Release Date: December 7th 2018
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Unto Us A Child Is Born
- Christmas Together With You
- The Christmas Song
- God With Us (Emmanuel)
- O Holy Night
Have you ever heard an album that has blown you away in a crazily good way, so much so that it gives you goosebumps? That is the case with the latest Christmas album Glorious by Cindy Cruse Ratcliff that I’m going to briefly voice my opinion on. Now…I know what you’re thinking. Yes, indeed, we are not that much of an avid fan of Cindy’s music- in fact the only album we ever reviewed was her last studio album in 2014 (and that was by Jon– not myself!). And also true is the fact that we’ve reviewed plenty of Christmas albums this year- heaps more than last year or the year before- so why should I as a listener even bother with this one? Well, if I has that mentality, I’d be missing out on some beautifully recorded and powerfully sung Christmas melodies- and ones that glorify Jesus also- and though there may be a glut of Christmas albums releasing this year that could be considered as overkill, Cindy’s EP isn’t one of those albums that are lost in the shuffle. Yes, I’m not that familiar with her music, yet as Cindy majestically sings out praises to God and delivers compelling and worshipful renditions of carols, I don’t think it matters. If anything, this project has encouraged me to check out the rest of her discography!
The 1 minute stirring strings led intro “Unto Us A Child Is Born” opens the anthemic, big and booming EP, which is heaps short, yet otherwise a solid start- of which the ‘real’ opener “Glorious” seemingly segues from. My personal favourite melody on the EP, Cindy places on her Laura Story hat vocally, as we are blessed to hear an original Christmas worship song that is sure to be on my iTunes playlist for a long time yet- and not just annually around December time. This melody in my opinion, is deserving to be listened at all times of the year; and as Cindy ardently relays to us that Jesus is glorious and deserving to be praised, we are given an opportunity to marvel at what a brilliant worship leader Cindy is. The strings and piano led acoustic prominent “Christmas Together With You” is next, and though a low-point, as Cindy is vague as to who the ‘you’ is, when reiterating that Christmas with ‘you’ is the best (it could be her husband or her children!); the track is nevertheless catchy, hopeful and inspiring to all who listen- as it shows us that the meaning of Christmas is diluted further and further if you celebrate alone- it’s better to celebrate Jesus with people, and even if they don’t share your beliefs, the holiday can still be meaningful if we’re not like Scrooge or The Grinch.
One of the most iconic and famous Christmas melodies is next, with Cindy ambitiously covering Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song”, which is quite solid, yet nothing really can compare to the original (or even the Newsboys’ version, given that Michael Tait and Nat sound eerily similar!); while we are also honoured to hear another original melody in “God With Us (Emmanuel)”, which I reckon is probably more fitting to sing during Easter time…that is until Cindy gives us a total surprise and includes a few refrains of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” near the end of the melody- it is essentially a medley, which is cleverly recorded. While the final track “O Holy Night” is one of my favourite carols ever- and Cindy doesn’t fail to disappoint; there’s not really anything I can say about this track, except listen to it, and be amazed at the power of Jesus permeating through the song.
As a Christmas release, Cindy Cruse Ratcliff’s Glorious stands tall amongst other albums this year from artists like Matt Maher (The Advent Of Christmas), Marc Martel (Christmastime Is Here) and KJ-52 (Mostest Wonderfullest Time Of The Year), and is a must listen if you are fans of Christmas music with a worship spin. With Cindy not showing signs of slowing down nor retiring, sky’s the limit for this passionate worship leader and woman of God; so let us be blessed by this project, and then pass this project along to any and all who will listen. Because if I’m blessed by it and you are, chances are that others will be as well!
3 songs to listen to: Glorious, God With Us, O Holy Night
RIYL: Laura Story, Avalon, Francesca Battistelli, Amy Grant, Meredith Andrews, Natalie Grant, Roma Waterman