North Point Christmas: Let There Be Light
Christmas music usually falls into two categories; the new and the old. When Christmas time rolls around, roughly half of the new music you hear will be rerecordings of Christmas classics and the other half will be original Christmas tunes. North Point’s new Christmas album, Let There Be Light, has a rather even split of the two. The church that brings in roughly 30,000 every week has put their hat in the ring this year contributing to the season’s Christmas music. The album features various worship leaders and artists from the church that all have come together to make something special for the season.
Kicking off the album is “Hallelujah”. The song takes its verses from the classic “Oh Holy Night”, its bridge from Handel’s “Messiah”, and features an original chorus. It’s a conglomerate of Christmas favorites, but manages to come across more of a worship tune than a Christmas song. Following is the also worshipful “Dawn Is Breaking”. The lyrics focus on the Christmas message. The chorus proclaims “Life your eyes, lift your eyes. The dawn is breaking”. The song is very memorable, and a great worship tune, but sadly feels out of place on a Christmas album. Next up is the first Christmas cover on the album, “Oh Holy Night”. The track features an acoustic rendition of the classic song and really sets itself apart after the first chorus. “What Child is This” stands out as sticking closest to its original sound and the original “Unto Us” falls victim to sounding too much like a worship song instead of a Christmas song. Next is a cover of my personal favorite classic Christmas song in “Emmanuel Come (O Come, O Come Emmanuel)”. The verses stay true to the original, but the chorus is an original composition. It definitely shakes up the classic version, but in a way that feels refreshing.
"I Heard the Bells” is another prime example of transforming a Christmas classic into something more modern, but “All Is Well” is a truly outstanding track. This cover of Michael W. Smith’s hit is brilliantly recorded and comes off as one of the most heartfelt recordings on the album. The final three tracks are also covers of Christmas favorites, but not ones that you would expect from a worship team. The first is “Silent Night” which you would expect from almost any worship Christmas album, and North Point gives a flawless performance of it. But the next cover is of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. Christmas songs that you’d expect from a worship band would be, well, worship songs or hymns, but North Point really throws in a couple of curves at the end of the album. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is one of the most emotionally powered recordings of the Christmas favorite that I’ve heard in a long time and stands out a highlight on the album. Finally, closing out the album, is “The Christmas Song”. The vocals from Adam Kersh are right on key for this cover and it closes out the album beautifully.
Overall, Let There Be Light is a mixed album. The half of the songs that are truly Christmas songs such as “Emmanuel Come” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” are sure to get you in the Christmas mood for hot cocoa by the fire and remembrance of the Christmas story. But others on the album such as “Dawn Is Breaking” and even “I Heard The Bells” feel too much like modern worship songs instead of Christmas songs. That’s not to say that these are poor songs in any way, but they would definitely fit in much better with a full worship album as opposed to one that is about Christmas. Overall, I enjoyed Let There Be Light. Some songs are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit, but others are gems that you can carry around all year long.
Written by Ben Mills for hearitfirst.com