The new Christmas compilation, O Come All Ye Faithful, could have been easily called "Christmas with BEC recordings and Friends." Although many of BEC's best artists appear on the 12-track album, popular artists like Chris Tomlin and downhere do make appearances as well. The project consists of classic hymns with the exceptions of newer songs like "White Christmas" and "Have Yourself A Merry Christmas," along with even more recent tracks such as "This Is Christmas" and "How Many Kings."
That's not to say that the classics lack interest. New band The Museum offers a contemporary rock tale of "What Child Is This" while preserving the original tune. Likewise, Seventh day Slumber and Jadon Lavik add something of a chorus to "Away In A Manger" and "O Come O Come Emmanuel," respectively. Although Bebo Norman's guitar driven version of "Have Yourself A Merry Christmas" isn't a remarkable addition to the collection, "Joy To the World" is a charming, organic sounding rendition of the hymn. Jeremy Camp brings his always-solid vocals for the title track, and provides an easy highlight.
The lyrics of the hymns are widely known, but both downhere and Kutless have created some modern, thoughtful pop rock songs. Armed with a catchy refrain, "How Many Kings" humbly wonders: "How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?/How many lords have abandoned their homes?" Frustrated at the subtraction of Jesus at Christmastime, the singer on "This Is Christmas" states "It's all about the savior wrapped in the manger."
Listening to both Bing Crosby and Jeremy Camp back-to-back on the radio in December can have disastrous effects, but purchasing individual albums by artists can occasionally be unfulfilling since there can be a lack of diversity in that particular Christmas project. With the O Come All Ye Faithful compilation, you have a surprisingly strong selection of songs that can be listened to completely at Christmas time without skipping tracks. You may have already heard some of the songs on the radio before or on the individual artist's own projects, but this is still a fine holiday collection.
Writer's note: The tracklisting for the physical copy and the digital copy are not completely congruent.
- Review date: 11/15/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com