CHRISTMAS ALBUM SPOTLIGHT
Every year from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I like to exclusively listen to Christmas music. It gets me in the Christmas spirit and I just like Christmas music overall. I also try to, each and every year, buy at least one new Christmas album so you can imagine that through the years I've managed to collect quite a few Christmas CDs. In this post I would like to highlight one of the best Christmas albums that I've ever heard.
It is Michael W. Smith's Christmas from 1989 (the best year of my life and one of the best years of the century). If you don't know the name, Michael W. Smith is one of the most successful and talented Christian music artists of all time. In his nearly 30 year career he has released 23 studio albums that represent the best of Christian music. He is my favorite Christian singer and I have all of his albums on CD. Around the time of the release of Christmas in 1989, Smitty (as he is known) was at his peak. In 1988 he had released i 2 (EYE), his best and most successful album up to that time (and IMO still his best) and followed it up with 1990's Go West Young Man followed by the monster album Change Your World in 1992 which had huge crossover appeal with the hit "Place in this World". And lodged in between these releases was Christmas in 1989. As a Christmas album, Christmas offers up the expected carols such as "O Come All Ye Faithful", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Silent Night" but in unexpected arrangements such as piano solos (all the keyboards on the album are played by Smitty) or accompanied by orchestra and choir. Some tracks don't even feature Smitty singing at all and are just choral works with orchestral accompaniment. The album also features some original songs such as "All is Well" and the highlight of the album, a song called "No Eye Had Seen" which is a duet with fellow Christian singer Amy Grant. But this duet is not like a common duet as each singer (Smitty and Grant) sing different words at the same time crescendoing to an almost euphoric climax of sound. The conclusion of the album is a song called "Gloria" which incorporates "Angels We Have Heard on High" with Smitty singing and on piano accompanied by full orchestra and a full choir. It is a tour de force which can be heard below.
If you have never heard of this album, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It is a true Christmas delight.