By Moriah Coxen Anytime you ask a rock ‘n’ roll band to cover a classic Christmas song, you’re going to get something interesting. Tooth and Nail Records’ (T&N) X: Christmas compilation, a follow-up to Happy Christmas, is no exception.
Creativity:: 10 This album does not disappoint with The Almost (Aaron Gillespie) covering “The Little Drummer Boy” and Seventh Day Slumber reminding us to listen with “Do You Hear What I Hear?” August Burns Red brings joy to any hardcore fan with “Carol of the Bells” (an instrumental track), which includes the most kick-drum beats in Christmas music history. Hawk Nelson’s “Gloria” is a clever combination, using the classic chorus tune but in the verses tells the story the lead singer wanting “the girl of my dreams” for Christmas.
Original Songs:: 9 Switchfoot’s “Evergreen” appears in T&N’s Christmas compilation (originally recorded for the Happy Christmas album in 1998). KJ-52 forks over a Floridian’s view of winter-y things in “It’s Christmas Time” with talks of going to the beach on Christmas Eve—amusing. However, I found the chipmunks-on-helium-sounding background vocals a bit annoying. “His Favorite Christmas Story” is a touching tale of a man retelling the story of his favorite Christmas moment The album is complete with “Christmas Shoes,” the sappiest song on the record.
Classic Covers:: 8— Crunching guitars kicks off this musical adventure through the holidays with Thousand Foot Krutch’s “Jingle Bell Rock,” putting you in the right mood for what’s about to go down. Anberlin’s “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home” is filled with passion and yearning, while FM Static’s rendition of “Christmas Shoes” brings a nice pop-punk feel to what could be the most tear-jerking Christmas song of all time. Jars of Clay does a beautiful rendition of “Love Came Down at Christmas,” and Sanctus Real delivers a softer, epic “Silent Night.” David Crowder Band’s “Feliz Navidad” provides an interesting switch that seems awkward at first but then warms you like a good bean burrito. Cameron Jaymes of The Jaymes Reunion’s smooth vocals confirm that “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” can be done in a “new old fashioned way”. Project 86 gives a memorable rendition of “This Time of the Year” with eerie sounds, while Corey Crowder’s “Angels We Have Heard On High” and Kutless’s “Mary Did You Know?” seem lackluster in the creativity department.
Musical Score:: 9— Anything with the Tooth and Nail logo will be edgy–no doubt. So along with Christmas albums of the past, X: Christmas brings shredding guitars merrily together with choir bells and double-kick drums with the occasional seasonal sounding harmony.
Overall Holly Jolliness:: 7 —The overall Holly Jolliness is a 7 because I was more interested in how the covers were delivered and how they were different than thinking about my family and stocking stuffers.
Total:: 44— Keep your eyes peeled for this album as the paper is flying Christmas morning—it’s probably going to be there.
To read our review guide lines, go here.