Determining what a good Christmas album is tends to mostly depend on what you've become accustomed to growing up. For me, Bing Crosby crooning "White Christmas" or Spike Jones' band performing "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" were among a large number of songs I grew up to hearing around the Holidays. With hearing the classic versions influencing Jaci Velasquez' Christmas, naturally I'd be excited by what I heard. The Happy Christmas projects from BEC Recordings are often a treat, being able to hear some of my favorite alternative/rock artists offering their take on some famous tunes. With 2001's independent Your King Has Come from newly formed label detuned radio records, we're offered 10 songs -- some new, some classic, that not only celebrate the Christmas season, but the most important thing about Christmas: Christ's birth.
The CD opens with Derek Webb of Caedmon's Call teaming up with Sandra McCracken for "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus," which, like most of the record, is acoustic and intimate. The Christmas feeling is clearly present, and the thoughtful pieces are wonderful. Highlights are Jill Phillips' "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," Mary Ihrig's "O Come All Ye Faithful," Matthew Smith's "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," and Matthew Perryman Jones' "O Holy Night." Andrew Osenga's, of the Normals, "Of the Father's Love Begotten," seems out of place and pales in comparison to its surrounding tracks. The title track by Matthew Smith is good, but is surprisingly one of the least strongest tracks on the project. It may be a little too raw, especially being the title track, and just doesn't seem to have the same impact as Smith's rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" prior to it.
Your King Has Come is good addition to your Christmas music collection. It's not loud, it's not overproduced. This modest acoustic/folk offering captures the intimacy of that historical life-changing event centuries ago, an event worthy of the praise and adoration these performers give.- Review date: 11/25/01 written by John DiBiase
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