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For a person who vowed to be a ’singles buyer’, I seem to be on an album splurge again these days! And there’s still November and December to go through… So anyway, I caved and ordered David Archuleta’s ‘Christmas from the Heart’.
So, did I really need another Christmas album? I think so – for me, Christmas albums are special and timeless delights. I’m one of those corny people who listen almost exclusively to Christmas tunes in December, and YES, I also LOVE carolers!!! I will not only NOT be annoyed by them, but I’ll actually stop and listen awhile and enjoy the caroling darnit! Besides, I’ll bequeath my (considerable) Christmas album collection to my descendants some day.
I’ve wondered if this really is the right time for David Archuleta to be releasing a holiday cd, but hey, he does say in the liner notes that he wanted to do the album so he could share his love of Christmas (and as a gift for his fans), so (as a fellow Christmas-lover) who am I to complain? It would be pretty stating the obvious to say that David has the perfect voice for the traditional Christmas hymns – it’s that choir boy purity / bell-like clarity of his voice coupled with his rich and warm tone.
I don’t think anyone will be surprised when I say that the stand-outs on this CD for me are ‘Ave Maria‘, ‘O Holy Night‘, ‘Silent Night‘ and ‘What Child Is This‘ which David sings with heartfelt and genuine conviction. In particular, I have to emphasize how much I love his ‘Ave Maria‘ (!!!) – I’ve gotten so used to it being sung with operatic embellishments, it’s a breath of fresh air to have it sung simply and reverently, while still eliciting that strong emotional reaction that this beautiful song inspires.
I was also pleasantly surprised with how much I liked ‘Pat-A-Pan‘ (such a fun, upbeat song! And it’s French!) and ‘Riu Riu Chiu‘ (it has this wistful & yearning quality that I like, although I have no idea what the song’s Spanish lyrics are about!). Both are new-to-me Christmas songs (in a foreign language) that are excellent additions to my old favorites. So, thank you David for these two.
Jive hasn’t scrimped on production for this cd, and I enjoyed the accompanying orchestral instrumentation / background choir, (very evident on such songs as ‘Joy to the World‘, ‘Angels We Have Heard on High‘, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful‘) but above all that, it is David’s voice that is the major selling point of this album.
Okay, I’ve talked up all the positives for this album, but there are some songs I’ll be skipping in this album and unfortunately, it includes the only original song in the album. I seriously did give ‘Melodies of Christmas‘ a fair shake by listening several times (since David co-wrote it), but it just doesn’t measure up well – lyrically or melody. I don’t hate it, and it’ll probably grow on me eventually, but if I were buying just singles, I wouldn’t really get this song. (But at least, David will receive bigger royalties from this song since he did co-write it). I do get what David was going for – hell, it’s in the title – tying up all the Christmas melodies in one neat little bow.
I’ll also be skipping over ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas‘ and ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas‘. Just not enjoying these songs like the traditional ones. Charice Pempengco does a great job on the duet with David, but for some strange reason, I’ve never liked this song. Like ever. I would have preferred to have David sing ‘Mary Did You Know’ or ‘Grown Up Christmas Wish’ instead, if Jive wanted to add “newer” (relatively speaking) songs to the album. Or maybe, they could have added more foreign language Christmas songs? (** speaking of, anyone out there with foreign language Christmas carol recommendations?) But I will add that I’m very thankful that David/Jive did not add any ‘novelty’ songs in this cd, especially since his voice would’ve been totally wasted on them.
The entire cd is streaming on AOL music, so head on there for a listen, and if you like, buy, buy, buy! “Christmas From The Heart” is now available at Amazon for $9.99 (with $3.99 in savings) or as MP3 Album Download ($10.99, with savings of $2.18) OR at iTunes (also $10.99). All in all, I’m pretty pleased with my purchase and this cd will definitely be in rotation this Christmas!
ETA : Check out First Listen: David Archuleta’s ‘Christmas From the Heart’ IdolChatter’s review of David’s CD Brian Mansfield. He goes in-depth in his review.