STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 115056-18840 LABEL: Fair Trade Services 000768498927 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2011-10-04 RRP: £7.99
Reviewed by Brendan O'Regan
This comes close to being the perfect Christmas album, at least for my musical tastes. The fine singing is confident and committed, with the instrumentation entirely complementary. For familiar songs like "Silent Night" and "The First Noel" the arrangements strike the right balance between traditional and modern - no gimmicks, respectful but with a sensibility that will appeal to those who like a contemporary feel to their Christmas music. Just listen to the introduction to "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" for a taster. I like my Christmas albums to introduce some new music and I wasn't disappointed here - Wickham's originals "Christmas Time" and "Evermore" are welcome additions to the canon of worthy Christmas music - the latter being the standout track for me. I'm not a great fan of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" but Wickham delivers it well, creating a sense of intimacy helped in no small way by the subtle guitar accompaniment. The final track "O Come All Ye Faithful" achieves the same effect, with a child reading a brief meditation and heavenly harmonies. He obviously believes he has a message worth hearing as all the lyrics are crystal clear, though I would have liked a lyric sheet included, at least for the new songs. It has to be said though that the album's cover art is beautiful.
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Fan favourite Phil Wickham brings ten lushly-produced Christmas classics such as Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, The First Noel and O Holy Night, along with newer originals such as Christmas Time to round out this seasonal recording.
Songs For Christmas is sure to be in your permanent seasonal collection for those who appreciate a contemporary take on some old classics.