Word Label Group
Release Date: November 9th 2018
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Christmas Is Here
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas
- How Glorious The Love Of Heaven
How does a side project of Christian rock band Pillar become one of today’s most impacting pop/CCM/worship new bands currently? That’s what I reckon Stars Go Dim is like right now- even bigger than Pillar and ready to take the world by storm. Fronted by lead singer Chris Cleveland, the quartet signed to Word Label Group, unveiled their self-titled debut in 2015 (spawning radio hits such as “You Are Loved”, “Walking Like Giants”, “Doxology” and “Stars”) and recently dropped the follow up sophomore release Better (comprising of the radio singles “Heaven On Earth” and “You Know Me Better”). Musically these guys are safe CCM, yet there’s still something about the passion and zeal as well as the poignant and emotional lyrics, that nonetheless captivates me, even if I know I should be indifferent. So…with Better being one of my favourite EP’s of the year thus far, it’s now time to take a squiz at Christmas Is Here, a 3 track EP that dropped to stores this past week. November may be a strange time to be getting into the Christmas spirit, however Chris and co. do a fantastic job here, as we are immersed in the reason for the season, and encouraged to live wholeheartedly for Christ, at all times this year.
The short but punchy track-list starts off with one of my favourite original Christmas songs in my recent memory, as Chris eloquently relays to us that he longs to go back to the time where people that celebrated Christmas actually knew what the holiday meant. In “Christmas Is Here”, Chris peels back the layers of his heart and becomes vulnerable beyond what I’ve heard in a long time, reiterating that ‘…I will sing joy to the world at the top of my lungs, born in a manger our saviour has come, from heaven to earth, hope is alive, the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is here…’. As Chris inspires us all to look deep inside of ourselves and ask whether we believe the true meaning of Christmas or not, this song is a must listen this year if we want to get back to the roots of Christmas- and that is Jesus Christ and celebrating His birth. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” follows, and is a piano led rendition of one of the most popular holiday themed carols (it’s nothing special, however nonetheless poignant and emotional, even though the tempo is a bit slow-ish!); while the last song is the worshipful “How Glorious The Love Of Heaven”. Hymn like in nature, the track is thematically and lyrically similar to carols like “Away In A Manger” and “Silent Night”, and as we sense the sheer urgency and vulnerability in Chris’s hopeful vocals, we are inspired to worship Jesus with all of our everything as well, because of the glorious love of heaven that He lavishes over us.
Chris Cleveland may not be a household name, and Stars Go Dim may not be a popular band right now. Will this Christmas release make Chris and the band more ‘famous’ than they are right now? I don’t think so, but it could; however I still reckon that that shouldn’t deter you from listening to this year’s most inspiring Christmas songs I have heard so far. From the Better EP it’s clear that Chris’s best work is ahead of him, but until such a time when we listen to the 3rd album from the group, let us bask in God’s glory while we sing about His love and mercy and goodness during the season of our Saviour’s birth. I mean, Christmas is indeed upon us, so let us sing that Christmas is here!
RIYL: David Dunn, Colton Dixon, Austin French, Building 429, Newsboys