STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 118117-18737 LABEL: EMI Christian Music Group 5099909576520 FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2011-10-03 RRP: £4.00
Reviewed by Stella Redburn
It's hard to make a Christmas album that makes much impact but the best selling singer/songwriter from Nashville has succeeded with this one. Of the 12 tracks Matthew has written seven himself and they are all strong, catchy songs which balance perfectly the five remaining tracks which are classic Christmas repertoire. Matthew says, "I wanted it to be a fun record," and it certainly is! Right from the opening notes of the opening number "Come On, Christmas" we are swept along with the good-time feel. Matthew has learnt his lessons well from decades of popular music and this song contains all the ingredients of a regular Christmas pop anthem. The third track is the title track and is, in fact, the heart of the album: a beautiful new carol with relevant words and a decent tune. I liked the sentiment of "Give This Christmas Away", which he did with Amy Grant for last year's Christmas VeggieTales release. "Leaving Heaven" is a more serious number in which he duets with country star Vince Gill. He also duets with American Idol star Mandisa in the song "Christmas Makes Me Cry". "One Last Christmas" is a real tear-jerker, inspired by the true story of the Locke family in central Illinois and the local community who decorated their town early for a terminally ill little boy. The traditional songs are good, too. I loved the swinging, brassed-up version of "Jingle Bells" and it's nice to hear "O Holy Night" brought to a very convincing climax. Matthew has a strong but flexible voice that works well in these up-beat arrangements and I recommend this for a Christmas album that's a bit different.
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Matthew West returns with his first-ever Christmas album, The Heart of Christmas. Even though this is Matthew’s first Christmas album, several of these songs have already received significant airplay on Christian radio, including One Last Christmas, Give This Christmas Away and Christmas Makes Me Cry.
Includes the new single Heart of Christmas and several other new songs, and traditional Christmas favourites such as Silent Night, Away In A Manger and Jingle Bells.