Release Date: October 23rd 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Good News
- Feliz Navidad
- Christmas Everyday
Unspoken have had a feel-good story throughout the years. From the very surreal and poignant way that lead singer Chad became a Christian to the very unique way they’ve thrived in the CCM industry by adopting a very un-CCM-like sound; these guys are one of my favourite CCM bands of the modern era. While I myself haven’t reviewed any album of theirs (you can read Jon’s reviews of Reason and Follow Through in your own time!), this doesn’t mean that I wasn’t blessed by their music. perhaps it means that Jon was blessed more-so. Anyway, it’s December, so ‘tis the season, am I right? And now with us all trying to grasp a bit of normalcy this side of 2020 and believe in the power of miracles; Unspoken has tried their hand at the tried-and-true genre of Christmas music as well. It’s not a grandiose project spanning 20 songs or something like that (although that could happen in the future!), but rather a short but impactful EP called Good News. And what say I, about this collection of familiar yet unfamiliar tunes? Well if we look past the fact that two of these songs have been released already… then I’d say Unspoken have done a solid job.
I’ll admit, this EP isn’t spectacular. But if it’s a precursor to a full-length Christmas album in the future, then it does what I hope it set out to do, and that is the whet our appetites. Unspoken are a pretty musically unique band, and one that you shouldn’t sleep on ever, despite what you may believe about Christianity; and this shows immensely in these 3 heartfelt tracks. The newly-recorded title track begins proceedings, and is a jazzy powerful melody, in which Chad proclaims that it is good news that Jesus is born, and that we ought to praise Him simply because of this fact. With a simple concept, the song probably isn’t the most lyrically inventive, however the melody still rings true and still is moving and inspiring enough- and the name dropping of songs like “Joy to The World”, “O holy Night” and “A Baby Changes Everything” is creative to say the least. “Feliz Navidad”, translated to “Merry Christmas” in Spanish, features an entire brand new 2 verses written by Unspoken, in an attempt to spiritualise and ‘Christian-ise’ the song (which sounds extremely cringy or like a masterstroke, depending on your viewpoint of Christian music in general); while the pinnacle of the EP is the closer “Christmas Everyday”. I wrote a blog about that song the other year, about how we as people act kind on one day, and selfish the other 364. And so now let me just quote that now… because how could I ever think of something else to say about this powerful melody that what I’ve already written?
Something happens around Christmas time. As the year draws to a close, and December 25th comes rolling around (it actually has rolled around- in fact as I write this, it’s now December 28th…), we, either as Christians or those who observe Christmas not because of the faith aspect but because of the family one; start to become more generous. Have you noticed it? We start shopping and act a little kinder to strangers. We help more at the grocery store. We are more courteous and polite, more emotive and empathetic, more encouraging and reassuring. We say the words ‘merry Christmas’ to our fellow man (do we really mean the words though? But that is reserved for another post entirely!), and during the December period, we aim to at least maybe support one charity, go the church more often, try to detach ourselves from social media, and maybe, just maybe, love our enemies a bit more. But what happens once the year ends and we’re faced with New Year’s Day the next year?
I reckon people are more habitual than they themselves think. I know, it may be me jumping the gun a bit, and being over presumptuous and stereotypical, but I think that when it all comes down to it, do we really stop and think about what Jesus has done for us this Christmas and every Christmas. The reason why we all can celebrate the holiday and live in the freedom and knowledge that we have eternal life, is because of Jesus coming the Earth in a manger, and living life as a human, up until the age of 33 where He began His ministry, embarking on the journey that ultimately resulted in His death and resurrection, saving us all from our sin and reuniting us with God our Father and Saviour. When everything is stripped away, we ought to realise that Christmas is a holiday that needs to be celebrated to the full, and with reverence to our Creator. When we each look within ourselves, can we say with 100% certainty that we acknowledge this fact on December 25th more than we currently do?
If I were to ask you to describe your Christmas and what you normally do, then maybe I’d receive a half an hour in depth description about which type of turkey each family member enjoys the most, or about which present gets reused over and over the years despite no family member actually enjoying it. Or which carols you and your family would like to sing the most. Simply put, everyone’s Christmas celebrations are different. But what probably stays constant, and is something people across all faiths I reckon agree with, is that innate desire to spend Christmas with family, and the notion that we can be a better person than we are right now. It’s as if Christmas is a time where we mostly do become better versions of ourselves, but after New Year’s Day, the ‘good’ inside us becomes dormant again. At least until 364 days later, when it’s Christmas again… Why is that so?
Rather than rip into society for being chameleons and acting one way during the most special holiday of the year, and like another during the other days of the year, I will just leave you with…songs that speak about the season and living our life in accordance to the belief that Jesus was born for us and died for us for every day of our life, not just the days in December…so I would encourage you to listen to these tracks, and see what God wants you to do for the year ahead. Is it really to act like Scrooge and count money? Be insular and only give to our neighbours and those in need only when it suits us? Or is it to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone around us no matter the day or time of the year? Something to ponder about as we come to the end of 2016.
Unspoken are a band of hope, encouragement, and inspiration- and that’s exactly what they have delivered here on this EP. Sure, it’s only 3 songs, and sure you’re familiar with these songs… but does that discount their value and meaning? No, not by a long shot. So as we sit and wait for the next project from Unspoken– maybe a full-length Christmas project! – let us sit back and act like Chad has proclaimed in the song… like it’s Christmas every day! Well done guys, I can’t wait to hear what’s next for you all!
RIYL: Salvador, Shawn McDonald, Dara Maclean, Jimmy Needham, newworldson