|Jeremy Campís Christmas CD is Exactly What Youíd Expect | Posted September 24, 2012
Jeremy Camp has been releasing Christmas songs on various compilations for a while now, but he's never had a Christmas album to call his own--until now. When you think of a Jeremy Camp Christmas CD, you'd probably think of this record. It's pretty much the picture of what a Jeremy Camp CD would sound like.
There are some fast-paced upbeat rockers, slower ballad numbers, and some good, worshipful instrumentation to back up many of the tracks. The vast majority of the tracks are covers of Christmas staples, the songs you've heard covered many times before. Unfortunately, Camp doesn't do too much to make his versions especially memorable amidst the sea of other covers.
Opener "Jingle Bell Rock" is enjoyable and danceable. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Joy to the World" are also very well done. And Camp's rendition of "Mary Did You Know" is especially emotional and an album highlight. None of the songs are especially bad. They all just sound exactly like what they are, Jeremy Camp singing a popular Christmas carol.
There is one original--the title track. As original Christmas songs go, "God is With Us" seems to fall on the average end of things. It's not bad at all, and perhaps it would be a lot more enjoyable if it weren't forced to pull the weight of the album on it's shoulders, as the title track and only original offering on the album. Lyrics like "Hallelujah, the Christ is here. So rejoice for our salvation's near / Emmanuel / A humble king / We give you our hearts as an offering / You laid down your crown / and became as dust / Emmanuel / God with us" are fitting for the season, even if they are fairly safe. But musically, the track feels a little bit underwhelming as the only original on the album. Camp's a talented songwriter and I would've liked to see more of that on the album.
It's Jeremy Camp singing Christmas songs. That's what the cover advertises, and that's what you get. Nothing here is really shocking. Christmas music is a big draw and an artist of Camp's caliber obviously was bound to tackle a Christmas album eventually. It's just that an artist of Camp's caliber should have a release that's at least a little more "classic" than this.
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|Great Christmas album! | Posted September 24, 2012
I love Christmas projects overall, but one of my annoyances when it comes to them is the lack of originality. What do you hear when you pop a Christmas CD into your player but renditions of the same old carols we’ve already heard a hundred times? Unless the artist adds a handful of Christmas songs they’ve written themselves or makes an ear-grabbing rendition of the carols, all Christmas albums pretty much sound the same. It isn’t to say that all are bad, but when you get an album like Jeremy Camp’s Christmas CD Christmas: God With Us, there’s something different and attractive about it.
Jeremy Camp has recently sprung up to be one of Christmas music’s top artists. Celebrating ten years of music and ministry, 32 #1 hits, as well as a Platinum and several Gold-certified albums, Jeremy Camp is certainly an artist that is talented enough to put his hands to Christmas songs. Christmas: God With Us is a wonderful collection of nine Christmas carols that Jeremy revamped nicely, as well as his one original – the title track, “God With Us.”
The most upbeat version I've heard yet of “Jingle Bell Rock,” opens the album. I’ve always loved this carol, and Jeremy obviously had a ton of fun recording it, not to mention his jolly talking at the end of it. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is slightly less upbeat, but these two upbeat opening tracks definitely set the Christmas mood of the album nicely.
Next comes a set of slower songs, led by “Joy to the World.” Jeremy, however adds a worshipful chorus of timeless “Hallelujah!” as well as adds his own chorus of various Scriptures on Christ’s birth. It almost sounds adlib and therefore very peaceful and original. “Little Town of Bethlehem” also sounds like a perfect part two. In both tracks, Jeremy’s vocals sound very soft and deep, which is very refreshing.
With little more than acoustic guitar and soft piano, Jeremy manages to make “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sound angelic, while “Let It Snow” brings back the more rocky renditions Jeremy Camp has to offer. I just don’t think I’ve ever heard a better rendition than this one from Jeremy. It’s plain awesome!
“Mary Did You Know?” is my personal favorite Christmas carol of all times, so I was very happy that, not only did Jeremy Camp cover the song, he did so very well. Also, he did what I’ve always wanted to hear in a rendition this song – a buildup after the powerful bridge. This track definitely gets put up at the top of my list of favorite renditions of carols! His original track, “God With Us” follows very simply, but it is nicely done with cellos and breathtaking strings.
Sounding like it came straight out of a ‘30’s movie, “O Come O Come Emmanuel” has a stunning arrangement of strings, and even comes back in for a short string instrumental, bringing the album to the closing track, “Away In A Manger.” This closing carol is more contemporary in sound than all the others on the album, but it is nice and very serene, as Jeremy Camp focuses on the “be near me Lord” section of the carol.
In all, Jeremy Camp has done a great job with his Christmas album. He managed to make a Christmas album that is more worshipful than it is jolly and fun, although he did pop in a few radio-worthy tracks in the opening of the album. Fans of Jeremy’s will love his renditions of these tracks, no doubt, as Christmas albums are mostly for fans of the artist anyways. If you’re looking for new Christmas tunes this season, I highly recommend Jeremy Camp’s versions of “Hark! The Harold Angels Sing” and “Jingle Bell Rock,” though the rest of the tracks on the album are not to be forgotten either.
Christmas: God With Us is a great Christmas album!
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