A Near Thing -27

Let’s throw the (good) book at the topic: a little religiosity while we circle in on the 25th of December is appropriate. Don’t just go to church at midnight Mass and call it good. Keep kneeling all the days.

Playful soul R+B is fecund ground for a gospel message, but “Almost Christmas Time” by The Willing Workers (feat. Lil D, The Candyman, Chynosoul & Big E) is hard to take seriously. Thanking JC for the underbelly of culture with a joyous swing, however understated, sounds off.

The Kumbaya folk lilt of Joanna McMorris sells the message better. But “It’s Almost Christmas” comes in as too measured and carefully worded to reach into the soul and produce awe/dread/love. It’s just a pretty song.

The over-ochestrated showtune quality of “I Love When Christmas is Just Around the Corner” brings the power of the sacrifice of god-as-man into the restrained gentility of a hummable tune. Marina Pierce and Christopher Puckett run arpeggios of notes ’round the reason for the season. Not getting it–

I do get Jason Gray’s over-produced joyous “Christmas is Coming” (Will You be There?). It’s a call-to-arms to be innocent and hopeful with enormous chorus back up. A bit modern, but successfully done. (Maybe it’s the pop country overtones….)

Laurie Klassen bangs the piano ragtime style (add synth-trumpets!) to beat the drum for “Christmas Time is Almost Here.” It’s folk pop that preaches with syncopation (how many syllable can YOU get out of Amen?).

Okay, less is more. Jars of Clay sneaks the Savior in poetically to “Almost Christmas.” It’s a plodding folk walk in the snow that evokes mystery and loneliness. But it’s soft as a pop prayer trailing promise and passion in its waltzing wake. Thanks.