Word Label Group
Release Date: November 12th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- More The Merrier
- Holly Jolly Christmas
- Winter Wonderland (feat. Clark Beckham)
- My Favorite Things
- Go Tell It On The Mountain
- Snow Globe
- The Greatest Gift
There have been quite a lot of posts on our site about Sarah Reeves. All throughout 2017 and 2018, Sarah released singles periodically, culminating in a full-length album release called Easy Never Needed You. And as Sarah released songs maybe about a month apart, we reviewed each song, as we never knew if a full-length album would materialise. I think in that time Jon posted 10 reviews about Sarah Reeves. Each of them comprising of a similar introduction and each of them delving deep into who Sarah is as a person and as a woman of God. Sarah also released her latest all-original studio album Life Love & Madness last year as well (which you can read right here!), and so I guess it stands to reason right now, that as Sarah has recently released her brand new album Christmas album More The Merrier to the general public, that there doesn’t need to be much rehashing of old reviews. If you want, you can read about Sarah Reeves right here and Jon’s review of Easy Never Needed You here…and now that you’re all caught up, let’s dive into More The Merrier and see how this project compares to other Christmas albums this year- namely albums from Pentatonix, Matthew West, and Zach Williams.
More The Merrier is quite possibly my favorite project of my career thus far. It is a timeless collection of Christmas songs, both old and new, that I hope you enjoy listening to as much as we enjoyed making it. I tapped into a side of my artistry that I’ve never known before, yet it felt natural and effortless. The energy in the studio was electric as we brought jazz musicians in to bring these songs to life. I hope you feel the magic, the joy, and a touch of nostalgia and warmth this holiday season as you fill your home with these Christmas carols.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier Christmas reviews, with Christmas projects, you have the usual annual or bi-annual Pentatonix Christmas album where carols, holiday songs, originals and obscure melodies are sung acapella quite beautifully, and then you have the worshipful Chris Tomlin album whereby every carol receives an added chorus even if there is no need. And everything else in between. This year we all need probably a bit more inspiration than previous years, what with the Omicron variant raging about… and so, more and more artists are encouraging us and inspiring us through their Christmas music. And this brings me to Sarah’s effort More The Merrier. It’s an offering slotting somewhere between the two extremes of Christmas music thematically and lyrically; and reminds us of the reason for the season, yet still offers the non-believer something to hold onto. The album opener and title track opens proceeding; with the original melody being a jazz inspired piano led tune, whereby Sarah earnestly and vibrantly relays her favourite memories of Christmas, singing out that ‘…popcorn’s popping, snow ain’t stopping, singing carols, playing games, turkey’s roasting, chestnuts toasting, pumpkin pie’s calling my name, light up the tree, it’s Christmas Eve, don’t mind the stormy weather, ‘causе the bigger the better, when we’re all together, the more the merrier…’. It’s a beautifully sung and skilfully recorded original song, and one that is personal to how Sarah celebrates her own Christmas every year, as we are reminded that spending time with family during Christmas time is time well spent and invaluable; while “Holly Jolly Christmas” is a piano led holiday melody that is sure to a bring a smile to anyone who listens, even those with a hardened heart. I’m usually not a fan of ‘Christmas songs not about Jesus’, but Sarah makes this track work; as she does also for “Winter Wonderland” with Clark Beckham, a slower-paced version of an already popular holiday classic. The extremely Christmas-y (with bells and whistles and everything else!) Sound Of Music iconic classic “My Favorite Things” is a melody that is hands down one of my favourite songs from this jazzy, pulsating and powerful release; while Sarah also impresses and excites with the gospel flavoured and big-band inspired “Go Tell It On The Mountain”, complete with an added all-original chorus.
Original Christmas songs are a tad complicated overall- you’re trying to record something new that the fans will love and appreciate and latch onto, but still keeping in the same theme of Christmas and the overall feel of the album you’re trying to release. Thankfully, all of Sarah’s original material, inclusive of the title track (in which I’ve already written about!), she inspires, comforts and heals, and brings forth the true meaning of Christmas. “Sentimental”, a piano prominent reflective ballad speaks about the family aspect of Christmas, with Sarah relaying that she becomes sentimental and reflective about the real reason for Christmas, that ‘…the kids are upstairs trying to sleep, their hearts must be full of too many dreams, and when I see how they believe it really does something to me, I just get sentimental…’; while Sarah speaks about living each moment and capturing the best moments ‘in a snow globe’ in the majestic and serene “Snow Globe”. More The Merrier then ends with the heart-warming and worshipful “The Greatest Gift”. It’s a song that subtly alludes to Jesus’ birth being the greatest gift of all, and though I would have liked Sarah to be more explicit and overt in her lyrical content- the fact is that the gospel is still preached here, and it’s extremely admirable and commendable.
With More The Merrier having not that much connection to Jesus and His birth, and with Sarah Reeves being marketed as a Christian singer; some could say that Sarah has fallen away. I know that Sarah hasn’t left the faith (because of her recent songs on the latest Belonging Co. worship album!), but while I was listening to Life Love & Madness last year, I’ve noticed from YouTube comments that while some listeners love her music, others were worried for her faith and are concerned that she may have been falling away. Yet they weren’t doing it in a loving way- and are spouting our Bible verses, thinking that will ‘wake her up’. However I believe it isn’t our job to judge the hearts of those we don’t know. Personally, would it be nice if she sang ‘Christian’ music again? Yeah, it would actually. But I’m not going to crucify someone and what they sing about simply because it doesn’t match up and align with what I originally envisioned. Is More The Merrier inspiring and thought-provoking? Yes, it is. Do I wish it had more ‘worshipful’ Christmas songs? Of course I do. But God is still working, and Sarah’s music does have a place in society, no matter how it looks like. Whatever the case, let us remember that we’re all work in progresses, and that God is shaping each of our hearts everyday to be more like Him. Let us remember this when listening to More The Merrier. And when we do, I am positive that God will speak in this album. Yep, you better believe it! Well done Sarah, I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for you next!
3 songs to listen to: More The Merrier, Sentimental, The Greatest Gift
RIYL: Rachel Platten, Carly Rae Jepsen, Tori Kelly, Britt Nicole, Ellie Goulding, Selena Gomez, Hailee Steinfeld, Jamie Grace