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.