(Capitol Christian Music Group)
Release date: October 1, 2021
There’s nothing wrong with youth group appropriate Christian music. Teens are so impressionable at that age, so whenever musicians build up the faith of young people, it is certainly a positive endeavor. However, when the best thing you can say about an album is, ‘Well, at least it’s youth group appropriate,’ this strongly suggests something is conspicuously lacking artistically. Such is clearly the case with Newsboys’ STAND album. Its content may not get the youth pastor in any theological hot water, but it also won’t excite adventurous ears, either.
STAND is a collection of generic praise music that you may forget all about—even right after listening to it. Yes, songs like “I Still Believe You Are Good” and “Blessings on Blessings” are explicitly worshipful and theologically correct, while the album’s title track truthfully admonishes listeners to remain strong in the faith. However, while these tracks express worthy ideals, they accomplish them without wit nor wonder. Instead, it all comes off like a Christian music Captain Obvious or an escape room where participants know all the clues in advance.
This overall assessment takes nothing away from lead singer, Michael Tait, who for example expertly navigates the reggae grooves of the smooth (but grammatically incorrect) “Ain’t It Like Jesus.” With that said, though, Tait and the band don’t sound much like those wacky Australians the group began as, nor do they come off nearly as smart as when Steve Taylor helped write their lyrics. This leaves a Newsboys that is sub-STAND-ard, at best.