Perhaps the most important thing I can say about His Kids Christmas, Volume 1 is that my eight-year-old likes it, sings along with it, and sings the songs from the album when the music isn’t playing. So by that metric alone, I recommend this album for a Christian family’s holiday rotation.
I am picky about music made for kids. I’ve been on the hunt for Christian children?s music like the Maranatha Kids records I listened to as a kid in the 80?s?either hymns, choruses, or Scripture memory songs sung by kids and intended for kids, but sung well, with some harmony and in tune. Most albums I find are overly trendy, of poor musical quality, or just plain annoying. The His Kids sample I heard sounded good and the list of songs suggested the creators had included a few classic Christmas carols. It was enough to make me want to give it a chance.
With the opening song of the album, “Here We Come A-Caroling (Wassail Song),” I was reminded of another childhood favorite, which opened with the same: Disney’s All-Time Favorite Christmas Songs (feat. Larry Groce). The comparison holds up fairly well for the slower, more traditional songs (“O Come, O Come, Emanuel,” “Away in a Manger,” and “Christmas Time is Here”). These are lovely, non-synthesized sounding contributions to this collection, with children and perhaps one or two adults with very lovely voices singing in pleasing union or harmony.
But this is an album for kids who are used to hearing pop music sounds, so there are definitely some jazzy, hip-hop sounding pieces. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is a pop rendition with a very strong beat; my daughter starting doing her Christmas parade jazz choreography to it (but I still prefer the traditional hymn). Our favorite newer tunes are “Light of Christmas” and “No Better Holiday.” The former was already a favorite from Owl City, and the original electronic sound receives a good treatment here. But I’m not a huge fan of the super-synthesized selections in this album. The general consensus at my house is that we could do without “All I Have to Give” and “I Hope This Gets to You,” but everyone is going to have their favorites.
“Jingle Bells” features a slightly off-key tiny kid voice, which we think is adorable. All the same, I applaud the creators for not overdoing that feature by using it in other songs. This is good album for giving kids exposure to well-sung music. I am happy to recommend this album for parents and kids who want to keep the true meaning of Christmas in focus, and who enjoy singing along.
I received a free copy of this album in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.