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What Christmas is all about
Posted November 22, 2013
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer

I've been a fan of Dove Award-winning band Sidewalk Prophets since they emerged on the CCM scene with their hit songs "The Words I Would Say" and "You Love Me Anyway" from their debut major label release, These Simple Truths. The band took it up a notch in my opinion with their follow-up album Live Like That, which features the hit songs "Live Like That" and "Help Me Find It." (Stay tuned for the next single "Keep Making Me" as it is my favorite song they've ever recorded.)

While we are waiting for the New Year to usher in new tunes, we have the traditional Fall release of new Christmas albums from several new and established artists, including Sidewalk Prophets' Merry Christmas to You. After a few listens, I've decided that there are a few special moments on the album that deserve particular attention. 

Rather than record these songs with one musical vibe for the album, such as the country-rock tinged sound of "Just Might Change Your Life" or the alt-rock flavor of "Lay Down My Life," this album features a blend of musical genres. There are jazz-infused songs, "Give Me Christmas," which channels a Michael Buble-like vocal and musical feel, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," featuring Francesca Battistelli, the classic "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" appropriately substituting "if the Lord allows," and the Ray Charles cover, "That Spirit of Christmas." Although I like the sound of those songs, and they all have the word Christmas in the title, there is not a whole lot of singing about Christ in any of those songs. That's the only detraction I have from an otherwise solid collection of songs.

The highlights of the album are found in four special original Christ-centered songs, the fun upbeat NEEDTOBREATHE-style "What a Glorious Night," the gorgeous and poetic ballad, "Hey Moon," and the previously released originals which close the album, "Hope was Born this Night" and "Because It's Christmas." The thread that is woven through those songs better represents what I've come to expect from this talented band, which is an unashamed presentation of Gospel truths. 

In "Hey Moon," Dave Frey sincerely croons a biblically and Jesus-focused song from a heavenly perspective: "I remember that newborn Baby, and the wise men that traveled so far, it's when I knew I was made for a reason, I feel like the luckiest star / Hey Moon, I wish they could see the things I've seen before the colored lights and the Christmas tree / Hey Moon."

The song transforms from the star shining brightly over Bethlehem to shining the Light of the World Jesus to the world that is still searching for a Savior. That's a fantastic original song, as are "What a Glorious Night," "Hope was Born this Night" and "Because It's Christmas."

Closing Thoughts:
The exciting opener, "What a Glorious Night," opens with the classic reading of Luke 2:8-14 by Linus from the Charlie Brown Christmas special, closing with, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." The song is sung from the perspective of the lowly shepherds celebrating the Good News of Great Joy with hand claps and a super catchy melody. 

After one listen you'll be singing along loudly, "I hear the angels singing, Hallelujah, let the earth receive Her King, I know that Love has come, sing it out, Jesus Christ is born, Jesus Christ is born!" That is an incredible offering of praise to our King and Savior, Jesus. Yes, Sidewalk Prophets, "that's what Christmas is all about." The songs that highlight that Truth are the gorgeous and poetic ballad, "Hey Moon" and the previously released originals which close the album, "Hope was Born this Night" and "Because It's Christmas." There are also reverent recordings of the Christmas hymns, "What Child Is This" and "Silent Night."

Song to Download Now: 
"What A Glorious Night" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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