Mini-Review: Rebecca St. James – Christmas

Rebecca St. James

Christmas

Label: Forefront Records

Release Date: October 7th 1997 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Sweet Little Jesus Boy
  2. Happy Christmas (War is Over)
  3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  4. One Small Child
  5. Silent Night
  6. O Holy Night
  7. What Child is This
  8. Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring
  9. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  10. A Cradle Prayer

Initial thoughts: Classic 1990s atmosphere- one of CCM’s most prolific and impactful female singer-songwriters launched her career in the mid 1990s, and by the time Christmas came around, Rebecca was 21. Though not an ingenious title, the album nevertheless has a great blend and mixture of carols, Christ-centred Christmas songs, and originals too.

Reason to listen: It’s Rebecca St. James. From the 1990s and 2000s, singer of ‘Wait for Me’ and ‘You are Loved’. Need I say more? Seriously, this album most definitely brings back nostalgia about one of my favourite female CCM artists of all time- one that I myself grew up with back in the day.

Reason to buy: See the paragraph above. Rebecca St. James, icon of CCM, giving to us a powerful 10 track album (albeit short), featuring her signature Aussie accented-voice, and reminding us that timeless carols like ‘O Holy Night’ can be recreated in a unique Aussie way, and be just as emotive and powerful back when it was released in 1997, as it can still be right now.

Reason to skip: Us Australians have a very distinct voice, and for Rebecca herself, this accent comes through a lot in her singing. If anyone isn’t a fan of Rebecca’s Australian accent, you may find it hard to get through this 10 track album.

No. of carols: 7

No. of originals: 3 – inclusive of a track by John Lennon, another by David Meece, and yet another by Rebecca herself

No of guest artists: none. But it is actually pretty common for Rebecca to sing songs by herself.

Does it have heart?: Just listen to the last song ‘A Cradle Prayer’ and you know what I mean- yes, it does have heart, and heart in the millions. Rebecca’s emotion always comes through in every song she sings, and this is definitely true in this Christmas album- ‘A Cradle Prayer’ is by far one of my favourite originally written Christmas songs over the last 20 years or so.

Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: It’s a Christmas album. It’s the 1990s. There’s a distinct sound that it is trademarked by the 1990s decade, and Rebecca’s album has a lot of it. It is a reminder of how old this album really is, but also how good it is as well. A reminder that albums don’t necessarily have to be new for them to be emotive, heartfelt and poignant.

Uniqueness?: Definitely unique- most, if not all of the Carols are reworked musically from their typical standard reflective music mode, to the pop-EDM structure here on Christmas. Which is a different change, but nevertheless a welcomed one!

Christmas message: Christ is preached here; and preached in abundance. Aside from the John Lennon cover of ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’, every other song speaks about Jesus’s birth and the importance of the season, in some way, shape or form. Reminds us all of the current and active faith of Rebecca herself, and also reminding us of the real reason why Christmas is celebrated- and it’s more than just giving each other presents.

Closing thoughts: If you are a fan of Rebecca’s music in both the 1990s and the 2000s, then this album is for you. If you love 1990s music, or Christmas music, this album is also for you. If you want to revisit your childhood, and be reminded of nostalgia, then this album is also good for you. In effect, Rebecca’s album is a classic, and should be listened to, pronto!

3 songs to listen to: A Cradle Prayer, War is Over, O Holy Night

Overall rating: 4/5

Yes/no; why/why not?: Yes, a great way to spend Christmas 2020- around the tree, listening to music from 20-something years ago, and being reminded that music back then is just as great as music now. Can’t get better than that!

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