Friday, August 12, 2011

Album Review: "On Fire" by Peter Furler

Release Date: June 21, 2011
Genre: Pop/Rock/Worship
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Peter Furler shocked us all in 2009 when he announced his departure from Newsboys, after leading the band for 24 years since its formation in 1985. With a songwriter/singer of his talent, it is not surprising that he has returned to the music industry in a solo career. For many, it was like the return of the old newsboys-joining back with Sparrow Records and teaming up with Steve Taylor once again for songwriting. However, a question also came up: would Peter Furler be as successful as he was when he was still with the Newsboys? By listening to this album, the question is answered easily.

The new record begins with the upbeat song "I'm Alive." It talks about getting excited and feeling free now that God is in us. The first single "Reach" is the second track on the album and is a very encouraging song about God's great love for us. Though there are so many people in this world, He still cares about each and every one of us, as said in the chorus, "So many people in this world/But I hear You calling out my name." One of my favorite songs on the album follows "Reach." "Glory to the King" was written after the funeral of Peter's grandmother, and it speaks of the day when we will
all be in heaven, will see our loved ones again, and will all worship the Lord. Peter Furler paints a beautiful picture of it and he describes it as "a sea/a sea of voices sing/Glory to the King/the King of everything."

"Never Ending Love Song" is a fun track with a mix of techno in the tune. Peter sings about singing a "love song" to the Lord in response to all that He has done for us. Again, Peter talks about the Day of the Lord, this time in "Matter of Faith." However, his focus of that day in this song is having faith that eventually the Lord will return and when it happens, all people who know Who the true God is. Like "Glory to the King," this song has a nice tune, though more peaceful than some of the others.

Peter Furler talks about doing what God is urging you to do in "All in Your Head." The song is very upbeat with a strong bass (which makes it perfect for a stereo with a subwoofer). "Closer" is perhaps the most unique song on the album. It features Steve Taylor and Some Other Band (Steve's band) and brings up the question: are you ready for the future? Meaning, are you ready for Jesus' return? My favorite song on the album is "Faster and Louder." It is a very upbeat and catchy song and basically tells about Peter's songwriting experience for this album, singing in the chorus: "So long/my soul longs/fast songs/joyful, joyful/I wanna make some noise/wanna cause a stir/faster and louder!"  The beat is slowed down for "Psalm 23" which contains lyrics all from Psalm 23 in the Bible. Peter is joined by British DJ Andy Hunter to create a synth music style. Listening to this song can be a great way to remember all the words from the Psalm itself.

Encouragement is provided in the last two songs, beginning with "Hold On" which is directed towards those who are going through tough times in their lives. To these people, Peter sings, "Don't let go/when the ground beneath you's shaking/from the good times to the bad times/and the things you can't control/you gotta hold on." Though it is not strongly stated, one of the themes of the song is that God is still there during our struggles and will help us. On Fire ends with the Peter Furler-Phil Joel duo "Greater is He" which also features an excerpt of Peter's father Bill Furler, a pastor in Australia. The song proclaims that our Lord is greater than all things in this world. Thus, we do not need to fear anything, for the Lord will fight for us.

One listen to this album will prove to anyone that Peter Furler has not at all lost his skills in music. The album is a solid pop record with some worship and techno fitted in for some songs. The only negative side to On Fire is that the style of the songs are a bit too similar throughout the entire album. However, for pop and newsboys fans, this is just what they want and will not at all be a problem to them. I, myself, enjoyed all the songs so much that I had a lot of trouble choosing my top three tracks. No one who listens to this album will be disappointed with Peter Furler's latest release and instead will start looking forward to his next album and will be very much "on fire!"

Top 3 Tracks
  1. Faster and Louder
  2. Reach
  3. Glory to the King

  1. I’m Alive 
  2. Reach 
  3. Glory To The King 
  4. Never Ending Love Song 
  5. Matter of Faith 
  6. All In Your Head 
  7. Closer (Featuring Steve Taylor and Some Other Band) 
  8. Faster and Louder 
  9. Psalm 23
  10. Hold On 
  11. Greater Is He (Featuring Phil Joel and Bill Furler) 


haylee martin said...

Hey this is a really good review!! You have quite the writing/reviewing talent. It truly helps you capture the main audience's attention. Just by your musical enthusiasm emphasis alone.

Justin Morden said...

Wow! Thanks a lot, Haylee! Really appreciate the feedback! :)

Josh said...

Awesome album I love it one of my favorites. I know I got to listen to it some time soon too.