Prime Cuts: Hallelujah Chorus, O Holy Night, Star
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
Christmas songs have such gorgeous melodies that it is easy to sing them in auto-pilot mode. And because the tunes already have such alluring prowess, many artists have adopted a sloppiness in making a festive record. Hence, many Christmas records are nothing more than professional karaoke. This is not so with David Dunn. Though 3 out of the 5 cuts here are covers, each of them is re-imagined with creativity, forethought and meaning. Sonically, Dunn imbues each track with an amalgamation of both wooden and electronic instruments making this record sound contemporary yet without abandoning the traditional noir often associated with the season.
Dunn opens the EP with "O Holy Night." Whilst most version of this worship ballad veers on the extravagant - with lush strings and a big dynamic finale, Dunn offers a minimalistic rendering. This allows us to focus more on the words than the mode of the song's execution. Most creative and the best among the pentad of songs is Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." Though it might sound bizarre on paper, but this 1741 piece gets an EDM/pop makeover. But it actually works with flying colors. Almost sounding like a new song, with the melodic progression reworked into a contemporary worship song yet retaining its signature riffs, this is a must-hear. "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" is average without the ability to perk our attention as the aforementioned two cuts.
Then we segue into the two Dunn originals. "Snowflakes" isn't your typical maudlin excuse to cozy up by the fireplace song. Rather, the song embeds a vital theological lesson of the majesty of snowflakes. If each snowflake bears its own individual imprint, what about us, who are far more precious than snowflakes? The title cut and current single "Star" is a stylistic departure for Dunn. Relinquishing any trace of EDM, "Star" is a piano-based ballad that is easily one of Dunn's most moving piece. Letting his imagination run, "Star" is the sequel to the story of "We Three Kings" told with verve, intrigue, and feelings. If you want a Christmas record put together with creativity and abounding with piquant spiritual truths, check this out.