Rebecca St. James had changed her style of music between her self-titled release and God in 1994 and 1996, respectively, going from upbeat pop to a more modern rock sound. This Australian artist had accomplished so much at such a young age during the 90s. Rebecca is a very talented singer that the world has embraced, changing typical songs like the "Veggie Tales" theme into something completely new and diverse. Listeners can appreciate here 1997 Christmas album greatly as it is also not your typical Christmas album.
Simply titled Christmas, the album begins with "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" which is a perfect opener. This song is one of the lesser-known Christmas tunes, with St. James' rendition sounding quite a bit different than the Kenny Rogers or Elvis versions from past. "Happy Christmas" is a John Lennon original that begins with a rhythmic bass before leading into Rebecca's signature vocals. The first two minutes of "O Come Emmanuel" that follow might give listeners the impression that they were in for a nice little ballad, until Rebecca repeatedly shouts "Shall come" as it develops with more rock instrumentation. "One Small Child" is very nicely done as the chorus moves along very quickly, especially for a song that is typically known for being more passive. "Silent Night" presents an almost Celtic flavor with some electric guitar thrown in for good measure as Rebecca softly hums the verses and sings the chorus for more of a lullaby feel.
When thinking of "O Holy Night," a techno dance song isn't in the front of your mind, and yet, when Rebecca makes it just that, it surprisingly works. This song is certainly one of the standout tracks as it becomes a very energetic Christmas classic. "What Child is This" is beautifully done and will likely be a favorite among Rebecca and Christmas listeners alike. "O Come Let Us Adore Him" could easily be mistaken for one of Rebecca's previous recordings from God if it weren't for the familiar chorus. Christmas closes with a very nice emotional ballad, "A Cradle Prayer." The song flows nicely with acoustic, piano, and violin orchestration. It's the perfect album conclusion.
When an artist releases a Christmas album, they tend to be of a very traditional style, which is good because it's more likely to be timeless year after year. Michael W. Smith, Kevin Max, and Amy Grant are just some of the few examples. However, it's nice to have an artist render their style of music into a Christmas album, and that's exactly what we have right here with Rebecca St. James' Christmas.- Review date: 11/23/07, written by Wayne Myatt
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