It's October, which means pumpkin spiced everything, apple picking, and for the music industry... Christmas music. While most of as are still in full fall mode, Lauren Daigle is putting out one of several new Christmas albums to be released on October 21st (others include Amy Grant, Matthew West, Matt Redman).
Behold: A Christmas Collection offers a nice selection of familiar Christmas songs: four Christmas carols, five famous Christmas songs, and a new rendition of her original song, "Light of the World." The album opens with a two-minute version of what is arguably the most well-known Christmas song in the world (which is somewhat ironic because it wasn't originally written as a Christmas song): "Jingle Bells." It immediately sets the jazzy, traditional tone of the record. The whole album actually pays homage to Lauren's roots with a "New Orleans Jazz" style, which is characterized by a bluesy electric guitar, saxaphone, light drums, piano, and a clarinet (among other instruments), all of which are intricately woven into a pleasant and fireside sound. While the musical aspect of the album is surprisingly good, it's Lauren's soulful and enchanting vocals that are the centerpiece of this album. For the most part, she matches the casual vibe of the music, but there are a few moments where she belts out, such as in the climaxes of "Oh Holy Night" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." One of the album's strongest tracks is the carol "What Child Is This." This version is a little more funky and soulful than the traditionally haunting melody (especially if you compare it to Project 86's rendition), but still maintains the sense of reverence you'd expect for a carol about the shepherds visiting baby Jesus in the manager. Lauren's harmonies in the chorus give this song a classic vibe that shows up throughout the album.
With Behold, Lauren and her team have done a fantastic job with these ten tracks, making a Christmas album perfect for a holiday party, tree decorating, or reflecting on the birth of Jesus.
- Review date: 10/20/16, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com