CHRISTIAN MUSIC reviews
Best 2011 Christmas Music: CBN Staff Picks
By CBN.com Staff
With Christmas Day in just a few weeks, CBNmusic has compiled a list of new Christian holiday albums that you are sure to enjoy this season.
Tastefully edgy, this first Christmas album from Kutless will be a favorite even for those unfamiliar with the band. This is Christmas is a worshipful record featuring four classic Christmas tunes and two Kutless originals (the title track and “Beautiful”). “This is Christmas” is a song you will undoubtedly hear requested often on Christian radio stations and in churches this season. With its clear gospel message and catchy tune, listeners will find themselves wanting to sing along with the chorus as it beautifully transitions into a rendition of “Gloria!” from the “Angels We have Heard on High”. - lisa webber
The trendsetting musical genius of TobyMac appears yet again on his first Christmas album in 10 years. Toby’s Christmas in Diverse City is a colorful array of groovin’ tunes that will put pep in your step this holiday season. It’s a fun and relevant collection of pop, R&B, and hip hop, showcasing Leigh Nash, Jamie Grace, Byron “Talk Box” Chambers and the Diverse City band. A glorious and funky sound mix, this release exudes pure fun. This collection of vibrant sounds starts with the funky “Christmas This Year”, a song that's sure to put a smile on your face as you decorate for the holidays. Christmas in Diverse City includes back to back classic carols and originals featuring colorful vocals and creative lyrics with clever arrangements. This Christmas album delivers a vibrant soundtrack of original holiday sounds that only TobyMac could create. Christmas in Diverse City is a must have for those Christmas parties planned this year, adding just the right “flava” to the holiday season. - jae rae
If you’re looking for a traditional Christmas album to play as background noise at your family dinner at the holidays, then Hawk Nelson’s Christmas isn’t for the one for it. But, if you’re interested in something different, this is it. It’s a punk-rockin’ holiday album filled with fun, fast-paced Christmas favorites. A punk-shout vocal take on “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” starts this very Hawk Nelson album off all right. The holiday fun continues on “The Wassail Song”, “Up on the Housetop”, and lead singer’s valiant attempt to hit the high notes on their a cappella version of “Joy to the World”. A definite favorite for any punk rock fan. - hannah goodwyn
Matthew West has developed a well-earned reputation in recent years for being a compelling storyteller through song. His latest release, The Heart of Christmas is no exception. Sure, West performs many traditional carol classics such as “Silent Night” and “O Come All You Faithful” with his smooth, warm style, but it is his original Christmas compositions that truly stand out. One such track is the folk-sounding “Leaving Heaven”, the Christmas story told from the perspective of Jesus. The emotional “One Last Christmas” is about having an early Christmas celebration for a young child who is dying. A final original worth noting is “Come on Christmas”, a fun song about the anticipation building up to the big day. With so many Christmas albums flooding the marketplace each year, it is easy for one or all new releases to get lost in the holiday shuffle. However, The Heart of Christmas is a must have for any Christmas music lover. - chris carpenter
What’s cuter than Junior Asparagus singing “Do You Hear What I Hear” accompanied by his veggie friend Larry the Cucumber? Nothing. Thankfully, that’s just what listeners get on VeggieTales’ new Christmas album. O Holy Night showcases its beloved characters singing hymns, such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “What Child Is This/The First Noel”, and new songs including the first track, a Junior Asparagus solo titled “Was He a Boy Like Me”. The veggie gang is joined on the album with BeBe and CeCe Winans, Amy Grant, Matthew West, Wynonna Judd, and Steven Curtis Chapman. O Holy Night is a great Christmas album for families to have. - hannah goodwyn
Oh for Joy by David Crowder*Band
This eight-track Christmas album features the unique musical takes on holiday classics, such as “Joy to the World”, “The First Noel”, “O, Holy Night”, and others. Some of these well-known tunes include new lyrics along with the famous lines. Unfortunately, Oh for Joy doesn’t offer any original songs David Crowder*Band fans may be looking for this holiday season. For that reason, it doesn’t get highest marks. Still, the band does revitalize the classics (like their countrified “Angels We Have Heard on High” and live recordings of “Silent Night” and “Carol of the Bells/Christmas Eve”), giving listeners an updated sound matched to the timeless message of Christ’s birth. - hannah goodwyn
Oh for Joy gets the award for best Christmas album cover.
Do you find yourself wishing that your local Christian radio station was playing Christmas music? If you are looking for a great selection of contemporary Christian Christmas music, this is the album for you. It is filled with far more songs than you would typically receive on a CD – 32 to be exact. Expect to hear most of the traditional classics plus a few songs that you might not expect, such as "Jingle Bell Rock" sung by newsboys. If you like original songs by the artists, there are a few of those as well. This 2-disc collection has a little something for everyone. Although there is probably not any one song that you will wear out, you will enjoy the great variety of music from this collection of artists. - lisa webber
FFH rings in the holiday season with a new, pleasant album titled One Silent Night. The track list includes a nice mixture of original songs and Christmas classics. The remakes are good, but it’s the newly penned and recorded tracks – "The Birthday of a King," "Glorious Impossible," and "One Silent Night" – that really impress. The group’s take on “Jingle Bell Rock” isn’t a favorite, but the record is redeemed with a first-rate cover of the holiday duet favorite “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. - hannah goodwyn
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