Release Date: November 6th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- The Christmas Waltz (feat. Amy Grant)
- White Christmas
- Thank God It’s Christmas
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas
- Light Of The World
- I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
Every knows Marc Martel as ‘that guy’. The guy who sounds like Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Maybe not everyone knows him- but if I direct you to this clip of Marc’s audition for the Queen tribute band in 2011; would you know him now? I wrote a blog about Marc earlier this year, so if you want to know more about Marc, then you can read about it in the blog. But let me tell you- while the world may know Marc for him uncanny and eerie resemblance to on of the most unique voices in music history- I reckon where Marc has shined the most, not just vocally but also in line with his personal beliefs, is in his Christmas albums. Sure the Queen stuff is great and nostalgic, but when it all boils down to it, Marc is a devoted Christian, with his mission being first and foremost to make Jesus’ name famous in whatever sphere of influence he is in. With Marc having released 3 Christmas EP’s culminating in a release called The Christmas Collection last year, one could roll their eyes at the discovery of Marc being so devout a believer that he had to release 21 Christmas songs packaged together in one album- isn’t that overkill you might ask? Well actually I for one though love Christmas music, and would listen to holiday tunes all year long if I could; and even in Marc’s Christmas songs we hear a wide variety of musical genres. And now that I’ve got that disclaimer out of the way, let me say that Marc is a busy, busy guy- even in the pandemic; as he dropped his brand new Christmas EP Thank God It’s Christmas a few weeks ago. Some might say that more Christmas songs from Marc isn’t that exciting anymore… but let me say that Thank God It’s Christmas is extremely fitting and much needed here this year, as we all rediscover the reason for the season.
“The Christmas Waltz”, originally by Frank Sinatra, is a very obscure ‘carol’ to be covering, however this stirring duet with iconic CCM legend Amy Grant, is the perfect opener, as Marc ‘prays’ a blessing over us all, wishing us all Merry Christmas even as some of us are feeling very un-Christmasy. “White Christmas” is a fun track to listen to, and personally rivals Michael Buble’s version, while the title track is a rocking nostalgic ode to Queen- as Marc channels Freddie (when does he not?) and delivers one of the most inspiring and thought-provoking Christmas songs in recent memory. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” has bee recorded to death unfortunately, as renditions from Martina McBride, Lea Michele, Lady A, Kelly Clarkson, Hunter Hayes, Jaci Velasquez, MercyMe, Blake Shelton and BarlowGirl have all graced our ears throughout the years, although Marc delivers a solid, though not that unique, version; while the EP closer is “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”- which is an obscure but hopeful and inspiring carol… although I would’ve preferred Marc recording Casting Crowns’ version of the song. Yet it is Marc’s cover of Lauren Daigle’s original “Light Of The World”, which is my personal favourite here, as a simple yet profound worship song is sung with raw emotion and earnest hopefulness. With Marc ardently relaying that Jesus is indeed the Light of the World, we are reminded of the true meaning of the season, and we are challenged to remember why we celebrate Christmas, and are challenged to pause and reflect upon one of the most important events in human history.
With Marc Martel becoming his own person musically after splitting from Downhere and recording his new solo material, Thank God It’s Christmas is a fitting and well-timed reminder of Jesus’ coming to earth and saving us all from ourselves. This Christmas (and also this year while we’re all feeling reflective and introspective at home), instead of the hustle and the bustle, let us sit and reflect on what Jesus has done for us- and Marc’s EP is a great first step in getting us on the contemplative mood. Well done Marc, your latest Christmas project is top notch, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in 2020 and 2021. Maybe I will check out the rest of Marc’s solo discography… don’t you all think that’s a genius idea?
3 songs to listen to: White Christmas, Thank God It’s Christmas, Light Of The World
RIYL: Queen, David Bowie, The Beatles, dc Talk, Jars Of Clay, ACDC, Needtobreathe, Kevin Max, Rich Mullins