UTR Media Blog
With the Christmas season in full swing, it’s time to dig out your favorite holiday music. And while the warmth and familiarity of Burl Ives, Whitney Houston, and Michael W. Smith churn up yuletide vibes, it’s often a bit more difficult to find new Christmas music to grow your seasonal playlist – especially well-crafted new music. After all, holiday albums (especially independent ones) can be easily missed since they are often under-marketed. And then there are so many corny, cheeseball holiday albums – it makes one want to give up hope. But alas, UTR Media is here to make things easier for you. Here is our curated list of the 6 Best Christmas Albums of 2017!
1. Immanuel – Melanie Penn
In rare cases, a Christmas album will sweep you off your feet and take you on a 40+ minute journey that lifts your spirit higher than when you started. Such was the case with Josh Garrels, Carolyn Arends, and Sarah Hart – each named by us the #1 Christmas album in prior years. This year’s honor goes to Melanie Penn. The debut Christmas album from this NYC-based singer-songwriter boasts 9 original songs and 1 carol remake, with each song sharing 10 different perspectives on the birth of Christ. The arrangements sound like a beautifully-crafted indie folk-pop album, and less like a “holiday release.” The lyrics are masterfully penned. And that voice… wow! Immanuel is the best new Christmas album of the year!
2. Sing The Bible Family Christmas – Randall Goodgame (Slugs & Bugs)
“Your task is to create an album of original songs… that’s Christmas themed… that’s kid-centric… that grown-ups will enjoy too… AND it’s word-for-word scripture.” Randall Goodgame is the only fellow we know that could pull this off with flair. This new release is so sophisticated in style that it’s not really a children’s album at all – we’re glad he uses the word “family” in the title. Several of the songs wonderfully pay homage to the Vince Guiraldi tunes that were the soundtrack of the well-loved A Charlie Brown Christmas. Others are full of whimsy and wonder. This is an album that needs to be in everyone’s holiday collection – not just kids and parents – everyone.
3. The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph’s Baby – Waterdeep
We are convinced that this album – and all 22 tracks therein – will completely knock your socks off like it did for us. Albums 1, 2, and 3 on our list are so close on our list – and we could easily understand any of these being someone’s top of the heap. While this album feels like a legit 2-disc set Waterdeep release, it’s really the companion piece of a recently released musical co-written by Waterdeep’s Don Chaffer. This means that these are all original songs (!) and all share the progressive story arc of the Biblical narrative (!). The album is full of humor, joy, and poignancy. [ read more… ]