Release Date: November 17th 2023
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Light Has Come
- Silent Night
- Ave (King Of Kings)
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
One of the recent signings to Integrity Music within the past few years, Nashville based Catholic worship leader Sarah Kroger quietly made a name for herself in the worship market with the soothing, contemplative and reflective debut album Bloom, released in 2019. With these tracks being introspective and ballad-y in nature, we were presented with lullaby-ish melodies that we intended to review for the site, but didn’t for one reason or another. In 2020, Sarah unveiled Light, which Jon reviewed, and now, Sarah is back with her Christmas EP Light Has Come.
I’ve briefly listened to Bloom in 2019, and I didn’t listen much to Light in 2020. But from what I could tell, Bloom was thought-provoking, comforting and confronting- all at the same time. And Light was a big departure musically for Sarah. I reckon that lead single “Standing In Your Light”, though lyrically cliché at times, is equally as thought-provoking, comforting and confronting, as we are presented with the simple yet ever-true notion that ‘…there is no fear when I am standing in Your light, made me a promise, You are always by my side, my hands are lifted to the One who changed my life, I’m only free when I am standing in Your light…’. Musically there’s dance, pop and EDM present for the Sunday morning worship enthusiast; but for fans of Bloom, you may be shocked and surprised and may completely shun Sarah now for ‘selling out’. Yet my advice for those listeners would be to just simply listen to Bloom and perhaps open your mind to where good music can come from, because every good thing Jon mentioned about Light, I wholeheartedly agree with. Artists may evolve with their music genres, or even experiment with other genres before returning to their roots- however I reckon 9 times out of 10, their convictions, values, morals and beliefs never waver, and Sarah’s convictions are with Jesus.
This Christmas EP is an odd one. Is it a filler release to tie us over until a full length Christmas album? Is it just a label thing that they wanted to do but Sarah didn’t? During the holidays, and especially with more and more artist vying for my attention and more artists being creative at their renditions of holiday songs and worshipful carols; you have to be at the top of your game in this genre. And unfortunately, Light Has Gome pales in comparison to anything I’ve heard this year. The original songs are alright- the title track is as worshipful as ever, but it is a worship song and apart from a few phrases about Jesus being born in Bethlehem, you could sing it at all times of the year in a Sunday morning service, and it would fit right in. It’s not a Christmas song at all. in fact, shall Passion or Hillsong re-record this and call it their own? It does have that corporate worship feel… “ave (King Of Kings)” is as great a worship song as ever, with the melody co-written with Matt Maher and Nick Herbet- a standout worship song in 2023. Again, it could be sung in churches everywhere at any time and no one would bat an eyelid. And as for the other two songs, well, “Silent Night”, the most overplayed carol, is underwhelming and completely forgettable, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is musically inventive because it’s turned into a jazzy laid-back melody… but it’s still overplayed as a holiday song, and is still nondescript and just ‘meh’.
There’s nothing more that I need to say about Sarah Kroger’s Christmas EP Light Has Come. I’m a lover of all things Christmas, so even though this EP is frustrating, I can understand the heart behind it, and I’m actually eagerly anticipating when a full length Christmas album is coming. So as we wait for Sarah’s next album, let us revel in His presence by jamming out to Sarah’s radio friendly album Light and her Christmas project Light Has Come. Well done Sarah, it’s not my favourite Christmas release, but hopefully I can gain much more appreciation for it with repeat listens. I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for you next!
RIYL: Francesa Battistelli, TobyMac, Matthew West, Building 429, Love & The Outcome, I Am They