Francesca Battistelli: Christmas
Dove Music Awards 2011 Artist of the Year, Francesca Battistelli is the new name in Christian music. With over 700,000 record sales since her debut in 2008 with My Paper Heart, she is quickly climbing the charts in her genre. While I’ve heard her name tossed around, Christmas was my first exposure to this up-and-coming, and after an initial listen, I can see the appeal! Battistelli has pipes! The girl can sing, but she also has a smidge of lilt to her voice that makes the whole listening experience unique and charming.
Releasing a Christmas album only 4 years after your debut says something about your career. Unless you’re Bing Crosby – who was made to sing Christmas music – most artists don’t release Christmas albums until they are old and dried up, and feel like maybe the rasp in their voice will add “character” to holiday classics. A Christmas album four years in says that you know you’ve got talent, and you plan to stay around a while.
Christmas is a unique compilation of classics and new tunes. Must haves like “A Christmas Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” accompany “Joy to the World” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain” to produce a very merry vibe indeed. There are also a few lesser known titles thrown in, for example “Marshmallow World” (which I really thought my dad just made up) and “O Come O Come Emmanuel” (probably one of my favorite Christmas songs ever).
Of the 11 tracks, almost half are new songs – and it is these songs that make or break a Christmas album. We all love the classics, but our favorite Christmas albums have a few new-to-us songs on there that break up the 55 different renditions of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” we hear at the mall, in the gas station, and on the radio. (I have the distinct impression that this song was only cute the very first time it was ever sung.)
In this department, I think Battistelli succeeded nicely.
“Christmas Dreams” is the quintessential Christmas song. It’s smooth with a jazzy piano feel to it, it builds melodically as the concept of Christmas wishes and joys threads itself through the song. It’s little kids, and oodles of presents, and gleeful smiles Christmas morning. You can close your eyes and feel the hot cocoa and tinsel and lights.
By far one of the best songs on the album is “You’re Here.” I have a personal bias for songs from Mary’s point of view, and the bar for me is definitely “Breath of Heaven.” While this track doesn’t quite top “Breath” it falls closely in its shadow. First of all, it doesn’t sound Christmasy, which is nice. Secondly, the message and rhyme are pitch perfect.”You’re here…/I’m staring into the face of my Savior/King and Creator/He could have left us on our own/But you’re here.”
All in all, this is a solid Christmas album. It has the traditional feel of an at-home Christmas, but with a few surprises, the biggest one being Miss Battistelli’s lovely voice. It soars and floats over the notes, drawing you into each song, you can’t help but want to listen to the next one. This album is cheery, fun, reverent, and bright. If you listen to a new record this holiday season, pick Christmas, you’ll be glad you did!
Posted on November 26, 2012, in Music and tagged Bing Crosby, Breath of Heaven, Christmas, Francesca Battistelli, Go Tell it on the Mountain, Have Yourself a Merry LIttle Christmas, Joy to the World. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.