STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 11839-18839 LABEL: Reunion 602341009126 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Sometimes Christmas marketing is easy. Take two catalogue albums from one of CCM's most enduring talents, 1989's 'Christmas' and 1998's 'Christmastime'. Put them in a slipcase. And watch as Christian bookstores ring up new sales by the tens of thousands. But what about the music? In truth, Michael's two Christmas efforts are veritable curates' eggs. On 'Christmas' the classical influences on some of the orchestrations work well with Michael's elegant piano, the heavenly appearances of the boys choir and an intriguing selection of ancient and modern material, all engaging the listener. At times though Ronn Huff's arrangements are overblown and Michael's singing swamped in saccharine embellishment. The same can be said of some tracks on 'Christmastime' with the CCM star adding nothing new in the carol medleys while his duet with Sandi Patty on "Christmas Waltz" is pure cornball. If that's bad, Michael's grotesque rendition of "Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells" will quickly make discerning music buffs rush from the room. But there are a few classical-influenced moments to enjoy. All in all, neither album really shows off the gifted singer/songwriter in a very favourable light.
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For the very first time two of Michael W Smith's classic Christmas albums are available together in this excellent value double CD set.
'Christmas', his first album, features beautiful original songs like 'Christ the Messiah' along with traditional favourites like 'Silent night' and 'O come all ye faithful'.
On 'Christmastime', Michael re-creates timeless Christmas carols and songs accompanied by the London Symphony and top class musicians.
A superb collection of Christmas music.