33Miles – Believe


INO/Columbia

Released November 9 2010

Reviewed By Tyler Hess

To most of us 33Miles is coming out with a brand new Christmas album titled “Believe”, but I’m sure a good number of you recognize it as an exclusive deal that Family Christian Stores had last year, to which many people don’t have access.  So now if you’re a fan of 33Miles and live out in the middle of nowhere like I do then you too can check out the Christmas offerings of Jason Barton and Chris Lockwood.

Believe starts off with a mash-up of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Sing To The King” and it doesn’t take long to figure out what this band is like even without having picked up their prior releases, with a mixture of that southern country and contemporary Christian music that is very Nashville in it’s essence.  “Finally Christmas” follows suit with an original song of their own with the thought of Christmas not really being right until having that special someone there with you to celebrate.  “Joy To The World” continues the early upbeat part of the album with the fastest version I’ve ever heard that finishes off with somebody’s kid singing it off key, something that I’ve never understood why so many Christian artists think is funny and clever.  “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” brings out a stark contrast with a very slow and simple acoustic track that shows off the soulful side of 33Miles.  After that, we get one of the blandest versions of “O Holy Night” I’ve heard this year (as everyone and their mama has covered this wonderful song this year), followed by the simple and delicate version of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”.  “I Could Not Come To You” sounds a lot like a contemporary worship song about how we couldn’t come to Christ until He came to us that just happens to be set in the scene of the Nativity.  “O Come O Come Emmanuel” might be the emotionally sung track on the album and would probably translate really well live I imagine.  “I Believe In Christmas” is one of those tear-jerker Christmas stories along the lines of “Christmas Shoes” that fits well with the country sound that permeates through all of their songs.  Believe comes to a close with a medley of “Away In A Manger”, “Silent Night” and “The First Noel” and trails off into the distance.

Anyone who has followed this site over the years can probably testify that this really isn’t my type of thing, but I do like to give things a try as often as I can.  Sometimes I’m surprised and I find a winner among a field of thorns, but this wasn’t really one of those times that a mixed metaphor is going to help me, as I found most of the album to be okay at best, but nothing that really gets me more excited about Christmas.  There were a few songs in here that I hadn’t already heard a hundred times in the last two months, which is nice, but the ones I had heard before weren’t thought out incredibly well or performed better than other artists, making this an overall listen that I could have easily passed over.

Grade: C-

Tracklisting:

  1. O Come All Ye Faithful/Sing To The King
  2. Finally Christmas
  3. Joy To The World
  4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  5. O Holy Night
  6. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  7. I Could Not Come To You
  8. O Come O Come Emmanuel
  9. I Believe In Christmas
  10. Away In A Manger/Silent Night/The First Noel
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