Wednesday, November 07, 2012
CAMPING OUT FOR CHRISTMAS
First up is a playful, upbeat version of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ that makes good use of church bells. The song was first released by Bobby Helms in 1957. Witness these lyrics: “What a bright time, it’s the right time/To rock the night away/Jingle bell time is a swell time/To go gliding in a one-horse sleigh/Oh, giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet/Jingle around the clock/Mix and mingle in the jingling feet/That’s the jingle bell (2X)/That’s the jingle bell rock.” ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ has a rock feel to it here. The song first appeared in 1739 in the collection ‘Hymns and Sacred Poems’ and was written by Charles Wesley. It declares the Good News: “Joyful, all ye nations rise/Join the triumph of the skies/With angelic hosts proclaim/Christ is born in Bethlehem.” Later, it continues: “Mild He lays His glory by/Born that man no more may die/Born to raise the sons of earth/Born to give them second birth.”
‘Joy to the World’ is, well, appropriately joyful. Jeremy adds some Scripturally based words: “Hallelujah (3X)/Christ is born/Hallelujah (3X)/Christ is born/For unto us a child is born/Unto us a Son is given/And He will be called/Wonderful Counselor/The Mighty God/The everlasting Father/The Prince of Peace, yeah/And the weight of the world is on His shoulders/And His kingdom will never end.” ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ has a bit of a thump to it, accented by jingle bells chiming. The original words are by Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), an Episcopal priest. His organist Lewis Redner added the music. Jeremy Camp shares: “This song is such a great description of the gift God gave us through the birth of Jesus Christ.” Here are some of the well-known lyrics: “O holy Child of Bethlehem/Descend to us we pray/Cast down our sin and enter in, be born in us today/We hear the Christmas angels/The great glad tidings tell/O come to us, abide with us/Our Lord, Emmanuel.”
‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ is perhaps a little too subdued musically. It contains these words of well-wishes that unfortunately don’t always come true for those who are grieving during the holiday season: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas/Let your heart be light/From now on/Our troubles will be out of sight/Have yourself a merry little Christmas/Make the Yule-tide gay/From now on/Our troubles will be miles away.” Next up is a happy, danceable version of ‘Let it Snow’. It includes these romantic words: “When we finally kiss goodnight/How I’ll hate going out in the storm!/But if you’ll really hold me tight/All the way home I’ll be warm/Oh, the fire is slowly dying,/And my dear, we’re still good-bying/As long as you love me so/Let it snow! (3X)
A terrific cover of ‘Mary Did You Know’ follows. It was penned by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. Lowry wrote the words in 1984 when a pastor asked him to write the program for a living Christmas tree presentation. The song begins with these deeply thought provoking questions: “Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?/Mary, did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?/Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?/This child that you deliver will soon deliver you.” The title track ‘God With Us’ was penned by the album’s three producers, they being, Jeremy Camp, Brown Bannister, and Ben Shive. Of the song, Jeremy says: “It was amazing to think that our King actually came down to this earth and walked among us as human flesh. The lyrics came out as an expression of what I was thinking at that moment: Emmanuel, our humble King/We give You our hearts as an offering/You laid down Your crown and became as dust/Emmanuel, God with us.” The song is a pretty ballad that makes good use of strings.
‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ includes these words of tremendous hope: “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel/Shall come to thee, O Israel.” The album ends with a clever arrangement of ‘Away in a Manger’. This children’s fave reminds us we can have a deeply personal relationship with Jesus: “I love Thee, Lord Jesus/Look down from the sky/And stay by my side/Til morning is nigh/Be near me Lord (5X)/Be near me Lord Jesus/I ask Thee to stay/Close by me forever/And love me I pray/Bless all the dear children/In Thy tender care/And take us to heaven/To live with You there/We’ll be with You Lord Jesus/We’ll be with You.”
CHRISTMAS: GOD WITH US has a beautiful, scenic front cover and comes with a couple nice pictures of Jeremy. The contemporary arrangements of the classics presented here, along with the slight lyrical additions here and there should please his fans. His voice is in fine form. I would have liked to see more than one original song however. I recommend this CD to fans of adult rock artists such as Creed, Chris Tomlin, Kutless, and Bruce Springsteen. I’m rating CHRISTMAS: GOD WITH US 84%. For more info visit: www.jeremycamp.com and www.becrecordings.com.