If you like your Christmas music with a bit more “bounce,” then this album has it in stockings full to overflowing. Marked by the inclusion of younger artists’ presents for your listening ears, ‘Tis The Season To Be Gotee has a joyful sense of the season that encompasses both the church hymns of Christmas and popular secular pieces to keep your party, car, or personal listening device popping like corn in the fireplace.
Starting with the first of three Relient K offerings, the album launches a rolling version of “Silver Bells,” before House of Heroes belts out a shockingly upbeat version of “All I Want For Christmas.” Ayiesha Woods reminds us of Gotee’s hip-hop/R&B heritage with her own “Jingle Bells,” which leaves no room for silence or stillness: by track three, if you’re not humming, tapping, or snapping, then you must not have a Christmas pulse.
Poor Abandon Kansas gets saddled with the job of settling us down a bit with “O Come All Ye Faithful” and succeeds for about the first stanza. This arrangement is dialed back compared to the first few songs, but that’s no pushover on the rockin’ chart either. House of Heroes’ middle entrant, “Silent Night,” is actually the one that brings things to a slow, near-standstill. Still, it’s beautiful and choir-like, and it sets the stage for Stephanie Smith’s crystal-clear “I Celebrate The Day” (which Matt Thiessen of Relient K wrote). I found Woods’ “Merry Christmas Baby” to be skippable, but Smith’s RAUCOUS “Jingle Bell Rock” makes me stop and listen to a song that I’ve never been able to stand; it’s just that energetic.
Relient K sandwiches House of Heroes’ “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” between two of their own hymns, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “O Holy Night.” I’m just a big fan of both of the groups, and their Christmas work is more than decent: it rocks, rolls, and thrives in providing a powerful soundtrack to your thoughts on Christmas whether you’re riding around in your car or decorating the tree. The songs will remind you about the birth of Christ, the hope we have in him, and our opportunity to better the lives of others through our generosity. Seems like that’s a good start to Christmas to me!