The team here at Eden.co.uk have chosen their favourite Christmas songs and CDs. These are the tracks we can't wait to play, the songs that feature oodles of Christmas spirit, make us smile and help us feel extra christmassy. Take a listen for yourself maybe they'll become your favourites too.
O Come O Come Emmanuel - Casting Crowns taken from Peace On Earth- Jo (Eden's Marketing Manager)
I was so pleased to find my favourite Christmas carol featured on the Casting Crown Christmas CD Peace on Earth. They capture the intimate emotion of this classic song beautifully and the arrangment seems to add a new depth to it's meaning. It reminds me of that moment in a carol service when all is still and one voice sings the familiar refrain. The Peace on Earth CD has become one of my 'can't wait to play' Christmas albums, with While You Where Sleeping as my second favourite track. Penned by the group, it talks of Christ's arrival in Bethlehem and has a simple melody with thoughtful lyrics that really make you think about that very first Christmas.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Denver & The Mile High Orchestra taken from Timeless Christmas - Jo (Eden's Marketing Manager)
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra bring that 'Big Band' sound to Christmas. I grew up with Big Band music so this reminds me of Christmases from my childhood. I love the swing that Denver adds to this classic Christmas tune, a song filled with hope for the coming year. This would be right at home on a Jools Holland Christmas Extravaganza! Timeless Christmas mixes well known Christmas favourites (although a few have a special Denver twist, like Frosty the Bluesman) with a few newer songs that you may not have heard before, but will be 'swinging' along to in no time.
12 Days of Christmas – Relient K taken from Let It Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer. - Sam (Journalist & Feature Writer) & James (Marketing Assistant)
With two recommendations this is a real office favourite!
As the title of this album suggests, Relient K’s Christmas offering is packed full of comedy. Their punk-fuelled take on this Christmas classic contains an added chorus of “What’s a partridge and what’s a pear tree? Well I don’t know so please don’t ask me but I can bet those are terrible gifts to give”. It’s all very silly, and light-hearted. Musically, it’s a triumph as the band gradually gets heavier and more ridiculous as the song goes on. It’s hard not to giggle as they scream “5 golden rings” during one verse before singing the same phrase in another language the next time around…
Ever since I was 17, while I dug out my scarf and gloves I’d also turn my messy teenage room upside-down to find this album. Making an early appearance on my smart phone (and the work computer), ‘LetIt Snow Baby, Let It Raindeer’ by Relient K is my pop-punk, childhood confession I can’t live without at Christmas time. When winter’s long nights and frosty morning arrive we all need a Christmasy pick-me-up, and the fun-loving, punk rocking, Beach Boy wanna-be’s are my Hot Toddy. Their quirky rendition of ‘12 Days of Christmas’ gets my heart pumping and my face smiling with every listen and their ability to convey honest, genuine faith was a huge influence in my youth. If you’re looking for a faith-filled Christmas album for your wanna-be rock star, I can highly recommend this cheerful-spin on the yuletide favourites.
Mary, Did You Know? – Jeremy Camp taken from Christmas: God With Us - Sam (Journalist & Feature Writer)
Standing in stark contrast to Relient K’s offering, Jeremy Camp’s rendition of the 1992 Buddy Greene song is strong and passionate. The atmospheric opening gives way to Jeremy’s solid voice and a quiet piano sound. It’s the most solidly produced track on the album and also the most interesting in terms of arrangements. Jeremy sings the song with such belief and passion, he could have written it himself. It’s great to hear a relatively new song re-recorded with such intensity and drive. It’s serious, moving and intense. The opposite of Relient K, but just as great!
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Amy Grant taken from The Christmas Collection - Anna (Online Store Manager)
There’s something about Christmas music that makes me smile and this track is a particular family favourite. Having grown up with the sound of Amy Grant at Christmas it just wouldn’t be the same without it! Taken from The Christmas Collection my favourite tracks are ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ and perhaps the not so traditional ‘Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree’. Nothing like a wholesome American rendition to warm your heart and stir your festive spirit. For me personally Christmas really is the best time of year, a time for family, definitely lots of great food and a celebration of the real reason for the season!
O Holy Night - Third Day taken from Christmas Offerings - Anna (Online Store Manager)
This is one of my favourite carols ‘O Holy Night’, epic in its lyrics and the crescendo of the final chorus sends chills up my spine. Third Day’s Christmas Offerings Collection features a slightly rockier guitar-filled version but still retaining the melody and reflective lyrics. What I love about this version is the momentous chorus and passion of Mac Powell’s unique and easily identifiable voice.
When Christmas is continuously diluted year on year there is something very special about singing out the truths of the Christmas story. ‘Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, oh night when Christ was born;’
Go, Tell It on the Mountain – Josh Wilson taken from Noel - James (Marketing Assistant)
Last week we were sent an early Christmas present from EMI (a major Christian record label) and one CD rose to the top of the pile and took my ears for a spin – ‘Noel’ by Josh Wilson. If Jamie Cullum had been born on a farm in Nashville, brought up in church and taught to play guitar like Elvis, he’d sound like Josh Wilson. His song writing shows both spiritual maturity and a healthy amount of mischievousness.
Josh’s version of ‘Go, Tell It on the Mountain’, the African-American gospel carol, features a southern-American guitar riff that puts a spring in your step, an infectious chorus and a generous helping of jazz flute. And he’s not just a talent musician; he’s also an all-round-nice-guy too. Delayed at Newek Airport in 2010, Josh Wilson tuned his guitar and led the disgruntled masses in a ‘Hey Jude’ sing-a-long.
‘Traditional melodies, ancient and new lyrics combine the familiar and unexpected.’
The funny thing about Christmas music is that you want something new, but also recognisable. Something that connects to everything you love about Christmas but also gives you something you didn’t expect; has that spirit of celebration, but doesn’t overwhelm the sense of hoped for peace that’s unique to Christmas music.
Keith and Kristyn Getty specialise in combining the old with the new to make something that’s completely unexpected. ‘Joy’ is their Irish Christmas collection that sounds like you’ve just walked in on something between the best carol service you’ve ever been to and the best Irish party you can imagine.
‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’, get the Getty makeover, and rediscovered melodies are fused with original lyrics or ancient poetry. My Favourite Tracks are the unmistakable Getty blend of simple theology and tune in ‘Joy has dawned’ and the old words with an even older melody (Greensleeves) of ‘What Child is This?’
The Hallelujah Chorus – Eric Nordhoff taken from Peace On Earth - Les (Feature Writer)
‘Restful and restorative piano and instrumentals to escape the rush of Christmas’
I’ve got three music slots that need filling with CDs of Christmas music. The first I’ll keep in the car and has to set me up for the day. The second I’ll have playing when we’re still trying to get everything done as the in-laws arrive for dinner on Christmas day. The third is the one for when it’s over and there’s time to just sit with a coffee, a left over mince pie, the book I’ll (hopefully) get and be a bit… well, selfish. For me, that means piano music with no singing, no pan pipes and no drums.
I’m not a fan of series CDs, but Eric Nordhoff’s 12 track ‘Peace on Earth’ from his ‘Quietime’ collection – complete with inner-sleeve devotionals, will be putting back what the rush of Christmas takes out. My Favourite Tracks are the only restful rendition of ‘The Hallelujah Chorus’ I’ve ever heard, and his haunting ‘Carol of The Bells’.
October 16th, 2015 - Posted & Written by Jo Pountney