When it comes to Christmas music, there seems to be three main types: endless remakes of traditional carols, secular pop songs where the singer yearns for his/her baby to come home, and more recently, original but reverent songs by CCM artists. Saviour, by We Are Messengers, falls into this last category as the Irishmen combine their signature upbeat pop with reflection on Jesus' birth.
The title track begins with a boys' choir singing, "Saviuor, a child and yet a King / Lord of everything," which sets the contemplative mood of the song. It's a triumphant track that shows off Darren Milligan's soulful vocals, but the EP really gets going with "From Heaven to Earth (Joy to the World)." Anybody who wasn't pumped up for Christmas probably will be after listening to this, with its Isaac Watts-quoting verses and festive snare drum rolls, before Milligan belts out the chorus: "Sing, for the Lord has come / Oh, what a wonderous love." It's also nice to hear some fresh Christmas music for a change. (I will scream if I have to hear Burl Ives' "Holly Jolly Christmas" one more time! ...Sorry for the soap box.)
In the next song, "God with Us," We Are Messengers addresses those of us who don't always feel "Holly Jolly," with the opening line, "He is with us in this season, when silence fills our homes / When the lights that you once loved, leave you aching and alone." The chorus reminds us, "He is with us always / in our joy and in our pain," and ends with, "Love has come / God with us." In theory, this seems so obvious, since Jesus' incarnation is literally what Christmas is about. Still, there's a reason why songs like this are written -- so we can remember that Jesus didn't come to give us a happy, generic holiday filled with empty, superficial cheer.
Speaking of Jesus coming to earth, "Flesh and Bone" is a pretty, reflective ballad that talks about what He had to give up for us: "Love, what have you done? / Sent out your Son into the dark / How could you let go? / Didn't you know it would break your heart?" But, as impactful as this song is, the next track, "Christ Our King," musically stands out from the rest. From the fun, catchy chorus with children singing the words, "This is Christ our King," to the rap bridge, this jam is a dance party waiting to happen!
The final track, "This is Jesus," is a reworking of the old hymn, "Come Thou Fount," as Milligan sings the familiar tune while swapping out the old-fashioned lyrics. He sings, "This is Jesus, King of glory / here to rescue from the fall / Son of God who comes to save us / Prince of Peace and Lord of all." The song does a good job summing up the theme of the EP, as it, and the other five tracks, lives up to the title.
Even though We Are Messengers doesn't drift too far from the CCM Christmas norm, Saviour is a solid collection of songs that reminds us why Christmas is a celebration.- Review date: 12/2/22, written by Andie Hardee of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Curb | Word Entertainment
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