Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TobyMac: Christmas In Diverse City Review


It’s been nine years since TobyMac released his “This Christmas” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” singles, and a year since the “Christmas This Year” single featuring Leigh Nash of Six Pence None the Richer. It only seems natural that TobyMac would finally deliver a full-length Christmas album for his fans. But fans of Toby and the Diverse City Band will be delighted by Christmas In Diverse City for one special reason: the first six songs are delivered by Toby (three of which feature stellar guest appearances), while the second set of songs are delivered by the Diverse City Band! It definitely makes for a creative and diverse Christmas album, and the rock/hip-hop genre of the album will be a thrill for fans of more upbeat Christmas tunes. 

The exciting “Christmas This Year” single, featuring Leigh Nash, kicks things off, speaking of the thrill of Christmas, and the greatest gift that God gave us. Honestly, Leigh Nash’s voices sounded even more stellar than ever through this brilliant opening track. “The First Noel” is no doubt the #1 highlight from this Christmas project, featuring Owl City! His unmistakable vocals were perfect for this Christmas tune, and a rap bridge by Toby added a ton. The pop, acoustic guitar “Mary’s Boy Child” features Jamie-Grace, and it’s no surprise as the genre is much like her own. 

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” reappears on Toby’s Christmas album, but it was redone in a more refreshing manner. Following is “The Little Drummer Boy,” not the best version of this beloved Christmas carol I’ve heard, but ingenuity was added by pounding drums and key changes in addition to the electronic vocal effects. “This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless)” featuring Nirva Ready was also remade for this Christmas album, speaking of an orphan’s wish on December 25th for a family. But as much as I loved the original, this version pumps things up a bit, with a more upbeat piano pop sound. It also closes part one of Christmas In Diverse City

The Diverse City Band’s half of the Christmas album opens with “Carol of the Kings” a “Christian” version of “Carol of the Bells,” performed by Maj, and featuring Gabe Real & Liquid. The haunting choirs for the chorus were stunning. An original, dance/pop track with a hip-hop twist, titled “Birth of Love” (performed by Superherose) speaks of celebrating the birth of Jesus, Who is love, while Arch Nemesiz covers “What Child is This?” perfectly, adding a verse about the Word made flesh being pierced through with nails for our sins. 

Tim Rosenau’s original “It Snowed,” a driving rock anthem, speaks of the season’s first snowfall, and is therefore humorous, while the gorgeous “Angels We Have Heard on High” is performed by Nirva Ready, adding in a bit of Mary’s Magnificat. And with a bit of a funk twist, “Santa’s Comin’ Baka’round!” is an original by “toddiefunk.” Things then close up with Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chamber’s “Christmas Time,” about the peace of Christmas and the “reason for the season.” 

Christmas In Diverse City is a real treat for the Christmas season. Fans of TobyMac and the Diverse City, plus Jamie Grace, Leigh Nash, and Owl City will definitely want to pick up this Christmas album for some creative, innovative, and fresh Christmas tunes!

Rating: 4/5
Release date: October 4, 2012

Track listing:

TobyMac:
1. Christmas This Year (feat. Leigh Nash)
2. The First Noel (feat. Owl City)
3. Mary’s Boy Child (feat. Jamie Grace)
4. O Come, All Ye Faithful (2011 version)
5. Little Drummer Boy
6. This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless) (feat. Nirva Ready)

DiverseCity: 
7. Carol of the Kings (Maj feat. Gabe Real & Liquid)
8. Birth of Love (Superherose)
9. What Child is This (Arch Newmesiz)
10. It Snowed (Tim Rosenau)
11. Angels We Have Heard on High (Nirva Ready)
12. Santa’s Comin’ Baka’round! (toddiefunk)
13. Christmas Time (Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers)

2 comments:

  1. Real good album review for the new tobyMac Christmas album. Looking forward to getting this album as soon as I can. I will be seeing tobyMac with Jamie Grace at my church on October 17th. It should be real awesome. I hope to get a cool shirt, poster, and his new Christmas album to complete my tobyMac collection with all of his albums and both of his DVD's and his book too. You know I am a big tobyMac fan already. I just haven't seen tobyMac in a long time in a concert. Looking forward to the concert.

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  2. Awesome Christmas album from tobyMac I love it I can't stop listening to it since it is such a awesome album. I got it at the tobyMac and Jamie Grace which was totally awesome and I loved it. I also got a tobyMac Tonight shirt and poster along the One Song At A Time album from Jamie Grace and a poster for Jamie Grace. I will be listening to this album a lot this Christmas along my other Christmas music :) tobyMac rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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