is Flyleaf. Since the release of their debut album in 2005, this group has grown exponentially in international stardom. Their first album has sold over one million records and their sophomore album, released in 2009, debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200. Lead singer, Lacey Mosley, has one of the strongest voices in Christian music today. Flyeaf’s lyrics are filled with passion and intensity, and Mosley, who is only 4’11”, easily delivers these feelings and emotions with her voice.

The song I chose to share with you is called Sorrow. This song is off Flyleaf’s self-titled debut album. Lacey Mosley said this about the meaning of the song. “On the secular side, there are people who deal with depression because they feel empty. On the Christian side, there are people who deal with depression because they feel alone with their Christianity or because they mess up. That’s the spirit we’re combating when we play it. The promise in the end is, 'Joy will come.' "

Tricia and Melissa Brock - Superchick

Superchick is a pop rock band from Chicago, Illinois. Their debut album, Karaoke Superstars, was released in 2001. Since then, the band has released four more albums on Inpop and Columbia Records. To date, the band has sold over 700,000 records. Superchick is fronted by the Brock sisters. Tricia Brock is the lead vocalist, and Melissa Brock is the back up vocalist and guitarist. Superchick’s music is fueled by driving guitars, pounding drums, soaring vocals, and upbeat lyrics.

This next song is called Cross the Line. This anthem is all about standing up for your faith, crossing the line, and living like everyday is your last.

Sarah Anthony - The Letter Black

The Letter Black is a hard rock band from Pennsylvania. Before they were signed to Tooth and Nail Records, the band was known as Breaking the Silence. After years of touring as an independent band, they were soon noticed and signed by Tooth and Nail. The band then changed their name and released their debut full length album in May 2010. Over a short period of time, The Letter Black has gained notoriety through major tours with bands such as Decyfer Down, Skillet, Hawk Nelson, and Thousand Foot Krutch. Like Lacey Mosley, Sarah Anthony fuels the band’s music with passionate lyrics, piercing vocals, and even gut-wrenching screams.

This song is the first single released off their debut album. It is the title track called Hanging On By A Thread. This song is a cry out to God to save us from pain and suffering.

Dawn Michele and Wendy Drennen – Fireflight

Fourth is the Christian rock group Fireflight. This group has two female rockers: Dawn Michele as the lead vocalist and Wendy Drennen as the bass player. Throughout all three of their major label albums, Fireflight features music that pierces the heart through lyrics, musical ferocity, and the vocals of Dawn Michele.

This song is the title track off their second album entitled Unbreakable. This song is all about being unbreakable. By having Jesus Christ in our hearts, we as Christians, cannot be defeated or broken down.

Korey Cooper and Jen Ledger – Skillet

Skillet is a staple in the Christian music industry. They have been a band since 1996 and they have sold over 1.6 million records worldwide. Since the release of their third album, Invincible, Skillet has featured two female rockers. Korey Cooper plays guitar, keyboard, and sings some back-up vocals, and for seven years Lori Peters was the drummer. In 2008, after Peters decided to leave the band, Jen Ledger soon joined the group. Awake was the first album Ledger played drums and sang back-up vocals.

The video I want to share with you is called Awake and Alive. This song is off their latest album Awake. This video features both live shots and behind the scenes video from the band.

Females are becoming more and more prevalent in the Christian rock scene. In today’s music, women are joining men to create some amazing music. Women are slowly becoming a dominant force in Christian rock. If you want to see some more Christian female musicians, check out these bands: Ilia, Children 18:3, Inhabited, Group One Crew, Eisley, and Icon For Hire.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Christian Pop Punk

For this post, I want to mainly talk about punk rock music and pop punk in particular. Before we can take a look at pop punk music of today, we first need to take a look at the roots of punk music. I won’t go too much into the history of punk rock, but I will give you a very quick overview.

Most believe the true origin of punk rock music is unknown, but they believe the genre did begin in the early 1970s. The first bands that did make punk music popular were groups like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash. These bands featured music that was fast, had short songs, used basic instruments like guitars, bass, and drums, and featured lyrics that were rebellious, political, and anti-establishment.

Over the last few decades, punk has evolved into many different styles and sub-genres. Many different genres came out of the punk revolution of the 70s including emo, hardcore, pop punk, Celtic punk, grunge rock, and the list goes on and on.

But for now, I want to stick with the sub-genre pop punk. About.com describes pop punk as, “being marked by a radio friendly sheen to their music, but it still retains much of the speed and attitude of classic punk rock.”

Pop punk did not gain commercial success until the 1990s with bands such as Blink 182 and Green Day. Since the 90s, pop punk has exploded with many secular bands finding mainstream success including bands like Simple Plan, New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, All American Rejects, and Good Charlotte.

When it comes to Christian pop punk, many secular musicians and artists disregard the thought of Christian punk. Christian punk features the musical qualities that made punk popular, but most Christian bands do not share the beliefs, or lyrical content of many of the early punk bands. Punk rock was founded on being rebellious and against established society, and since many Christian punk bands do not take this view, some musicians disregard this Christian genre. But, nonetheless, Christian punk is out there, and it is making waves in the Christian music scene.

Like many mainstream acts, Christian pop punk features upbeat and catchy rhythms but the one major difference is lyrical content. Most Christian pop punk bands choose to talk about issues of today and they also sing about Christian themes. Love songs also play a major part in Christian pop punk music. Most musicians do sing many songs about love and relationships. For this post, I want to share with you six bands that are making waves in the Christian pop punk scene.

The first band is Stellar Kart. They have released five albums since 2005, including a greatest hits album. Stellar Kart's sound has evolved over these past few years from being a straight pop punk band to releasing a pop worship album in 2010. This first song is off their debut album and it is called Life is Good. This song is a simple pop song talking about the beauty of heaven.

The next pop punk band is FM Static. This band is actually a side project of Trevor McNevan and Steve Augustine from the Christian hard rock band Thousand Foot Krutch. Over the past couple of years, FM Static has released three albums and they are planning to release their fourth in early 2011. The song I want to share with you is called Definitely Maybe off their debut album. This is probably their most recognized song to date. Like many other Christian pop punk songs, this is a love song.

The next group is Hawk Nelson. They are arguably one of the most popular groups in Christian music today. This Canadian band has released four albums on Tooth and Nail Records. This next music video is of the title track off their latest album Live Life Loud. At hearitfirst.com, bassist Daniel Biro described the song. “Live Life Loud is really about encouraging our fans to do just that. To live your life loud, to embrace all that life brings your way and experience every moment of it to the fullest extent.” The music video takes a comedic look at a competition between the members of Hawk Nelson and a group of older men.

The fourth group is Philmont. They are a relatively new band. They released their first EP and full length debut album last year in 2009. Both were released on Forefront Records, but the band is currently independent after their departure from the label. One thing this band is known for is their self-made music videos. They have made five videos for the songs: The Difference, Back Down, Another Name, I Can’t Stand to Fall, and My Hippocratic Oath. You can view the music video for the song The Difference on my blog post Top Ten Music Videos. The video I want to share with you is of the song Back Down. This song is about not giving up and not backing down. Once again, like all of their videos, this video is self-made by the members of the band.

This next group is an independent band called Eleventyseven. They have released three albums to date, including their last album, Adventures in Eville, which was released last year in 2009. Eleventyseven loves to talk about pop culture in their music. In some of their songs they sing about topics such as MySpace, Conan O’Brien, proms, and twelve step programs. This next song is called MySpace and it is about some of the pitfalls of social media.

The final group I want to share with you is by far the most popular group in the Christian pop punk genre. It is Relient K. Since their major label debut in 2000, Relient K has released six studio albums, two Christmas albums, a B-sides album, and four EPs. Relient K has three gold albums and they have currently sold over two million records. The song I want to share with you is off their fourth album, Mmhmm. The song is called Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been. The song is about a person who hates who they have been in the past and ultimately who they have become. In the song, Relient K is crying out for forgiveness and help to change their current and past lifestyles.

Once again, the main difference between secular punk bands and Christian punk bands is definitely the lyrical content. Musically, Christian pop punk bands are the same as secular bands, but lyrically Christian pop punk definitely has much more positive lyrics. These are not all the Christian pop punk bands out there. I just wanted to give you some of the most popular examples of this genre. If you would like to hear some music by other Christian pop punk bands you can check out these artists: Capital Lights, Amber Pacific, Last Tuesday, MXPX, Olivia the Band, Everyday Sunday, Run Kid Run, and Slick Shoes.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Skillets, Panheads, and Rock and Roll

Throughout their fourteen year career, Skillet has been a staple in Christian rock music. They have released eight albums, two of which were Grammy nominated. Skillet has sold over 1.5 million records worldwide, and their last two albums, Comatose and Awake, were certified gold. Skillet has also been widely used in the media today. Their songs have been featured in many television shows, video games, and films. Skillet’s music has been used on such shows as Joan of Arcadia, America’s Next Top Model, One Life to Live, WWE, MLB World Series, and Sunday Night Football. Skillet has also been featured in the video games: Guitar Praise, Rock Band, and Rock Band 2. Their music was also used in the trailers for the movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

But, before their immense success, Skillet was formed in 1996 in Memphis, Tennessee. The founding members were John Cooper, Ken Steorts, and Trey McClurkin. John, Ken, and Trey were in different bands before Skillet, and they decided to start a side project. They named the side project Skillet because their band was like putting a bunch of ingredients in a skillet, mixing it up, and then seeing what would come out. To this day John Cooper still laughs at this name, and he claims that he still does not like the name of the band.

After being a band for only a couple of weeks, the band received major interest from the label Forefront Records. Soon after, they released their self-titled debut album on Forefront/Ardent Records. On this album, Skillet mainly played grunge rock music. This album was not huge on the album sales chart, but it was well received. For this record, Skillet made three music videos for the songs Gasoline, I Can, and Saturn.

This first music video is of the song Gasoline. This song is all about having God come into our hearts and consuming us. The video features a man trapped in a caged jungle, along with live shots of Skillet playing.

Skillet’s second album, Hey I Love Your Soul, came two years later in 1998. Skillet is known for constantly changing their sound musically from record to record. Unlike their debut grunge rock album, their second record featured a much lighter alternative rock style.

This next video is of the song More Faithful. This ballad is a simple song all about God’s faithfulness.

After the release of their second album, Skillet went through a number of member changes. Ken Steorts left the band and Kevin Haaland took his place as guitarist. John Cooper’s wife, Korey Cooper, also joined the band as keyboardist and back-up vocalist. Their third album, Invincible, once again featured another shift musically for the band. Invincible was more of an electronic album than anything they had done before. Shortly after the release of Invincible, Trey McClurkin left the band and Lori Peters filled in as new drummer.

Their fourth album was released less than a year after Invincible. Ardent Worship is a live album featuring the members of Skillet leading a worship service. The album features ten songs, five were written by Skillet, and five were covered from other musicians. This is Skillet’s first album where no music videos were recorded.

Skillet’s next album came in 2001. This was their third album released in a year and a half. Alien Youth proved to be their first huge hit. The album peaked at 141 on the Billboard 200, and the title track went on to be a number one single on the Christian radio charts. This is also the first album that featured Ben Kasica on guitar; he replaced guitarist Kevin Haaland.

The concept for the video Alien Youth is the band performing in the middle of a street. This song is all about the youth of America standing up for their beliefs in Jesus Christ and having a major impact on the world. Here is the music video for the number one single Alien Youth.

Skillet’s sixth album came out two years later in 2003. Collide is known as Skillet’s heaviest album. Unlike previous albums, this album features heavy guitars, driving bass, and a pounding drum beat, with very little electronic rock mixed in. Lead singer John Cooper is also known for screaming on multiple songs in this album. Collide did not do as well on the Billboard 200 as previous albums. It maxed out at 179 on the Billboard 200, but it did reach number five on the Heatseekers Chart.

This next video is of the hit single Savior. This video features two boys and their abusive father. In order to escape the pain of living at home with their father, the boys flee to a park.

Comatose was released three years later in 2006. This album is by far Skillet’s most important, popular, and influential album to date. Comatose debuted at number 55 on the Billboard 200 and it later went gold, by selling over 500,000 units. Skillet released six singles from the album, and two more Comatose cds were also released. A deluxe edition was released along with a live Comatose record. This album was also nominated for a Grammy award.

Comatose definitely proved to be another diverse album from Skillet. Collide dabbled in orchestra music along with hard rock, but this album dove headfirst in that concept. Many of the songs feature string instruments, including violin and cello, along with the driving hard music that has made Skillet so popular. For me personally, this is probably my all time favorite album. From start to finish, the album absolutely blew me away. I have never heard a perfect album before, but this record definitely came as close as possible to perfection.

Two years after the release of Comatose, drummer Lori Peters announced that she would be leaving the band permanently. She was replaced by eighteen year old Jen Ledger from England.

This music video is of the fifth single off the Comatose record called The Older I Get. This song is about John Cooper’s strained relationship with his father. After Cooper’s mother died, John and his father had a very hard time getting along. This song is all about the repaired relationship Cooper had with his father. This video features behind-the-scenes shots of the band recording the album Comatose. It is also the last video that features Lori Peters as drummer.

Skillet’s latest album, Awake, was released in August 2009. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling over 68,000 copies in its first week. In less than a year, this album went on to be certified gold. Skillet currently has three music videos for this album: Hero, Monster, and Awake and Alive. All three videos are doing very well on youtube. Hero has over 9 million views, Monster has almost 12 million views, and Awake and Alive has around 300,000 views.

This is the first album that Skillet did not make a drastic leap musically. For all their past albums, they always switched up each album musically. For Awake, Skillet mainly stuck to the same formula that made Comatose popular: using string instruments with driving hard rock melodies. This was also the first album that featured Jen Ledger on drums as well as back up vocals on the songs Hero and Awake and Alive.

This music video is for the song Hero. Lyrically, the song talks about how we as Christians should stand up for our beliefs and become true heroes in today’s world.

Skillet has also lent their talent to the Christian kids TV Show Veggietales. They were featured on the Veggie Rocks cd along with many other well known Christian rock artists including: Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Relient K, Sanctus Real, Superchick, O.C. Supertones, and many more. Skillet recorded the song Stand Up for the Veggie Rocks album.

Skillet has toured with many popular groups in the secular and Christian markets. In the secular market, they have toured with bands such as Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Seether, Shinedown, Puddle of Mudd, and Creed. They have also toured with many well known Christian rock bands including: Red, Disciple, Thousand Foot Krutch, Flyleaf, TobyMac, The Letter Black, Decyfer Down, and Hawk Nelson.

Skillet is known for having a very close relationship with their fans. Skillet is active on many social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter. They also have a special name for their fans. Skillet calls all their fans, panheads. Finally, Skillet is known for their podcasts. Skillet records many podcasts, throughout the year, that feature behind the scenes content of the band. All of these videos can be seen on Skillet’s youtube channel. Here is an example of one of Skillet’s behind the scenes podcasts.

For the last 14 years, Skillet has defined this generation of Christian rock music. Through many member changes and album releases, Skillet has been a staple in the Christian market. John Cooper said it best in the chorus of their hit song Awake and Alive when he described his faith as a Christian. “I'm awake I'm alive. Now I know what I believe inside. Now it's my time. I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life. Right here, right now, I'll stand my ground and never back down. I know what I believe inside, I'm awake and I'm alive.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Secular Christian Rock

For this post, I want to talk about secular Christian rock music. First off, this is not an oxymoron. You can have secular Christian musicians. Secular Christian artists are simply musicians whose music is mainly in the secular market, instead of the Christian market. Most Christian rock bands choose to play music in both markets of secular and Christian. But, these five bands I want to share with you play solely within the secular market of music, without compromising their beliefs and faith.

The first band is Lifehouse. They first came to prominence in 2001 after the release of their first album No Name Face. Their first single, Hanging By A Moment, became the most played song of 2001. In their career, they have released five albums and sold upwards of fifteen million records worldwide.

Their lead singer, Jason Wade, was raised in a Christian home. Both of his parents were missionaries in Thailand, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. When he was twelve years old, his parents moved back to the United States and soon divorced. This divorce drove Jason to begin writing poetry and learning how to play the guitar.

Instead of simply being labeled a Christian band, Jason Wade and the members of Lifehouse simply want to share positive music and let their listeners interpret songs for themselves. They want to have music that affects everyone, not just Christians.

This music video is of the song Broken. This powerful song is all about coming to Christ broken and empty and then finding healing in His name. The concept of this video is really cool. I won’t spoil the ending for you.

The second musician is Adam Young who is known as Owl City. Adam Young began writing music in his parent’s basement, to help with his insomnia. Before he was signed to the major record label Universal Republic Records, Adam Young released two independent albums. These albums soon became very popular on myspace, which attracted the attention of Universal. His major label debut, Ocean Eyes, sent Adam Young soaring into the spotlight. In the first week of its release, Ocean Eyes sold over 20,000 albums, and the single, Fireflies, sold over 60,000 units. Fireflies eventually sold over 600,000 units.

Adam Young believes his message is to simply bring praise and glory to Jesus Christ, because Jesus is the reason he creates music. “The Lord Jesus Christ is my reason for creating and I have nothing but thanks and gratitude toward Him for being allowed to do what I do, and ultimately, seize my wildest dreams as if they were just there waiting for me. I guess my whole message or goal of this whole operation is to bring glory to Jesus Christ by all that I do and say, not just as it relates to Owl City, but in all areas of my life,” said Adam Young in an interview.

This music video is of the song Fireflies. This song has many different meanings and interpretations. For me, I believe this song is simply about dreaming and how magnificent and beautiful dreams can be. This video is a fun video of Adam Young playing music surrounded by many toys coming to life.

The third group is the band The Fray. This group literally became famous overnight. The band was formed in 2002 and was signed to Epic Records in 2004. In 2005, the group released their debut album, How To Save A Life. This album went double platinum, selling over two million records. Their second record, released in 2009, did very well on the sales charts but not as good as their debut. Their second self-titled album went on to be certified gold, selling over 500,000 units.

The band believes their most important calling is to be relevant to their listeners. When lead singer, Isaac Slade first began writing music, all of his lyrics were Christian oriented. But, he soon realized that all his non-Christian friends did not know what he was talking about. So Slade began a radical change in the lyric writing of the band, so that everyone (Christians and non-Christians) could understand their music. The Fray does not want to be a band that simply just quotes Bible verses, but writes songs that relate to people's lives. “The Pharisees just quoted Bible verses. Jesus related the parables to people's lives. The people were drawn in by the plot development, character and conflict," said Slade.

This video I have for you is from their debut album. The song is the title track called How To Save A Life. This song came from a mentoring relationship Slade had with a kid in a Christian halfway house. This teenager just wanted to destroy himself. But thankfully, with the help of Slade and others, this teenager is on the road to recovery. This song is all about the trials, triumphs, and prayers of Slade while trying to mentor to this teenager.

The fourth group is called Daughtry. This rock band is fronted by season 5 American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry. After being voted off American Idol, Chris Daughtry and the band released their first album in 2007. The album went on to sell four million records and was named the number one selling album of 2007 by Billboard. Their second record, Leave this Town, was released in 2009 and has currently sold over one million records.

Chris Daughtry is a musician that is not openly Christian. With that said, Daughtry is a professed Christian. Before his band Daughtry, Chris was the front man for a band called Absent Element. This group had many songs, including some worship songs like Heart of Worship. Chris Daughtry does not openly share his faith with the public, but his faith definitely comes out in a lot of his songs.

The song I want to share with you is called Home off his debut album with Daughtry. This song definitely has duel meanings. The first meaning could be Daughtry is writing the song about physically going home to be with his wife. He wants to go home to be with his wife and family, where their love is always true and fulfilling. But, I also believe this song talks about an eternal love. This song could also mean that Daughtry has a longing to go home or to heaven to be with Jesus Christ because His love is true, unfailing, and forgiving. The video features many backstage and live shots of the band throughout touring.

The final group is called The Rocket Summer. This is a solo project of Stephen Bryce Avary. On all of his albums, Stephen performs all the instruments and does the vocals. For live shows, however, he does have a band that plays with him. The Rocket Summer has released four full length albums and two EPs. His big break came in 2007 when he released the album Do You Feel. The album debuted at number forty-four on the Billboard 200 and sold 15,000 units in its first week.

Stephen cites the reason for signing with a mainstream label was the possibility of connecting with everyone who hears his music, not just Christians. “It was a deliberate choice to sign with a mainstream label first. I didn't feel it was right at that time [to sign with a Christian label]. I knew that I wanted this to be something to connect with people that didn't go to church or know Christ,” said Avary.

The song and video I want to share with you is called Do You Feel. This song is simply about waking up from complacency and changing the world. It is about having a heart for the world, and a desire to feel and even change the world’s problems. The concept for the video is very simple. It features musicians and ordinary people with different messages written on their hands. 

I hope you enjoyed my look at secular Christian music. These are not all the Christian bands that are in the secular market. There are many other bands including: The Devil Wears Prada, Switchfoot, P.O.D., Paramore, MXPX, The Almost, 12 Stones, Anberlin, Mae, and more. These bands choose to be solely in the secular market without compromising their faith and belief in Jesus Christ.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Christian rock testimonies

For this post, I once again want to tackle testimonies in Christian rock. I have personal testimonies of three different Christian musicians, and I have a testimony from a mother and son who were impacted and forever changed by the love of one Christian band.

This first testimony is from Sonny Sandoval. He is the lead singer for the Christian metal band P.O.D. This band has garnered critical and fan acclaim by selling over 10 million records worldwide. They have also received three Grammy nominations.

This video is a powerful testimony of Sonny coming to know the Lord through his mother’s battle with terminal cancer. In a hospital parking lot, Sonny asked Jesus Christ into his heart.

This second video is of Aaron Gillespie. He is the former drummer and back up singer for the Christian screamo group Underoath. Now he is the lead singer for the Christian rock group The Almost.

In this video, Aaron is very honest about his past failures, sins, and anxiety. That is the reason why I believe his testimony is so powerful. Aaron shows the world that you don’t need to be perfect or even semi-perfect to have a relationship with Jesus. You only need to be willing and open.

The third video features John Schlitt of the classic Christian rock group Petra. John Schlitt joined the band in 1986 after Greg X Volz left the group to pursue a solo career. John Schlitt stayed with the band until his retirement in 2005.

Schlitt has a powerful testimony about his life before Christianity. He was the lead singer for a band, but Schlitt soon became addicted to cocaine and alcohol. On the very day Schlitt decided to commit suicide, he was lead to Christ by his wife and her pastor.

For the last testimony, I have two videos. Instead of another Christian musician talking about their personal testimony, I decided to post a video of a family. This video features the testimony of a mother and son who were impacted by the love and care from the group Hawk Nelson.

While on tour, Hawk Nelson decided to start visiting Ronald McDonald homes in support of their One Little Miracle Campaign. One little boy named Nicholas captured the hearts of the band, and forever changed their lives for the better. This is part 1.

Here is part 2. This video features the members of Hawk Nelson inviting Nicholas to come on stage with them. Nicholas’ dream was to be a rock star, and for one night, Nicholas’ life was changed forever.

I hope you enjoyed these amazing and powerful testimonies.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Life and Career of the Newsboys

Throughout their twenty-five year career, the Newsboys have been one of the most popular Christian rock bands of all time. They have twenty #1 Christian rock singles and been Grammy nominated four times. The Newsboys have been featured on many magazines including Newsweek, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, and Modern Drummer, and they have been featured on many television shows on channels such as VH1, CBS, ESPN, CNN, E!, and PBS. The Newsboys have five gold albums, and they have sold over six million records worldwide. They have also played a live show at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But, before they began their immense success in the Christian scene, the Newsboys were formed to humble beginnings in 1985 in Australia under their original name The News. They began their career playing local shows in church basements and pubs around Australia. They soon moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and changed their name to the Newsboys, in order to avoid conflict with the band Huey Lewis and the News.

In 1988, they released their debut album, Read All About It, on Refuge Communication Records. This album features the core members of John James (lead vocalist), Sean Taylor (bassist), Peter Furler (drums), and Phil Yates (guitarist). This album actually turned out to be a flop and the record company soon dropped the band.

The Newsboys were then picked up by the label Star Song, and the Newsboys released two more albums in the next three years. Hell is For Wimps and Boyz Will Be Boyz once again enjoyed little success for the band.

Here is the music video for the song Simple Man off the album Hell is For Wimps. This is the first video ever made by the Newsboys.

Finally, after a number of lineup changes, the Newsboys' big break came in 1992 when they released the album Not Ashamed. The title track went on to be their first number one single on Christian Radio.

After the popularity of Not Ashamed, the Newsboys' reputation continued to grow. Their next two albums, Going Public released in 1994 and Take Me To Your Leader released in 1996, both went on to be gold albums and each featured many number one hits. Going Public featured four #1 hits including: Shine, Spirit Thing, Truth and Consequences, and Real Good Thing. The album Take Me To Your Leader featured three #1 singles including the songs: Take Me To Your Leader, Reality, and Let Go. Both of these albums feature arguably their two most famous and popular songs of all time: Shine, and Breakfast.

Here is the music video for the #1 single Take Me to Your Leader.

After the immense popularity beginning to grow for the band, their lead singer, John James, decided to leave the Newsboys in 1998. Peter Furler, the drummer and back up singer for the band, decided to take his place.

In 1998, the Newsboys released their seventh album and first album featuring Peter Furler as lead vocalist. Also in the album, Step Up to the Microphone, Phil Joel, the bassist for the band, stepped in for backing vocals. The percussionist, Duncan Phillips, also moved his position in the band to full time drummer. With this album, the Newsboys combined the efforts of their last two albums. Step Up to the Microphone featured the ballads that made Going Public popular and it also featured the driving rock songs that made Take Me to Your Leader a national hit. This album featured four #1 singles on Christian radio charts including the songs: Believe, Woohoo, Step Up to the Microphone, and Entertaining Angels.

Here is the video for the hit song Entertaining Angels.

Their next album, Love Liberty Disco, came a year later in 1999. This album was very different stylistically and musically than anything the Newsboys had done before. As the title suggests, most of the songs fit into disco music stylistically. Not all the songs are disco songs, some of the tracks are vintage Newsboys pop rock songs. A Beautiful Sound, Good Stuff, and Forever Man are classic Newsboys songs.

This is the official music video for Love Liberty Disco.

After the Love Liberty Disco album, the Newsboys took their biggest break between records in their career. It took three years before they released their next album, Thrive. This was another very different album for the band. Yes, they had their usual driving pop rock sound, but they also incorporated worship music into their album for the first time in their career. Songs such as It is You, Thrive, and Lord I Don’t Know helped usher in a new worship era for the band.

This next music video is a song all about kissing your cares goodbye and giving them to the Lord. Here is Million Pieces.

For their next two albums, the Newsboys decided to delve into the world of worship music. Both, Adoration released in 2003 and Devotion released in 2004, were a major contrast to the Newsboys sound. These albums were free of driving pop rock music and in its place filled with meaningful worship songs. On these two albums, the Newsboys did covers of many popular worship songs including: Amazing Love, In Christ Alone, Blessed Be Your Name, Name Above All Names, and When the Tears Fall. Both albums weren’t all covers, each record also featured some of the most popular Newsboys songs of all time. He Reigns and My Heart’s Desire could rank up there in popularity with Breakfast and Shine. In 2003, after the release of Adoration, long time guitarist Jody Davis was forced to leave the band in order to take care of his sick daughter. Bryan Olesen took his place for only one album. After the release of Devotion, Olesen left the band to start his own Christian rock band called Vota.

Here is one of their most famous worship songs, He Reigns.

After delving into the world of worship, Newsboys decided to combine worship and rock and roll for their next two albums. Go released in 2006 and In the Hands of God released in 2009 featured both pop rock and beautiful worship ballads. Go features pop rock songs like Wherever We Go and Your Love is Better than Life and worship songs such as In Wonder and I Am Free. In the Hands of God features rock songs like The Way We Roll and My Friend Jesus and worship songs such as Glorious, and Lead Me to the Cross.

Paul Colman replaced Olesen in the album Go as the lead guitarist. But, after a short stint with the band, he soon leaves to pursue his own solo career. After his daughter’s recovery and a six year hiatus from the band, Jody Davis returned to the Newsboys in 2009. He was the guitarist for the In the Hands of God album and he is currently the Newsboys lead guitarist. In the Hands of God is also the first album that did not feature long time bassist and back up singer Phil Joel. He left the band shortly after the release of Go to pursue a solo career.

This next video is from the album Go, it is called Something Beautiful.

Newsboys have also lent their musical talents to the Christian kids television show Veggietales. They were featured on the Veggie Rocks cd along with many other well known Christian rock artists including: Audio Adrenaline, Skillet, Relient K, Sanctus Real, Superchick, O.C. Supertones, and many more. The Newsboys recorded the song In the Belly of the Whale for the Veggie Rocks cd. The song is also featured on the Jonah Veggie Tales official soundtrack.

Not only are the Newsboys known for their pop rock albums, they are also known for their amazing live shows. The Newsboys started the traveling Christian music festival in 2001 called Festival Con Dios, which means Festival with God. The tour ran for three years, until 2003, and featured many well known Christian bands including Audio Adrenaline, Switchfoot, Pillar, TobyMac, Skillet, Plus One, and more.

Throughout their career, the Newsboys have toured with many well known Christian bands including Code of Ethics, Plankeye, Third Day, Sonicflood, Jeremy Camp, Rebecca St. James, Kutless, Stellar Kart, Rush of Fools, DecembeRadio, and Seventh Day Slumber. In their live shows, they are also known for an amazing drum solo. The drummer, Duncan Phillips, will play a drum solo while on a platform that rises in the air, tilts downward 90 degrees and spins around. Since the platform is tilted downwards, Duncan is forced to wear two different harnesses in order to keep him strapped to his seat.

Here is a short video of Duncan Phillips performing the drum solo live.

In 2009, the only founding member remaining in the band, Peter Furler, decided to leave the Newsboys after a twenty-four year career with the group. He wanted to take a more supportive role and write and produce songs for the band.

According to Stereotruth.com, this is what Peter Furler had to say about his departure. “Newsboys to me has always been a mission, and I entrust Mike, Jeff, Jody and Duncan to continue all that is in store for us as a band. I’m looking forward to focusing on the band’s studio career and spending time in my own bed after many years in a tour bus and hundreds of thousands of miles on the road.”

Since his departure, Furler has also gone on to be a professional oil painter. He has many paintings on regular canvas and he also has many paintings on drum heads. Many of his works are featured in offices and recording studios across the country.

His replacement was a long time friend of the band, Michael Tait. Michael Tait is a former member of the highly awarded and publicized Christian rock band DC Talk and he was also the lead singer of the band Tait.

The Newsboys have announced their latest album will be released on July 13, 2010. This will be the first album with Michael Tait as the lead vocalist.

Here is the title track off their album, it is called Born Again.

The Newsboys’ career has defined this generation of Christian rock music. Through many member changes, six different guitarists, two bassists, two keyboardists, and three lead vocalists, the Newsboys are still going strong after twenty-five years.

Peter Furler said it best when he described the Newsboys in their official biography. He said, “If you aren’t making music from the right place, then it won’t be authentic, people will not connect with it, and your record will be sitting on a shelf. On the other hand, if you write from that place of true passion, without trying to make something commercial or forced, then the result will be natural. People will be drawn to it.”