13 or XIV Days of Christmas: Day 8

And now for the second post of the day. It’s Christmas Eve night, the perfect time to spotlight my favorite Christmas song and quite possibly my favorite hymn ever, “O Holy Night”. The first version of this song I have for you today is my favorite, a rock version performed by Barlow Girl.  I was thrilled to be able to get the girls in my high school pop/rock choir Unity to perform this back when I was a part of that group, and now I get to share it with you all. This version has it all; smooth harmonies, heavily guitar, violins, and power. What more could a fan of rock and Christmas ask for? Not much:

As awesome as that was, the song doesn’t really need anything extra to shine. That’s one of the great things about this hymn: it’s beauty and power are almost entirely self-contained in the melody. All it needs is a good voice to sing it. So I’ll cap you off with one of the finer voices around, that of Broadway and Glee star Lea Michele.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and experience the awe and majesty of this Holy night.



13 or XIV Days of Christmas: Day 6

Alright folks, today I promised you something totally different from yesterday, and this is me delivering on that promise. Yesterday, we rocked out with My Chemical Romance on a cover of an already modern pop hit; today we’ll calm down a bit and listen as Nicole C. Mullen covers an old but wonderful Christmas hymn.

If you’ve ever heard of Nicole before, you know why she’s on my list: she has an amazingly beautiful voice. I don’t mean that she belts out high notes like Christina Aguilera or Kelly Clarkson (although she actually probably can belt a lot of them if she wants), I mean that she knows how to give a song the perfect little nuances it requires to reach out from the radio and touch you personally. I’ve said before that I like my music with a heavy dose of emotion, and you can hear that perfectly in Nicole’s music. So, interestingly, I like Nicole for the same reason I like Foxy Shazam, My Chemical Romance, or Avenged Sevenfold. They sound nothing alike, but they all have that special way of singing that conveys their music to the listener as something more than just a catchy tune. The difference between Nicole and the others is that she doesn’t have to belt to get her point across. Sometimes she says it loud, and just as often she says it quietly, but she always says it clearly. She is ever aware of the mood and how to use it to express the heart of what she is singing.

Today’s cover is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. This song is one of my favorite hymns, and it’s the perfect one for Nicole. Some people just go through the motions when they sing this song, just like any other holiday tune, but that doesn’t really work. This is a prayer, a proclamation. This is a song of desire, of redemption, and of everlasting hope. The singer is asking the Savior to come and save the people from this rough world, to save them from the oppression which they (the Israelites) have undergone in exile.  She is telling us that He will come. You probably know that that’s what the song is about, but when you hear Nicole sing it, you’ll understand.