Release Date: November 18th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Wish List (7eventh Time Down)
- This is Christmas (David Dunn)
- He Has Come (All Things New)
- In the Bleak Midwinter (The Museum)
- My Kind of Christmas (Shuree)
- This is Christmas (Among the Thirsty)
- Red (Shine Bright Baby)
In three weeks’ time, Christmas will be over. It is in light of this statement that I feel much more at ease listening to and reviewing a Christmas album. Because of the feeling and hype of the season, it’s almost a guarantee that during these next few weeks, you’ll listen to a lot of Christmas carols, holiday melodies, Christ-centred songs, and other songs about friends and family; each one of them as valid as the next one in bringing out Christmas cheer and encouraging everyone during this stressful, enjoyable and heartfelt time to stop and reflect upon the year that has past. BEC Recordings have decided to record their own collection of Christmas hits, starting in 2013 with Christmastime All Year.
With a few hits from artists like Shine Bright Baby, Citizens and 7eventh Time Down; and misses from namely Manafest; BEC Recordings have released their latest Christmas compilation again this year, this time titled This is Christmas. Featuring newer artists like Among the Thirsty, Shuree and David Dunn in the EP lineup, this 7 track collection of Christmas melodies is enough to deliver an improvement over last year’s Christmas collection, and an EP, though probably overlooked, ought not to be, featuring some of the most powerful and unique originally written Christmas songs of the year!
Originally on 7eventh Time Down’s A Christmas Wish List EP, first track “Wish List” sets the tone and atmosphere for the album lyrically and musically, as the band remind us to amend our wish lists, not just for the season but for life as well. With confronting lyrics of how ‘…I’ve got a list one mile long, of things that I don’t need, but it looks so good on my touch screen…’; this radio friendly CCM melody speaks about our need as consumers of Christmas to alter our lists and spend less time worrying about purposes, as we spend more time to reflect on God. Also releasing prior to this album through an acoustic video last year, All Things New offer their Christmas melody in “He Has Come”, a radio friendly song that reminds us that Christ has come to us in a manger, and to ‘…let the trumpet play and let the earth rejoice, behold the saving one, He has come…’, and while it is the most radio friendly out of all the 7 tracks (and thereby the most criticised), All Things New have done a great job at delivering the gospel message this Christmas.
Offering the lone carol on the 7 track set, The Museum’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” can be an obscure song choice, and while the tone of the EP would’ve been much more jovial if the band picked another melody (a more joyous one, perhaps “Joy to the World”), the song nevertheless reminds us of the night of Jesus’s birth, complete with acoustic guitars, glockenspiels and ethereally powerful vocals from Ben Richter. Both Among the Thirsty and David Dunn provide us the songs “This is Christmas” (not the same song), each still offering a similar theme of reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas through the reminder that “…God [is] with us…what a gift He’s given us…’ (“This is Christmas”- Among the Thirsty) and how “…Christmas, this is Christmas, God is with us…Hallelujah…” (“This is Christmas”- David Dunn).
With pop influencing the last few songs on the EP, Shuree and Shine Bright Baby bring bouncy songs with heart as we are shown powerful songs encouraging more listeners to hear impacting and faith-based songs as the day of Jesus’s birth draws near. With Shuree’s vocal reminding me of artists like Natalie Grant or Plumb, and Shine Bright Baby giving us a Superchick atmosphere, it is the fans of these aforementioned artists that’ll hopefully these 7 tracks, each making it clear for Christian and non-Christian alike, that “…red is the colour of love, what a beautiful display…a promise of a God, Heaven’s Son is here to stay…” (“Red”- Shine Bright Baby).
Compared to last year’s offering, This is Christmas is a nice BEC Sampler, that virtually has no down sides (apart from it being a tad too short in terms of song list length). Nevertheless, this album is a great way for lesser known artists like David Dunn, Shuree, 7eventh Time Down and Among the Thirsty to continue to increase their popularity amongst listeners. A great way to be in the Christmas spirit as the weeks countdown to arguably one of the most celebrated holidays of the year (irrespective of people’s religion and belief), this is for anyone who loves Christmas music with a pop/rock edge, as we are reminded to continuously give encouragement and hope in the form of Jesus this festive month of December!
3 songs to listen to: Wish List, Red, He Has Come
RIYL: Kutless, Jeremy Camp, All Things New, Shine Bright Baby