CHRISTIAN MUSIC reviews
Best 2012 Christmas Music: CBN Staff Picks
By CBN.com Staff
With Christmas Day drawing near, the staff at CBN has given some of the new holiday albums from Christian artists a listen. Here are our reviews of new Christian albums that you could enjoy this Christmas season.
Great New Music for the Holidays
Mandisa brings a classic and savvy sound to the Christmas holidays with her latest, It's Christmas: Christmas Angel Edition. This continuation of her 2008 holiday release is filled with lively and warm seasonal classics, as well as, fun and heartfelt original Christmas songs. The title track, with its funky backbeats and Mandisa's vocals riding the groove, will have you dancing around the house this holiday season while decking the halls. Mandisa's vocal prowess, and savvy spunk, delivers a fun joyful sound while gleefully giving you the reason for the season, Jesus. The originals, such as "Somebody's Angel" with its melodic message, will stir your heart to bring hope and love to a hurting world. Also, the duets on "Christmas Makes Me Cry" with Matthew West and "Christmas Day" featuring Michael W. Smith will warm your heart. Mandisa showcases her vocal versatility with "Christmas Bell Medley" and "Feliz Navidad (with 'Joy to the World')". Overall, Mandisa's It's Christmas will be a fantastic and refreshing addition to your music playlist this season. - jaerae
Album Highlights: "It's Christmas", "Somebody's Angel", "Christmas Bell Medley"
Searching for a contemporary, heartfelt twist on traditional Christmas music? Jeremy Camp has created an album where each song has earned the place to be there and sounds distinctly different than the song before it. His latest album, Christmas: God With Us, starts off with a rousing rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock” that is sure to get you on your feet. The upbeat tempo continues with “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. If you have found that Christmas carols start sounding the same to you, then this album will be sure to catch your attention. Each song is sung in a unique style with many having additional lyrics or a particularly unique choice in background music. Favorites are “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung as a beautiful ballad, “Let it Snow”, a toe-tapping tune that will have you itching to sing along and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” sung to a beautiful acoustic accompaniment. Christmas: God With Us has become a personal favorite in my household this season. - lisa webber
Album Highlights: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Let it Snow”, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
Christmas by Francesca Battistelli
On her first solo Christmas album, Francesca Battistelli debuts 11 tracks filled with lighthearted holiday fun and meaningful, faith-invoking moments. The Dove Award-winning vocalist belts out familiar carols, including a jazzy version of the classic "The Christmas Song", "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Marshmallow World". The album shines light on the reason for the season with classic hymns, "Joy to the World" and "What Child Is This?", and four original songs worth mentioning, namely "Christmas Is", "Christmas Dreams", "You're Here" and "Heaven Everywhere", a beautiful Country-style song that's sure to be a favorite. - hannah goodwyn
Album Highlights: "Heaven Everywhere", "The Christmas Song", "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
Brace yourself for a different kind of Hillsong album than has ever been heard before. Instead of the long-recognizable sound of droning electric guitars, We Have a Savior offers listeners a more earthy feel. It's Christmas "Gungor-style," if you will. The more subtle sounds are anything but boring, from the traditional melody on "O Come Let Us Adore Him" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" to the original and upbeat "Born is the King (It's Christmas)." The songs range from triumphant to worshipful and are perfect for those wishing for a more laid-back holiday this year. - rebekah rogers
Album Highlights: "O Come Let Us Adore Him", "Born Is The King (It's Christmas)", "Emmanuel"
Lincoln Brewster has become synonymous with sweet guitar solos in the Christian music genre and his latest album release for Christmas does not disappoint. In the press release, he relates that in each track, he was looking to project the style of music that the words of each traditional Christmas carol imply. "Joy to the World" is expectantly uplifting with his typical rock-pop feel, while the "Little Drummer Boy" (featuring Christian hip-hop artist KJ52) features drum beats that will have you grooving along. The album also features an outstanding instrumental medley of some favorite Christmas melodies interwoven with some of his sweet fretwork that he titles "Miraculum". All in all, this album has several songs that are sure to be on next year's playlist, as well. - rebekah rogers
Album Highlights: "O Holy Night", "Miraculum", "Shout for Joy"
JOY by Steven Curtis Chapman
JOY is Steven Curtis Chapman's fourth release of Christmas-themed music, his last being 2005's All I Really Want for Christmas. Among the album's 13 songs are six new tracks including the first single, "Christmastime Again". With its shuffling, swishing beat, "Christmastime Again" will be sure to get you in the holiday spirit, or at least make you want to grab a mug of hot cocoa and throw more tinsel on your tree. Other new tracks include "Christmas in Kentucky", a sentimental nod to Chapman's home state, and "Christmas Kiss", a romantic ballad written for his wife Marybeth. Traditionalists will love Chapman's easy, free-wheeling style on his renditions of many Christmas carol classics, especially a new arrangement of "We Three Kings". More longtime favorites include "Joy to World", "What Child is This?", and "Do You Hear What I Hear". Perhaps the most pleasing thing about JOY is that Chapman seems to have found joy in his music again. Since the tragic death of his daughter in 2008, he and his family have been on a painful journey of trying to rebuild their lives. On JOY, you will hear the old familiar spark in his voice again. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new season for him. Let's hope. That's what Christmas is all about, right? - chris carpenter
Album Highlights: "Christmastime Again", "Christmas Kiss", "What Child is This?"
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