Capitol Kids Christmas
Reviewed By: Michelle C. Danko
Record Label: Capitol Music Group and Star Song Music
Price: $9.99 USD (iTunes and Capitol Christian Distribution)
Released: October 14, 2014
Capitol Kids Christmas one of three albums done by CMG and Star Song Music. It included all of the traditional Christmas carols that parents grew up with and some new ones. However, these songs are not sung like traditional Christmas carols. They are directly aimed at children and contain a contemporary Christian feel that your kids will love!
The songs are bold, playful, energetic, beautiful, and … relatable.
Jingle Bells: This rendition of “Jingle Bells” is the full rock version of the song. It is upbeat, up tempo, and sung playfully with a lot of energy. After the chorus, different “fillers” have been added to increase the pace of the song and make it more engaging. At the beginning, they sing “la la la” after the chorus. After the second chorus, instead of the regular chorus, the music increases in tempo and goes into the “alternative lyrics” that many children know so well. Parents may not appreciate these words, but I have listed them in case you haven’t heard the age-old revision to the original:
“Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg.
Batmobile lost a wheel and Joker got away.”
Deck The Halls: Deck the Halls has a rock feel to it, and again is very fast paced. It sounds very contemporary, yet the lyrics are sung traditionally without anything being added to it. The chorus goes into a round robin of vocals that is very harmonious and adds to the song. A bit of synth at the end gives it that updated feel.
Twelve Days of Christmas: Fast paced, rock sound to a traditional Christmas carol. “Amusing” musings before the sixth day when the singers ask what some of the gifts are and respond with “I don’t know”. The conversation criticizes the gifts as not being very pleasant (to a child). Parents may laugh at the addition to the song (it is funny) but some may not appreciate the humor as it may have a negative effect on the children who listen to it (kids may think that it’s o.k. to voice their unappreciation of gifts).
The exact lyrics are as follows:
“What’s a partridge and what’s a pear tree? I don’t know, so please don’t ask me. But I can bet they are terrible gifts to get.”
Born is the King: Marching drum sound added to the song. The pace is a little slower at the beginning and sung reverently with praise to God. As the song goes into the chorus, the music goes into more of a salsa feel in terms of the beat. Vocals sound exceptional on this track with different singers singing different parts simultaneously.
Joy to the World: Joy to the World was done traditionally and with full verses. It is such a classic song, that nothing truly needs to be added to it. I really enjoyed in the middle of the song they added the phrase “Joy, Unspeakable Joy…”. It is sung with such conviction, that the listener feels it. The listener not only feels just joy, but the unspeakable joy of Jesus.
It’s Christmas: It’s Christmas has a slower dance feel to it. It talks about truly praising the birth of Jesus and the celebration of Christmas. It is about the true meaning of Christmas, not the commercialism of the holiday. The song goes into a bit of “Go Tell it on the Mountain” in the middle of it.
Angels We Have Heard on High: Angels We Have Heard on High is sung sweetly during the first two verses of the song. The chorus goes into a praise and worship sound which makes those who listen to this version envision what angels might sound like while praising God.
Away in a Manger: This song had been redone from its original slow paced version to a more driving beat. Arrangement was changed a bit in the second verse. The phrase “Jesus, Jesus” is sung between verses as a chorus to the song.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing contains a very funky arrangement in the beginning with a lot of grace notes. It is sung with a great deal of joy and conviction. It sounds a bit chaotic in places in terms of timing between instruments and vocalists.
The First Noel: Opens with a wonderful sounding reverb. It has a very electric synth sound to it. The song sounds very grandiose and full sounding. The music changes to a bit of rap in the beginning which only adds to the song. Great updated rendition of a family favorite.
Do you Hear What I Hear?: Do you Hear What I Hear is sung so sweetly and ethereally. The vocals and harmonies are very well blended and sound beautiful to the traditional form of the song.
Somebody’s Angel: Tinkling piano music and chimes open this song. It talks about people who are hurting over the Christmas season. It suggests that we bring hope and joy to those people who are alone this festive holiday season. We might be their “angel” and what they need at this very moment. It says not to miss an opportunity to show someone the love of Christ.
O Holy Night: Bells jingle softly in the background. This song is sung simply and beautifully. Hints of violin and cello add to the richness of the song. This version of O Holy Night is the most impactful song that I have ever heard, and best musical accompaniment.
Go Tell it on the Mountain: Go Tell it on the Mountain is sung very sweetly. Not to much was changed from the original version.
O Come, All Ye Faithful: This version completely revamped the arrangement of this classic song into a minor key and sped up the tempo. It is turned into a praise song from more of a traditional ballad. They included a dance sound with rap. Elements of it sound very much like Britt Nicole’s Gold. Very vibrant way to end the album.
I enjoyed most of the album and how they changed up the songs from the traditional way they have been done. They made them more “kid friendly” by making them sound contemporary and in a genre that children listen to. They also diversified the genres meaning that it is not entirely dance, rap, rock or ballads, but a mixture of each so as to appeal to every child’s musical preference. I enjoy the fact that it has a wide appeal.
My only concern, as a parent, were the first two songs. They are admittedly funny (although I shouldn’t really be laughing), but really inappropriate. I know that children are familiar with the entire “alternate lyrics” to Jingle Bells as they have been for generations, but it is not something that I really want my children reciting. It seems to take away from the meaning of the song and is seemingly disrespectful.
Also, the lyrics in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” I wouldn’t want my children repeating either. It has an attitude of disrespect when a child says, “But I can bet those are terrible gifts to get.”. While it may be true in a child’s eyes, you never want your children to actually think it’s o.k. to tell someone that their gift is not acceptable, nor do you want them thinking that it is acceptable not to be appreciative.
To put it in perspective, the song was written in 1780 for children, and yet the meaning has yet to be deciphered. Many claim there is a significance with all of the gifts and some have claimed to know what it means, but none of the findings are truly conclusive. All we know is that all of the gifts have a meaning to them, and may best be left to the imagination of those choosing to find significance in the lyrics.
Aside from the first two songs, the rest of the album is very well done. The listener hears the children praising God and it is felt- very strongly in some songs- by those who hear it. It will surely bring praises to your children’s lips as they sing along to their favorites, and I think that the way in which they are sung will bring the true reason for Christmas to your children’s spirit.
As for my children, they loved the album and played it repeatedly. My older children actively listened and danced to the entire album while my twenty month old still “rocks out” to the tunes.
Your children will love this Christmas album designed especially for them!
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