The X Christmas has many goods (and bads) in it's stocking | Posted November 28, 2008
Ever since the first of the X Christian rock hits came out in 2003, BEC recordings have put one out every year. Branching off of that was X worship and the newest addition to the X series is X: 17 hits to rock your Christmas. The songs are not necessary recent like Anberlin’s “baby please come home” or Swicthfoot’s “evergreen”, but some are as new as Project 86’s “This Time of the Year” off of This time of year EP, which comes out in November.
There are few bands that can start albums out with a bang as well as Thousand Foot Krutch, but their version of “jingle bell rock” really puts the emphases on the ‘rock’ part. The song features heavy base, lead singer Trevor McNevan’s booming vocals, and a tune that has more than enough rap falls more into the category as loud than a epic. But all is not rock and when there is a lack of rock comes plenty of sophistication from Jars of Clay (“love came down at Christmas”) and Swicthfoot (“evergreen”). The pop/rock on “Gloria” is not one of Hawk Nelson’s best works but mixing in the traditional music in the bridge is clever and well welcomed. However listeners may be disappointed when they here that the treasured holiday lyrics were tweaked in order to fit the lyrics about a girl.
One thing that is nice about X Christmas is it offers a nice verity of original tracks and classical tunes which were tackled by some of today’s Christian rock artists. Kutless pulls off “Mary did you know” well with the help of Jon Micah Sumrall vocals and a up tempo tune which doesn’t stray far from the original melody. It’s sad that the very friendly “Angels we have heard on high” is reserved for the back because Corey Crowder does a great job, but Sanctus Real effort to make “Silent Night” emotional only succeeds in making it forgetful with their insipid music. “do you hear what I hear” (Seventh Day Slumber) might have needed to be less upbeat, but Jaymes Reunion’s “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree” and Agaust Burns Red electrifying “Carol of the Bells” are very enjoyable.
The collaboration nearly completely falls off the table with desperation to change tracks on “This Time of the Year” which fails in every way to sound Christmassy because the vocals, base, tone, all make the song sound awful and unattractive for the holidays. Another completely misplaced song is “it’s Christmas time” by KJ-52, a techno rap song will have few fans and follow Project 86 in the path of those who probably should not do Christmas music unless they change their style. Unfortunately the saving of the collection of rock songs does not lie in the hands of the David Crowder Band who adds just a little of extra energy on “Feliz Navidad”.
If the before mentioned songs were all that were on X Christmas, then there would be little incentive to acquire it, but there are more songs that do give in more life. “baby Please Come Home” may not have anything useful to say, but the tune, with the exception of the ending, is infectious and probably should be put on repeat. FM Static sacrifices the emotion in “Christmas shoes” for a energy and life with an upbeat pop/punk tune which follows the original tune with the addition of some more guitars and a song which flows much faster. The only draw backs is the beat stays afloat but it seemed like it would tip at some points in the song and the song drags just a little bit too long. The most impressive song that makes the album worth getting by itself is “his favorite Christmas” a improbable and unrealistic snappy song by Capital Lights that lacks nothing and has bags of charm.
One would assume that Relient K, a band who has been on every other X rock compilation would make an appearance, but that is not the case and it is probably the biggest mistake in terms of picking the songs. With all of BEC’s X CD’s there are going to be songs that some will like and others that some will not like and X: 17 hits to rock your Christmas is no different.