Mini-Review: Phil Wickham – Songs For Christmas

Phil Wickham

Songs For Christmas

Label: Fair Trade Services

Release Date: October 28th 2010 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Prelude
  2. The First Noel
  3. Silent Night
  4. O Come O Come Emmanuel
  5. O Holy Night
  6. Christmas Time
  7. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  8. The Little Drummer Boy
  9. Evermore
  10. O Come All Ye Faithful

Initial thoughts: One of the most emotive, vulnerable and honest singer/songwrtiers ever in my opinion, Phil wears his heart on his sleeve on this vibrant, eclectic and engaging Christmas album,. Though not as flash or grandiose as other Christmas albums what Phil lacks in bigness, he makes up for in realness!

Reason to listen: It’s Phil Wickham, one of today’s most inspiring worship leaders! Is there any more reason to listen? Seriously, if the guy who gave us hit songs like “This Is Amazing Grace”, “Your Love Awakens Me”, “Living Hope”, “Great Things” and “Till I Found You” released a Christmas album- you all better pay attention! This is solid gold right here!

Reason to buy: Though reflective and contemplative, Phil’s debut Christmas album is lyrically very profound and biblically very sound. If you want to hear the Christmas story told right, and Jesus’ birth actually being sung about- then Phil’s album is a great addition to your collection. Plus, it’s a toe-tapper when you are wrapping presents for family!

Reason to skip: Seriously, you’re going to sleep on Phil Wickham? No. Just no. no skipping or sleeping. Phil’s too good to be ignored!

No. of carols: 7

No. of originals: 2 (or 3 if you include the 1 minute instrumental prelude!)

No of guest artists: None. Phil’s powerful and explosive voice is engaging and moving all throughout though!

Does it have heart?: Heart, this Christmas album has. Passion, this Christmas album has. A deep sense of faith in Jesus, Phil Wickham has. And now I’ll stop talking like Yoda and stop making a fool of myself!

Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: Sort of. More of a worshipful atmosphere here- but that shouldn’t detract you from listening to this near-flawless masterpiece!

Uniqueness?: No, not really. As I said before, this album sounds like a worship album from Chris Tomlin or Matt Redman. However Phil’s crazily good voice as well as the ratio of biblical Christmas songs to other holiday songs, means that this album needs to be explored in any way possible!

Christmas message: The only ‘holiday’ song is the overplayed “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”- so this album is almost like the reverse of most mainstream Christmas albums- a nice change of pace indeed!

Closing thoughts: My respect for Phil has shot through the roof here- he could have released a poppy Christmas album with a lot of ‘holiday’ songs. But he didn’t. he stuck to his beliefs and his faith- and that’s what makes this project, amongst other Christmas projects from Casting Crowns and Matthew West to name a few, a cut above the rest of the Christmas albums like Bublé etc.

3 songs to listen to: O Come o Come Emmanuel, Christmas Time, Evermore

Overall rating: 5/5

Yes/no; why/why not?: Yes, yes, and yes! I’ve listened my reasons all throughout in this ‘review’… so read them again, and then see if this question here has been asked. Not much more needed to do except to listen to this masterpiece and work of art, don’t you reckon?

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