Album Review: Mandisa, “It’s Christmas (Christmas Angel Edition)”

ALBUM TITLE: It’s Christmas (Christmas Angel Edition)
ARTIST: Mandisa
BEST TRACK/S: It’s Christmas, What Christmas Means to Me, Somebody’s Angel, Christmas Bell Medley, Christmas Makes Me Cry, Christmas Day, Children Go Where I Send Thee

Contemporary Christian superstar Mandisa has released It’s Christmas, the Christmas Angel Edition, in digital and CD formats in the United States, and House of Praise has brought this Yuletide release to Philippine shores for Php495.

It’s Christmas (The Christmas Angel Edition) is a repackaged version of the original 2008 release, which was, in turn, a work-up from the Christmas Joy EP released in 2007. From five songs in the Christmas Joy EP, It’s Christmas (The Christmas Angel Edition) now features a budget-friendly twelve songs.

How does It’s Christmas (The Christmas Angel Edition) fare? Not surprisingly, Mandisa’s latest Yuletide release is a satisfying collection of both catchy originals and new takes on classic fare. The album kicks off with the pop-rock-leaning It’s Christmas, an easy sing-along favorite. Producer Christopher Stephens has his name stamped all over this one, and it’s a likeable opener for the album. As early as now, the song is getting airplay on Christian AC.

The next track, Somebody’s Angel is the carrier single off this release. This ballad about stepping out in faith to be a blessing to others this Christmastime, is the theme song off the Gospel Music Channel original movie of the same title. Poignant and touching, Somebody’s Angel is finely produced and expertly sung.

What Christmas Means to Me is a carryover from It’s Christmas, and one of my personal favorites. I always love a brass section – synthetic or otherwise – and this sassy number is gorgeous. Of course, there are two number one tracks on this release. In addition to the number one hit It’s Christmas, a duet with Michael W. Smith, the album also features Christmas Makes Me Cry, her duet with Matthew West.

The standout track on It’s Christmas (Christmas Angel Edition) is the Christmas Bell Medley, a brilliantly produced combination of Silver Bells, Carol Of The Bells, and Carolling, Carolling. I love the old school throwback of this medley; Brown Bannister has done it again. Children Go Where I Send Thee is another brilliant track, and that gospel choir at the end… perfection!

Overall, It’s Christmas (Christmas Angel Edition) is a satisfying collection of both old and new tracks that should appeal to younger and older listeners alike. One of the best Christmas albums out this year and certainly one of the most entertaining.

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