Music review by Luchae Williams
Christian music blue-eyed boy Jeremy Camp released his collection of Christmas songs, titled Christmas: God With Us in 2012. Well-known for his contemporary, pop-rock style, Camp has taken some of the more popular festive classics and given them new life.
Camp’s rock influence can clearly be heard in the anthem, Hark The Herald Angels Sing. The track has been spruced up with electric guitar and mod production elements. Another favourite, Joy To The World, is also given a more urban flavour, with Camp adding his own bridge to the song, instantly creating a moment of worship.
I was also caught up in the singer’s poignant rendition of O Little Town of Bethlehem. He once again adds his own bridge to the classic, taking the listener into a moment of free worship.
Other Christmas ballads found on the album are Away In a Manger, Mary Did You Know and one of my favourite festive songs, O Come O Come Emmanuel. The latter has a beautiful acoustic guitar and string accompaniment, eventually building up as Camp belts out “Rejoice!/Rejoice!/Emmanuel/Shall come to thee/O Israel!”
Besides the traditional hymns, Camp also does covers of three secular Christmas songs. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is kept mellow and melodic and Let It Snow has a fun jive to it. Album opener, Jingle Bell Rock, comes complete with Christmas bells, a groovy guitar solo and the fun singalong element that the song is well known for.
I enjoyed Camp’s only original offering, on the album. The mid-tempo, guitar-driven title track, God With Us, has a simple arrangement and easy-to-learn melody. Lyrically, it is uncomplicated and biblically it’s sound, with a chorus that says: “Emmanuel/Our humble King/We give you our hearts as an offering/You laid down your crown and became as dust/Emmanuel, God with us.”
With guitar solos, a solid rock influence and Camp’s amazing husky tone, this album has quickly grown on me. I enjoyed hearing all my favourite Christmas songs untampered with, and appreciated the newly-added hooks and bridges that move this festive album into a worship space. The songs are produced with excellence, and I love the clean, modern feel that it holds, while still proclaiming the message: Christ is born! I really enjoyed this one.