By Clay W. Ginn From the haunting piano opening of “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day” to the stirring string arrangement which closes “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, Casting Crowns has created a beautiful Christmas album well worth a listen.
Creativity:: 7 – There is not a single original song on Peace on Earth. All are either traditional Christmas songs, covers of another artist’s music (Amy Grant’s “God Is With Us” and Paul Baloche’s “Christmas Offering”), or a rearrangement of their own music (“While You Were Sleeping” from Casting Crown’s 2005 album Lifesong). That being said, the arrangements are classic Casting Crowns. Lush piano blends with layered string arrangements, all held together by steady acoustic guitar.
Original Songs:: 4 – The only song that could be considered to be original could be “While You Were Sleeping” but it was previously released. The second verse is changed from the lyric that was on Lifesong, reflecting more of the Christmas story. It’s a deeply moving song to me, but for the purpose of originality, it’s been heard before.
Classic Covers:: 8 – The arrangements created by Casting Crowns on this album are solid, giving a unique take on them. The soft rock sound favored by the band makes these songs memorable, yet quiet enough to be played as background at you Christmas get-togethers.
Musical Score:: 9 – As stated before, the blending of the various musical elements is beautifully done.
Overall Holly Jolliness: 10 – After I listened to this disc the first time, I wanted my wife to listen to it. It’s a great addition to our Christmas collection (which we listen to more than just during the holiday season) and we’ll be listening to it often this year.
Total = 38 – Fans of Casting Crowns and fans of soft rock Christmas music can expect to find this album under their trees this year. It’s available now, so go out and get it!
To read our review guide lines, go here.
You can find Peace on Earth and the rest of our great “12 Days of Christmas Music” reviewed albums in Backseat Writer’s online store, Drive-By Shopping, under the “12 Days of Christmas Music” category!
Clay W Ginn is a software developer for a small company in North Texas. I’ve been married for nearly 12 years and am the father of three. I’m an avid reader, weather nut, and love playing my guitar and singing. My wife and I are huge fans of Walt Disney World, trying to get there once every couple of years. I grew up on a farm in rural Kansas, and attended seven different colleges before completing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Information Technology and a Master’s degree in Information Systems. In the past I’ve been a youth leader, worship leader, police dispatcher, accounting clerk, customer service representative, and a gumball machine builder. I love writing anything, from movie and music reviews to political screeds to comparisons of culture and faith. I’m even working on a novel as well.