Thursday, February 21, 2013

Music Review: A Christmas to Remember by Amy Grant

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: A few good new songs.
Cons: Missing the passion that made her first two Christmas CD's classics.
The Bottom Line:
Third not quite the charm
But still good for collection
If you have others

Amy's Third Christmas Disc is Not Quite Up to Her Others

Amy Grant's first two Christmas projects are classics, getting lots of play time from me every year. When I first heard A Christmas to Remember was coming out, I was thrilled. However, it falls short of her other two.

The CD starts out quite well with the title track and "Christmas Can't be Very Far Away." Both are original songs that capture the fun and nostalgia of the season with great melodies. The other new song, "Christmas Lullaby," has a much slower tempo but is a nice reminder of God's love for everyone.

There are some fun covers on here as well. "Jingle Bell Rock" gets a great treatment. I hadn't heard "Mister Santa" before, but this Christmassy version of "Mister Sandman" is catchy. True, it's silly, but it is fun as well.

The problem comes in the slower moments, which seem to be missing the passion and sparkle of her previous two Christmas CDs. This is especially true of the last track, "Agnus Dei." Or, maybe my problem with that track is that I've listened to Michael W. Smith's original enough I just can't picture it as a Christmas song. Either way, this song giving glory to God falls flat because it is just too slow. It almost puts me to sleep. "Silent Night" falls into the same trap, boring me before it's finally over. "Welcome to our World" is a decent version of this soon to be overdone new Christmas classic, but I still prefer Chris Rice's original version, probably because I heard it first.

This isn't to say that Amy's many fans in the adult contemporary Christian community won't enjoy it. It just doesn't live up to the expectations brought about by her previous Christmas classics.

A Christmas to Remember has grown on me in the six years since it came out, but it still doesn't have the Christmas magic her first two do. Fans of Amy's other two Christmas treasures should give this a little time; they will warm up to it. If you haven't discovered her wonderful Christmas music before, I recommend starting with her others before getting this one.

CD Length: 38:51
1. A Christmas to Remember
2. Christmas Can't be Very Far Away
3. Silent Night
4. Christmas Lullaby (I Will Lead You Home)
5. Highland Cathedral
6. Jingle Bell Rock
7. Mister Santa
8. 'Til the Season Come 'Round Again
9. Gabriel's Oboe
10. Welcome to Our World
11. Agnus Dei

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