You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from a mug of mulled apple cider? Well, imagine that feeling in musical form—that’s what Jars of Clay serves up with their 2007 album, Christmas Songs. These coffeehouse pop maestros venture into the world of Christmas tunes and take us on a festive journey that’s as rich and sweet as your grandma’s secret hot cocoa recipe.
- The Gift of St. Cecilia – Jars of Clay
- Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
- Love Came Down at Christmas – Christina Rossetti, Lowell Mason, Jars of Clay
- O Little Town of Bethlehem – Phillips Brooks, Lewis Redner
- Hibernation Day – Jars of Clay
- Winter Skin – Jars of Clay
- Peace Is Here – Jars of Clay
- Evergreen – Jars of Clay
- Christmastime Is Here – Vince Guaraldi
- Drummer Boy – Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati, Harry Simeone
- Gabriel’s Message – Traditional
A Review from Worship Leader Magazine, November/December 2007
Album Review: Christmas Songs
We all know what Jars of Clay does—coffeehouse pop that is as rich and sweet as a mug of mulled apple cider. So why not a Christmas record? In all reality, Christmas Songs is a continuation of Redemption Songs, that outstanding classic hymn project that plied our cherished songs of old with the JOC style and let us all re-imagine. So again, why not a Christmas record? Here you get tunes that you know and love. . . and hear over and over and over during the holiday season, except they are made fresh—a bit melancholy, but fresh nonetheless.
The best moments on the album are when we get the cheery musicality (“Wonderful Christmastime”) as opposed to the slightly depressive minor chord-ridden tunes (“O Little Town of Bethlehem”). But the guys really shine when they, in the spirit of Sufjan Ste vens’ Christmas release from last year, give us original songs that are new and still, somehow, nostalgic, making you feel like you’ve just watched a marathon of classic Christmas movies. One of those, “Winter Skin,” is subtle in its quiet beauty—it feels like you are sitting in an aural snowfall just praising God for His still small beauty in the details of life. In all, the tone is a bit bleak for a Christmas album, but that is the strength of Christmas Songs as much as it is its downfall. Pick it up for a Christmas release that seems to remember that there is pain even in the supposed happiest times of the year. To find the true reason for that type of honesty, go to the standout Peace Is Here where we are reminded why we celebrate in our hurt and joy, alike.
WL TAKEAWAY: Personal listening for Jars of Clay followers this season, everyone else will find three or four songs to put in their iPod’s holiday playlist.
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