Warner Music Nashville
Release Date: October 22nd 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
- Merry Christmas Baby
- Jingle Bells
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
- Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Cool Yule
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
- Feels Like Christmas
- O Come All Ye Faithful
With 2021 coming to a quick end, how do we reconcile the fact that we can and should be celebrating Jesus’ birth, with the fact that the years of 2020 and 2021 have been an absolute dumpster fire? How do we reconcile the fact that God is inherently good with everything wrong that has been going on in the world, inclusive of COVID-19? Well, it is of my opinion that sometimes, intentionally spending time with those you love and those you respect you, makes all the difference; and sometimes listening to an uplifting album and an inspiring album can change your perspective on life for the better. While we as a site have reviewed Christmas albums and EP’s this year from Pentatonix, We The Kingdom, Tasha Layton, Matthew West, Kristin Chenoweth and Zach Williams to name a few (and all have been comforting, healing, inspiring, powerful, honest and hopeful); there still seems to be no shortage of inspiring Christmas albums this year, and maybe if we listen to more hopeful Christmas albums, that will surely cement your belief and faith in people despite how the last few years have panned out, don’t you think? Country artist Brett Eldredge, of whom I have never listened to an album before, released his latest album Mr. Christmas in October this year… and because it was a Christmas album and I’m in the Christmas music listening mood… I decided that I could listen to and voice my thoughts on this album because, why not? It’s an album about Jesus and His birth, and it’s also a country album. And if you know anything about this site and the country albums we review, then I guess you know that we’re all somewhat well versed in country albums. Country and Christmas mashed up? Is this the best of both worlds? Will Mr. Christmas encourage and reaffirm the goodness in this world despite the emptiness and heartache we’ve all felt the past couple of years? Short answer: yes, this album is poignant and a blessing for us to hear. Long answer: well let’s dive in to find out, shall we?
Mr. Christmas is something that I’ve been planning out for quite a while. This album is so much fun and full of joy and magic. From the album cover, you can find the magic of Mr. Christmas standing in the windowfront, looking out just like the old stores on the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City and people passing by in the window. We captured that nostalgic, classic feel that Christmas brings and mixed it with the soulful side of my music influences. It’s got a lot of heart and magic–it’s a special one for people to hear.
Plainly put, Mr. Christmas is a traditional album (that isn’t country at all, but rather jazz, and Brett’s awfully uncanny and eerily similar attempt at a Michael Buble Christmas album!), that focuses on the birth of Jesus and the joy we have when we know that He was born to give us life and life abundant. Together with some traditional holiday tunes, Brett delivers carols to perfection, and inspires us all to the max. You can read about Brett on Wikipedia here, and as such, perhaps you can be encouraged and inspired. But let me tell you, one listen from Mr. Christmas, and I’m sure you’ll be a Brett Eldredge fan! I know I am intrigued at Brett’s previous albums! Opening track “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” is synonymous with Christmas and is featured in many Christmas movie soundtracks. On this rendition though, Brett channels his inner Buble and delivers a cover for the ages. A melody that is bright, bubbly, joyful and optimistic, there are trumpets and saxophones abound- and this track is perfect as an opener while we are presented with a happy-go-lucky anthem for the season. Original track “Mr. Christmas”, the title track, is next, and is another carbon copy of a Buble track (in the best way possible). As Brett’s silky, comforting and passionate vocals reminds his partner or lover or significant other or even friend, that he can be reliable and loyal; he implores the listener to ‘…call me Mr. Christmas, I’ll make your spirit bright, I’ll dry your eyes with candy skies, and warm sherry delight with highfalutin parties, that last all through the night, yeah, every wish will come true, yeah, I’ll be Mr. Christmas for you…’, and encourages us all to care for someone this Christmas and to be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone this Christmas.
The rest of the album carries on with the concept of ‘Mr. Christmas’ and speaks about actively going out of our way this year to make people feel good and give people joy and hope. “Merry Christmas Baby”, an obscure holiday song, brings a smile to my face as Brett sings across trumpets and saxophone about the love he has for his partner or lover; while “Jingle Bells” is just a fun, fun song to listen to. Even if we know that Santa Claus isn’t real, this song still is fun, and gets us dancing and our toes tapping. Brett also covers “Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”- two songs that are ‘anti-Christmas’ by being explicitly about Santa Claus, however, the subtlety of the topic of Jesus is being shown here on display as well- the topic of Christmas will come up at the dinner table, as well as its true meaning, and as such any song that brings people closer to Jesus- inclusive of the outwardly holiday ones- is a good thing indeed. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, one of the more rare but still poignant and inspiring Christmas carols, is featured on this album as well, and though I myself love the version of this carol by Pentatonix, Brett nonetheless still delivers a version which resonates and impacts, as the mid-tempo, brass instruments-led melody celebrates the notion of Jesus Christ being the source of all of our happiness, contentment and our comfort and joy. As we remember that Jesus Christ was born on Christmas to save us all from our sin, let us all sit in that freedom and walk in the assurance that Jesus is with us and will never leave us.
Unfortunately, possibly the only downside to this album is “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”. It’s lullaby-ish, dreary and unimaginative, and frankly I prefer Casting Crowns’ more upbeat, modern, worshipful version. Thankfully, Brett redeems himself in “Cool Yule”, a Louis Armstrong cover and a melody about having a good time during the holidays because ‘…he’ll come a callin’ when the snows the most, when all your cats are sleepin’ warm as toast, and you gonna flip when Old Saint Nick takes a lick on the peppermint stick, he’ll come a flyin’ from a higher place, and fill the stocking by the fireplace, so you’ll, have a yule that’s cool…’; while “Feels Like Christmas”, another original melody, speaks about spending time with a special someone during the holidays. Mr. Christmas then ends with the worshipful “O Come All Ye Faithful”, and although this rendition doesn’t reinvent the wheel musically, and isn’t as catchy as Pentatonix’s version– which is my favourite version; Jesus’ name is still being praised in this rendition, and that definitely is a good thing.
Getting to take ‘Glow Live’ on the road again after unfortunately having to miss it last year gives me so much joy, especially knowing that this tour and this music could bring a lot of joy to a lot of people that need it right now. My hope is that attending these shows with friends and family can be a tradition people look forward to every year for many years to come. I cannot wait to get back out there because performing these songs makes me so happy and I just hope to share that feeling with everyone in the audience as well.
Brett Eldredge’s Mr. Christmas isn’t the most perfect Christmas album. That award would have to be any Christmas album from Pentatonix, or Lincoln Brewster’s Joy To The World. However, this album is still poignant, positive, hopeful, comforting and inspiring, and hopefully will be part of the reason why people move away from listening excessively to Michael Buble’s Christmas this year and every year after. In all seriousness though, Mr. Christmas isn’t revolutionary. But it does speak about the gospel, and it does talk about family and friendship. It’s probably not for people who hate jazz, but the versions here are pretty seamless, and there are a few obscure gems. Brett isn’t your household name, but this album hopefully will put his name further in the spotlight. Well done Brett, I can’t wait to hear what is next from you!
3 songs to listen to: Mr. Christmas, Cool Yule, Feels Like Christmas
RIYL: Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Carly Pearce, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Luke Combs