Release Date: November 4th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- This Christmas
- Wish List
- I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day
- Little Drummer Boy
- Just Say Jesus (Radio Edit) [Nothing But the Blood]
Releasing their deluxe edition of their 2013 album Just Say Jesus at the beginning of November, pop/rock BEC Recordings quartet 7eventh Time Down are back with their short yet powerful and poignant Christmas EP, A Christmas Wish List. Releasing in a year stacked with Christmas album releases from artists like Kim Walker-Smith, 1 Girl Nation, Michael W. Smith, Chris August, Everfound and Joshua Mills; not to mention Rend Collective’s surprise Christmas album releasing next week and OBB’s Christmas EP later on in November; one could be forgiven to completely bypass this album in favour of any of these aforementioned artists. Nevertheless, Mikey Howard and the band offer up 2 original Christmas songs, 2 carols, and a re-worked “Just Say Jesus”, arguably their most famous hit since “Alive in You” in 2011. A band to enjoy if you are a fan of artists like Kutless, Jeremy Camp, Seventh Day Slumber or Lifehouse; this EP is one to enjoy ahead of the upcoming Christmas season.
The title track from their 2013 album, “Just Say Jesus” is as pop as you can get from the band. Though relatively short at 3:03, this radio edition of the song with a tag of “Nothing But the Blood” at the end still speaks volumes and is one of my favourite pop-impacting songs of the last few years. The band make up for the shortness with intense enthusiasm and passion as we witness a song that reminds us to call on Jesus’s name whenever we are in need. With the instrumental beginning reminding myself of Tenth Avenue North’s “By Your Side” (just as poignant as well), this light acoustic melody brings a message of God’s closeness, and a heartfelt message of how ‘…when you don’t know what to say, just say Jesus…’ Heavily played on both Air1 and K-Love Radio, “Just Say Jesus”, though not a Christmas melody, is a fitting last song to the EP, reminding us to call on Jesus in any season- especially Christmastime when we’re reminded of His birth.
The remainder 4 tracks bring the theme of Christmas to front and centre with 2 original tracks and 2 carols. A three minute pop melody in “This Christmas”, 7eventh Time Down remind us that this year they ‘…wanna get it right, be a light, leading people through a dark night…I’ve got more to give, I’ll tell the world there’s a God who loves them…’ A theme similar to TobyMac’s Christmas melody also titled “This Christmas”, this 4 men band bring to the fore a message of change, reconciliation, forgiveness and family as we are reminded to change our focus from presents to the presence of Christ.
“Wish List” is a radio friendly CCM melody that speaks about how we as consumers of Christmas need to alter our lists to reflect more of God and less of what we want during the holiday season, while carols and rap collide in “Little Drummer Boy”, a song that is just as clever and ingenious as Lincoln Brewster’s pop/rap rendition of the same carol. The band also cover Casting Crowns’s version of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, and while recorded at a faster pace than Mark Hall and the band, the song still reminds us of the gospel story, and gives us a unique portrayal of a fan favourite carol.
One of my favourite artists on BEC Recordings, 7eventh Time Down offer up a great Christmas EP alongside their expanded edition of Just Say Jesus to make them one of the artists I reckon will have a great 2015. A band that draws parallels vocally to Lifehouse, Daughtry or Nickelback, Mikey Howard and the band remind us that Christmas is something to be celebrated and joyous about. From original songs to carols to non-Christmas melodies, this 5 track EP has about everything a fan of pop/rock/CCM/Christmas music can want. Well done Mikey and the band for such a powerful and emotive EP!
3 songs to listen to: I Heard the Bells, This Christmas, Just Say Jesus
RIYL: Daughtry, Lifehouse, Kutless, Skillet, Seventh Day Slumber