The King Has Arrived, by Michael J Tinker, album review:

Simply put, this album is fun and faithful!

OVERVIEW:

Michael J Tinker has been doing a fantastic job of creating great musical resources for families and for churches with his previous albums and The King Has Arrived is another hit. Aimed at children, this album tells both the narrative of the Christmas story and teaches the context and significance of Christmas in the whole of salvation history, helping children to see the wonder of Christmas and God’s incredible Gospel.

The album tracks alternate between songs and a narrative, following characters from his previous albums, with Michael and crew hurtling through time, thanks to a time-travelling toaster.

This album is perhaps aimed at slightly older children than the average children’s album, so if you have really wee ones some of it might go over their heads. But The King has Arrived is so rich in Biblical truth that I think this album could be great for any age, giving children Bible truths to grow into and hold on to.

It’s definitely a Christmas album, but it’s done in a way that families and children could listen to all year round. Sleigh bells do not feature in every song; some of you will be glad to hear. Adults will love all the different nods to Christmas songs and musos will love all the different musical genres Michael explores.

HOW CAN I USE THIS ALBUM?:

It’s kind of got the feel of a musical, telling one big story, breaking out into song at the most exciting points. So it’s the perfect road trip listen for families. Though maybe you’re having less long journeys at the moment with covid. But maybe families instead could use this as something to listen to over advent. Learning these songs together would be wonderful! Definitely do stick it on in the car too! Your kids will probably memorise the fun dialogue as well as the brilliant songs.

If you’re hoping to use this in your church setting, I think there’s a number that you could teach either in your services, kids’ groups or live stream/pre-recorded services. (See below for those particular songs.) And while we can’t sing in buildings together at the moment, take advantage of the fact that we can still do actions enthusiastically! Definitely encourage all adults to get stuck in too, (they might not realise it, but it’s good for them!). If you lead the music in your church, you’ll also love the musical variety of these songs.

 Some songs on The King Has Arrived I would say are perhaps too wordy to teach easily to all ages (because they’re so full of Bible – which is a mega PLUS!), but I think they could well be a perfect resource because of the current covid restrictions. Perhaps you could use these songs in services/kids’ groups as ones to listen to in advent or in Christmas services with puppets or people (socially distanced or from the same bubble) acting out what’s happening for them to watch. For a holiday club a few years ago I did some basic backdrops, printed out characters and stuck them on kebab sticks to make ‘puppets’ to act out to music. It works! Because there is such wonderful story telling in Michael’s album, it would be perfect for teaching Gospel truths, pointing children to what is most exciting about Christmas: JESUS! So get creative! (Or find people who can be.)

For a starter, these tracks would work well for this:

The Heavenly Choir would be super fun to act out with puppets as the angels appear to the shepherds! Kids love a singing puppet (unless they have a puppet phobia…)!

The First Christmas Song is a lovely little narrative song!

HIGHLIGHTS:

He’s Here is a brilliant song teaching about the incarnation. ‘He’s here! He’s the “yes” to all God’s plans. He’s here, fully God and fully man.’  I think this one is a great one for helping children to see God’s wonderful plan from before time began to come to us and make a way for us to be with Him in Christ. A really heart-warming song!

Down, Down was waaay my favourite, with its Beach Boys vibe and tubular bells. This song will properly stick in your head, and it’s got great truths, so that’s a good thing!This track is sure to get your children dancing round the room (and maybe even you!).

I think it would be a really fun one to teach to the whole church family. It’s got a lot of content, but that gives you lots of chance to get creative with the actions! (Just make sure you definitely include the ‘ba duba duba duba’s.) 

The King Has Arrived. All mini-moshers will love this one! Pop rock and sleigh bells, why doesn’t that combo happen more often?! Kids will be shouting this chorus.

God’s Special Son is Here would be an awesome one to teach your church family or in your kids groups. Slow verses and fast choruses always go down well. Even if we can’t sing it altogether yet, I think you could do a lot with actions. (And don’t forget to do the yodelling at the end! If children find singing faithful songs fun, what a joy!)

Michael puts loads of stuff on his website (https://michaeljtinker.com), so go check it out and GET THIS ALBUM for your family, nieces & nephews, grandkids or children’s teams at church. 

Rebekah Tubbs

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