Shine...The Hits

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Newsboys' hits compilation is similar to many other such collections circa 2000 in that it is not so much a simple set of the group's most popular songs as a selective history and statement about the band's future. In Newsboys' case, this is complicated by the 1997 departure of lead singer John James; while it may not have been the Christian thing to do, a deliberate attempt seems to have been made to diminish James' role in favor of Peter Furler, who co-founded the group and continued to lead it after his partner left. Many of the major hits of the James era are included, among them "I'm Not Ashamed," "Shine," "Spirit Thing," "Reality," and "Take Me to Your Leader," all of which reached number one on CCM magazine's Contemporary Hits chart. But other number one hits -- "Real Good Thing," "Truth and Consequences," and "Let It Go" -- are missing, and there seems to be a disproportionate number of post-James tracks, including three brand new songs and a remake of "God Is Not a Secret" that recasts it as a rap tune. Newsboys' sound has changed over time, but this collection finds them generally faithful to their U2 and INXS-flavored '80s international pop/rock style, and with a consistently unique lyrical perspective (from "Breakfast," which warns that the devil won't be serving you Cap'n Crunch, to the new "Who?," which describes God as "tender as a burger in your microwave"). Fans will welcome this best-of, but many will notice the omission of favorite tracks.

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