By Sarah Merkel The artist simply known as Mandisa became a household name as she entered the final rounds of “American Idol’s” fifth season. After her debut album, fans were craving more and Mandisa decided to expand on her four song EP to produce a new holiday album called It’s Christmas. Soulful and original, It’s Christmas is a rip roarin’ good time… if you’re into gospel music.
Creativity:: 4 Although this album is comprised of mainly traditional songs, they are performed with a black gospel feel that adds in some great horn parts. Vocally, Mandisa takes the songs to new heights, even though her vocals don’t seem to reach as high as she would like.
Original Songs:: 7 There are two original songs on this album, “Christmas Day” featuring Michael W. Smith and “Christmas Makes Me Cry” with Matthew West. Both songs have great lyrics and a warm feel. The addition of male vocalists adds to the dynamics of this project.
Classic Covers:: 4 Comprised mostly of covers, Mandisa does a nice job on songs like “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” and on Stevie Wonder’s “What Christmas Means to Me”. However, Mandisa’s renditions of “Little Drummer Boy,” “O Holy Night,” and “Feliz Navidad” are overdone and poorly executed.
Musical Score:: 8 The background music was full and lively, offering the listener the sounds of a Christmas concert. The horn players on this album did an exceptional job with near-perfect intonation and pitch.
Overall Holly Jolliness:: 6 Fans of the gospel genre will be sure to find themselves in the Christmas spirit after listening to It’s Christmas.
Total Score= 29. This is a great stocking stuffer for that hard-to-buy-for-gospel-loving-person on your Christmas list.
To read our review guide lines, go here.
You can find It’s Christmas 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!
Sarah Merkel is a social worker specializing in adoptions, even though she though has a degree in music. When she’s not rockin’ out to Guitar Hero or getting into trouble with Amy (Sondova), she’s playing trombone with Grace Notes Gospel Big Band. Sarah has the tedious responsibility of editing Amy’s first drafts, and if Backseat Writer ever makes any money, Sarah will manage the finances. Plus, in the event that Amy becomes incapacitated Sarah will assume site responsibilities, sort of like the vice-president.