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Christmas Songs by Jars of Clay CD

4.4 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

2007 holiday release from the Alternative Christian rockers. Their 10th album overall, this multi-platinum and Grammy-winning Nashville-based band serve up a stocking full of traditional and original Christmas tunes. 14 tracks including 'God Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen', 'Gabriel's Message', 'Wonderful Christmastime', 'O Little Town Of Bethlehem' and more. RCA.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Gift Of St. Cecilia
  2. Wonderful Christmastime
  3. Love Came Down At Christmas
  4. O, Little Town Of Bethlehem
  5. Hibernation Day
  6. Winter Skin
  7. Peace Is Here
  8. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
  9. Evergreen
  10. Christmastime Is Here
  11. Drummer Boy
  12. Gabriel's Message
  13. In the Bleak Midwinter
  14. I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 16, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Nettwerk Records
  • ASIN: B000VRXNT2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,386 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Derek M. Foster on October 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Anytime I hear of an artist recording a Christmas album, I become slightly nauseous. How many renditions of "Winter Wonderland" can one generation drivel out?

I was, to say the least, apprehensive when I heard that Jars of Clay would be making a Christmas album. When the album became available, I listened with hesitation. What I found was pleasantly original and surprising. In a culture saturated on the bubble-gum Christmas-spirit, "Christmas Songs" restores a sense of mystery and depth that has been lost. What is most refreshing is the effectively balanced range of territory that is covered on the album. It is serious without being grave; it is fun without being flippant; it is experimental without being disoriented; and it is traditional without feeling stringent.

One of the most surprising gems on the album is the completely reconstructed carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem." The melodies are hauntingly beautiful and permeate the song with an ethereal quality that brings out an appropriate sense of wonder incubated in the idea of the Incarnation.

The album harks back to the 50s with "Hibernation Day", a fun original contribution by Jars about being snowed in with the one you love and is tinged with just the right amount of nostalgia to make even the most calloused of lovers feel at least a little sappy and long for a time out of mind.

Other highlights include a rendition of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime", "Love Came Down At Christmas", and the two instrumental pieces "Winter Skin" and "Evergreen" which bring a mood of enchantment to the album.

Drawbacks to the album are that it can be somewhat too meditative in areas.
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Format: Audio CD
Jars of Clay has finally released a Christmas CD! Fans (or this one at least) have long awaited one. While it isn't the instant Christmas project I love, there is lots of great stuff here.

The disc features lots of rare and original songs. For example, the group wrote two instrumental songs, "The Gift of St. Cecilia" and "Evergreen." There are also three original songs. While "Winter Skin" and "Hibernation Day" celebrate winter and the fun it can bring, "Peace is Here" celebrates the peace that Jesus can bring.

In my Christmas music collection, I had no copies of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." I can't compare it to anything else, but I like their alt rock take on it. I was also unfamiliar with "Love Came Down at Christmas" which is based on a Christina Rossetti poem. I really like it. I especially enjoy the reference to a kids folk song at the end.

Then there are the classics. "O Little Town of Bethlehem" gets a makeover with a new melody. It makes the song very haunting. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is likewise slow and haunting. And yes, they include "Drummer Boy." This is a different version then their single released years ago, but it does sound very similar. "Christmastime is Here" is part jazz and part rock. It sort of works, but I still prefer the original.

And that's the only real problem with the disc. Some artists can pull off a mix of their signature sound on a Christmas release. Jars of Clay comes close, but they don't quite do it. The CD is fine, but I think it will be several years before I consider it a true Christmas project. I will definitely pull it out in mid-December when I am ready for something different. But it won't be the first thing I get out the day after Thanksgiving.

Don't misunderstand. This isn't a bad release. It is quite enjoyable for something different. And it will please Jars of Clay's many fans.
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Format: Audio CD
Last week, I would've given this album three stars. After listening to it off and on, I'm up to a four stars. By Christmas I might be at five. Why?

All the songs on the album have a unique feel - not the typical Christmasy feel. They have Jars of Clay's signature sound which isn't distracting. It's just that at times you don't feel like you're listening to Christmas music. Check out some of the song samples. After listening to it for a week however, I've come to appreciate this different take on songs you've had beat into your head by everyone from Bing Crosby to Seals and Croft. Christmas should be a time of contemplating God's gift to us of his son. By spinning the songs a little off center, Jars of Clay has forced me to do that. I focus more on these songs and their lyrics than I have on others. And by doing so, I've found myself reflecting on the upcoming Christmas season.

Maybe I'll move to five stars by tomorrow.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First you should know that there are many songs here that are Jars of Clay originals or little known covers. The better known Christmas fare all has a unique Jars touch and feel added to it.

Of the original material the song "Peace Is Here" is a wonderful, Spirit-infused piece of Christ Mass (worship). It's is probably my favorite of the album. Other original songs, some of which aren't celebrating Christmas so much as they are a shivery white winter, fit the project fairly well with the exception (IMO) of "Evergreen" with its downturned, slightly out of tune notes and feel.

Of the covers the Clay men do a wonderful and affectionate and bright version of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime".

Of the traditionals several were chosen that were unknown to me like "Gabriel's Message", a big cathedral hymnal type of song. But the known songs, such as "O Little Town of Bethlehem", were given a worshipful but almost electronica treatment where the music has a slight buzzy energy and clear worhsipful vocals and hums. I liked them very much though they aren't necessarily my favorite versions of these well-known and oft repeated Christmas songs. And, perhaps as an "of course", they included their popular fan favorite version of "The Little Drummer Boy". Always enjoyed.

So in summary this wintery Christmas inspired CD offers much more than an off-the-rack Christmas CD that you might buy. It will be reflective, celebratory, and worshipful. Thanks to those JoCs who continue to put out one fine release after another. Keep up the inspired work.
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