It's A Wonderful Christmas

Michael W. Smith

Reunion, 2007

http://www.michaelwsmith.com/

REVIEW BY: Michael Ehret

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/01/2007

Michael W. Smith, arguably one of the pillars of the current contemporary Christian music genre, has released his third beautiful holiday album, It’s A Wonderful Christmasmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 . Unfortunately, it is exactly what you’d expect from him if you’ve heard either of his previous seasonal efforts: lush orchestrations (with a few vocals added) of mostly original songs.

The album is lovely but as a Christmas disc it fails because of the 11 songs on it, only one, “What Child Is This,” is familiar -- and it’s an instrumental. For a classic Christmas album, a mindful balance needs to be struck of familiar tunes and original songs. Other than the previously mentioned song, everything else on this disc is new, original material, and only six of the tunes have lyrics, many of those performed by choirs.

It’s A Wonderful Christmas was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with a 65-piece orchestra and four choirs. I know there are people who love these grand orchestral statements at Christmas (I’m married to one), but I am not one of them. Still, there is no mistaking the quality of this music or the performances. At times this feels like a Christmas cantata; there’s that much choir support and instrumental backing.

Smith did include one song to please us pop music lovers -- a duet with American Idol finalist Mandisa. “Christmas Day” is a holiday standard-to-be about the comfort of Christmas traditions and “lighting a candle” as we “pray for peace.” It’s nice.

In the past, Smith has said he would love to score music for a movie. Clearly he has the ability to do that, as evidenced by the music here. It is evocative and emotional. Good background music for the season, for sitting with a loved one in front of a fire sipping hot chocolate, is what Smith has turned out here. However, for me, that’s not enough for a classic Christmas disc.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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