I remember when I first heard the strains of Audio Adrenaline’s “Who Do You Love” while working on a house demolition as an eleven year old. It was insanely catchy, and one of several songs that I would eagerly wait for to tape off of the radio. (Yes, I’m old enough to have enjoyed double tape deck boombox and cassettes) Their self titled is still a nostalgic listen for songs like “Life,” “My God,” and “Audio World,” but they definitely haven’t aged well. However, though dated, they are fun, and I just can’t help myself.
The rest of my formative years brought albums Don’t Censor Me, Bloom, Some Kind of Zombie, and Underdog. Many of their songs are attached to youth group memories that I still think back on fondly. (“Big House” and “Some King of Zombie” I’m looking at you) After Underdog I largely lost interest save a few songs from Lift, and then again with Kevin Max taking lead on Kings & Queens. Overall, I think they have a strong catalogue, and these are what I would deem my favorite twenty of their songs. Hope you Enjoy!
This is part 2 of my “Top 20 Songs of 20 Artists in 2020.” You can find part 1 here: Top 20 Songs For 20 Artists: The Newsboys
Here we go!
20. “Will Not Fade” – A new track included in their greatest hits album Hit Parade, this is rocker with Mark Stuart in all his full throated glory.
19. “Beautiful” – Light record scratching, crisp drums and guitar accents/solos elevate this one and will have you singing along in no time.
18. “Kings & Queens” – Though still somewhat weird to hear another voice other than Mark’s (especially one as distinct as Max’s), I love the message of this radio hit. Kmax sounds as good as ever, and it was a nice return of the band, if in name only, rather than former sound.
17. “Mighty Good Leader” – Another album opener, this one for Underdog…yet again, a fantastic car song. Let er rip, just don’t drive too fast!
16. “Can’t Take God Away” – Though it has somewhat dated early 90’s drum sounds, this is still a good one of biblical defiance.
15. “Ocean Floor” – If I remember correctly this one hit pretty big on radio. One of the first songs I remember being played to death. Doesn’t keep me from digging it though.
14. “Blitz” – Horns from ska band O.C. Supertones add a nice touch to this driving rock alternative tune.
13. “Don’t Censor Me” – This one has a dirty pop swagger with a hook that will get permanently stuck in your head. Listening now…
12. “Who Do You Love” – First Audio A Song I ever heard. It had me from hooked from the start. A nostalgic pick for sure, no problem admitting it.
11. “Tremble” – A slow burner, though a beautiful song. Another in the worshipful vein, but not cliche or overwrought.
10. “Walk On Water” – Another 70’s influenced rock/pop gem from Bloom.
9. “Hands and Feet” – As worship music began to take over in the late 90’s and early 00’s they dropped this beauty that was a great addition to the genre.
8. “My Worldview” – With a delightful assist from Kevin Max of Dctalk fame, this is easily my favorite slow jam from the band.
7. “Secret” – A kick-butt way to signal what listeners were in store for in the Album Bloom. Tasty guitars abound.
6. “Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus” – The guitar lick in this one is worthy of high praise…so good.
5. “We’re A Band” – Another great rocker from The Don’t Censor me Album. Turn this one up!
4. “Big House” – Unarguably the song they are most known for. Silly and fun. A classic.
3. “Get Down” – If this doesn’t get your toes tapping check your pulse! An ear worm of a tune if there ever was one!
2. “Some Kind of Zombie” – Delightfully creepy video aside, this is an insanely catchy rock/alternative song. Love the piano accents.
1. “I’m Not The King” – Perfect for blasting in your car with the windows down. The louder the better!
Audio Adrenaline weren’t particularly big in Europe from what I could tell, the only song I knew was Get Down (from WOW 2000) until Hit Parade made it to my local Christian bookstore. I remember listening to the opening songs in the store and thinking, “I’ve found my new favourite rock band!” Favourite album is a close call between Bloom, Underdog and Lift. Underdog is their most consistent, full of songs I really like but don’t quite love anymore. Lift is a great worship album, though the second half drags a little bit for me. But if I have to decide, it’s probably Bloom – Barry Blair’s guitar riffs give it the edge.
As I’ve been re-listening to their discography it’s been a bit like drinking a really sweet soft drink I used to have all the time when I was younger. Now after enjoying the first few sips, I’m done. I can’t really do justice to a full list of 20 here, so I’ll just keep it to 2 nostalgia picks and the 6 songs that I still really love:
Clap Your Hands – one final workout for Mark’s voice in all its weathered glory, with some heavy rock guitars. There’s very little here lyrically, but I get quite emotional listening to it!
The Houseplant Song – really meaningful to me at a time when I’d come across some websites that attacked all the music I loved.
#6 Will Not Fade – first track on Hit Parade, kept coming back to hear this at the bookstore until I had the money to buy it. Guitars, vocals, drums – it all still sounds great.
#5 Speak to Me – for a long time this was my “quiet time” song, lovely heart’s cry for communion with God. The horn towards the end still tugs at my heart strings!
#4 Some Kind of Zombie – not something I would ever use as an illustration for life in Christ, but somehow it gets a pass – I actually really like the lyrics, it has some really interesting instrumentation which gives it a unique feel, and it rocks.
#3 I’m Not the King – probably their hardest rocker, can’t help but love this.
#2 Man of God – always resonated with me, wrestling with failure and our constant need to rest in God’s grace, even as we grow in godliness.
#1 Get Down – my personal Big House! I’ll never grow tired of it. Taken together, Underdog-Get Down-Good Life (which has some of my favourite AA lyrics but is a bit too middle-of-the-road musically) are a great thesis statement. This song has now taken on a second life in our family as a workout song, where I have to hold my daughters and do a squat every time he says “down”.
Thanks for putting these lists out there, I’m having fun with it…
Be blessed brother, Chris
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