It’s Christmas Eve, which means you’ve got one more day to listen to Christmas music if you’re following the Thanksgiving-Christmas rule (as you should). As a little Christmas present to you (from me), I’d like to recommend a few Christmas albums you may not have heard of. You’ve still got a day to seek them out and stream them, or buy them, or ignore them. And, for good measure, I’ll throw in a Christmas classic that I bought this year.
Adventus. – A Christmas EP, Adventus: This release is by the talented Benjamin Dunn, overseer of the Animal Orchestra (whose Fable was one of last year’s best records) and the Joy House. In Adventus, Dunn offers a majestic mixture of folk music and his mildly synthesized vocals. You know all the songs, but Dunn makes them sound new.
The Oh Hellos’ Family Christmas Album, The Oh Hellos: Divided into movements that are essentially medleys of the more Christ-centered carols, this album is less the compilation of Christmas songs we’re used to and more of an all-around Advent experience. As one song builds into the next, this Texas-based band moves way past folk rock covers into instant Christmas classic territory. If only more people would hear it.
NoiseTrade Eastside Manor Christmas Sessions 2013, Various Artists: If you haven’t heard of NoiseTrade yet, you’re missing out on a weekly basis. Every week, the Derek Webb-curated website is releasing free music from underappreciated artists with a tipping option available for all releases. This is a collection of Christmas songs recorded specifically for NoiseTrade by a variety of artists (Jars of Clay is by far the most well-known of the bunch, though the others are their equal for sure). There’s not a bad song on here; they tend toward the folksy side of things, but some of them are just straight pop, and there’s even an a capella act providing a few songs.
And the classic:
Merry Christmas, Mariah Carey: Sure, we’re all aware of “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, but did you know it came from a full album of bona fide Christmas classics? That’s right, nearly every track on this album stands tall next to “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, which is about as stiff as the competition gets. And if you’re wary of listening to a Christmas album by the woman who gave us “Touch My Body”– well, who can blame you? But let me assure you, this is one of the most God-glorifying modern Christmas albums released by a secular artist I’ve heard. The majority of the songs are Christ-centered and reverently sung and arranged. Most Christian artists fail to produce albums this impressively sacred.
That’s all. Merry Christmas to all! Glory to God in the highest!