Saturday, December 19, 2009

meet my christmas album: the sweetest gift by trisha yearwood

The third and final country artist in my Christmas cd collection is one that I received along with the Vince Gill as a Secret Santa gift in 2001.  The cd was released (with a different cover) in 1994.  I have been a huge Trisha Yearwood fan at various points in my life.  She might even be a voice twin, so I was terribly excited to receive this cd I didn't even know I wanted.  On the first few listens, it didn't necessarily live up to the hype.  There are several songs I hadn't heard prior to owning this cd and quite a bit of baby Jesus, and I don't know if you've heard this or not, but I kind of like my Christmas music traditional and familiar.  But there was just enough going for it, that I kept it in my rotation, and eight years later, the songs are all familiar and part of my own Christmas tradition.  Funny how that works out.
Here's what you need to know about this album:
1.   "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"  So I know I've mentioned before that I don't like too much Baby Jesus in my Christmas music, so to lead off a cd with a song called "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" that doesn't have the benefit of being a time-honored carol with formal, stately beautiful language is risky.  But you know what?  The words of this song are completely worth hearing.  Completely.

2.  "Reindeer Boogie"  I mentioned the other day that it can be particularly jarring on a Christmas album to go from a slow, reverent Jesus song to an upbeat, boisterous tune.  Just a comparison of titles would demonstrate that we find ourselves in just such a situation here.  "Reindeer Boogie" is twangy and annoying all on its own, and it sort of smacks me in the face.  I will unashamedly skip this song.

3.  "Take a Walk Through Bethlehem" And back to Jesus . . . This song is all anti-commercialism and Jesus is the reason for the season, and even though it might be a little preachy, I really like it.  And I like singing along with it.

4.  "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" Faithful readers may recall that I heartily disapprove of anyone singing this song besides the King.  People that know me should be familiar with my tendencies to exaggerate and speak in absolutes and then to later back down on those absolutes, but this isn't one of those times.  I hate that this song appears on this album.  Hate.

5.  "It Wasn't His Child" This was the song I was really excited about when I got this album.  I first heard it when a music video of it was released in the mid-90s.  It's the only Christmas song I know about Joseph, and he's a guy that I think doesn't always get enough credit.  Besides the message, which I love, the music is beautiful.  Winner.

6.  "Away in a Manger" This song is all right.  I feel like I've talked about it dozens of time already, and it's not a song for which I have many words.  I'm sorta fading here, so I don't feel like saying more than that.  There sure is a lot of Jesus on this cd.

7.   "The Sweetest Gift" The title track here is not especially Christmas-y.  It's a story song about a mother who goes to prison to visit her son.  Sometimes it makes me feel weepy but also a bit manipulated.  Sometimes that's okay with me.

8.  "There's a New Kid in Town" This song is in no way related to the Eagles' song "New Kid in Town."  I know you were thinking it.  Spoiler alert:  the new kid is Baby Jesus.  I will say that I prefer this wise men song exponentially to "We Three Kings."

9.  "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" Finally, an upbeat, non-Jesus song that I don't hate.  This is nice.

10.  "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"  Lovely song, lovely version.  Great familiar ending to a cd of mostly lesser-known Christmas songs. 

Only 3 more Christmas cds to go.  Stay tuned.

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