Mandisa’s debut album True Beauty gave inspiration and hope to women everywhere and challenged us to rethink our definition of beauty. With widespread media coverage including The Today Show, and LIVE! With Regis and Kelly, this American Idol alum proved she had more than just talent – but something important to say. Along the way, True Beauty scanned over 130,000 units, making it one of the best selling new artist releases in 2007. This fall, she returns with her first full-length Christmas album It’s Christmas. Produced by Brown Bannister (Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jeremy Camp), It’s Christmas strikes a balance between traditional Christmas carols and newer songs, and features special appearances by Michael W. Smith and Matthew West.
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What Christmas Means to Me
Christmas Makes Me Cry (feat. Matthew West)
O Holy Night
Christmas Day (feat. Michael W. Smith)
Feliz Navidad/Joy to the World
Little Drumer Boy
Children Go Where I Send Thee
The Bell Medley (Silver Bells, Carol of the Bells and Caroling, Caroling)
Mary's Little Boy Child
Angels We Have Heard On High (iTunes exclusive)
It's Christmas may not get many to 'cry'| Posted November 28, 2008
Quickly following on the heels of Mandisa’s first album was the Christmas Joy EP; A brief four track disc that was a nice fit for the holidays. Only a year after the EP, Mandisa is back with a full length Christmas album, It’s Christmas. Though it might be debatable that she should not have added another Christmas effort after only a short time and with only one CD under her belt, the results of the album speak for itself.
The opening song “What Christmas means to me” has an up-tempo beat to mix with some hip hop and a jazzy style of music; the result is a very disjointed tune that lacks coherence, which unfortunately, is the theme for the album. Mandisa transition from song to song on “Feliz Navidad (With Joy to the World)” is rough though her version of “joy to the world” is classical and well done. “Bell Medley (Silver Bells, Carol Of The Bells, Caroling, Caroling)” is by for the most disjointed song on the album as She tries to pack to much in one song even though the music changes are not subtle and the mood changes are also tough to stick with.
“Mary’s Little Boy Child” and “O holy Night” both are modified; one to become more upbeat and radio friendly while “O holy Night” has more of a jazz feel and a whole lot of Mandisa’s vocals. Its Christmas really comes alive on “silent night” because the soft traditional music is blended perfectly with her vocals and her duet with Mathew West on “Christmas Makes Me Cry” is very emotional. Michael W. Smith is the guy who is running the show on “Christmas day” a epic song which should become a holiday favorite.
It’s probable that Mandisa’s career would have been more successful if she had won American Idol, but she has really grown in popularity in her short time as a Christian artist. But going right after another full length Christmas album after she gave fans a brief taste might not have been the right call because several of the songs are incoherent and probably won’t please fans other than her style on It's Christmas.
“IDOL” ALUM TURNS OUT FULL-LENGTH HOLIDAY EFFORT| Posted October 07, 2008
After giving fans a flavor for her seasonal interpretations with last year’s Christmas Joy EP, Mandisa extends her holiday offerings on the full-length It’s Christmas. Three of the same songs pop up, but there are plenty of additional tracks in this soulful collection which find the “American Idol” alum soaring with vocal radiance and the occasional support of a well-matched duet partner. The previously heard “Christmas Makes Me Cry” with Matthew West straddles the line between shimmering R&B and glistening pop, relating to the truly moving sentiments the celebration can bring, while Michael W. Smith adds some extra star power to the gorgeous ballad “Christmas Day.”
Mandisa also showcases her radiant pipes in solo settings throughout the jazzy “What Christmas Means To Me” and an acoustic take on “Angels We Have Heard On High.” Though there’s no denying her talents throughout ballads like “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night,” the soft spoken orchestral arrangements are somewhat unimaginative and tiresome, not really standing out from the billion other versions on the market. Yet, Mandisa rounds out the disc with a bluesy/Memphis soul version of “Children Go Where I Send Thee,” which is hands-down the most unique rendition on the album. Aside from this offering, fans will be happy to hear the singer’s back in the studio putting the finishing touches on her next studio album, Freedom, slated for release sometime in March 2009. –Andy Argyrakis
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!
A Decent Effort| Posted October 22, 2008
Mandisa..... Vocally Gifted, Genre Challenged. Her first album "True Beauty" was an eclectic mix of music that was fun... experimental... unique. So with her second full length album "It's Christmas" the bar was raised higher. But rather than the thought "Musical Genius" coming to mind, the term "Sophmore Slump" does. And better to get it over with on a Christmas album than on an all Original album.
The Album opens with the Promising "What Christmas Means To Me" with an upbeat traditional Pop sound that is fun and energetic, but is followed by "Feliz Navidad (with Joy to the World)" which is akward at best. The album quickly takes a turn for the better on "Christmas Makes Me Cry" a moving duet with co-writer Matthew West. But again turns back to bland, with a medley of "Silver Bells, Carol of the Bells and Caroling, Caroling". With Painful transitions between the songs and renditions that pale in comparison with fellow female artists like BarlowGirl and Amy Grant. The album stays on this track until Michael W. Smith steps in and saves the day with a track from His Christmas album released last year. The song is titled "Christmas Day" and is a lovely song full of memories and sounds of Christmas past and the hope of more to come.
The eclectic mix of styles ranging from Pop to Funk to traditional Gospel, sometimes in the same song, isn't experimental this time around... but annoying and frustrating.
Now we all root for everyones favorite Mandisa... but dont be suprised if this album causes your inner Simon to emerge.