Holiday Guide 2011: Holiday Album Roundup
HiFi’s 2011 list of holiday albums bring good tidings of comfort and joy; some are more naughty than nice
Tis’ the season to pick and pull on the festive music of the year. Ever year, another pile of new holiday albums hit retail stores, hoping to make a perfect landing in the car stereo or hopefully in someone’s stocking. 2011 brings us a few interesting titles from singer/songwriter legend Carole King and Canadian superstar crooner Michael Bublé. Although most eyes will be glued to Justin Bieber’s first holiday set this shopping season, the other seasonal releases of 2011 will probably go unnoticed. Blame it on the hustle-and-bust that comes with a dangerous recession.
But we’ve done our homework, as usual, in our Holiday Album Roundup. Check out our entries in our 2011 holiday edtion and click the links to read the full album reviews. And don’t forget: 2010’s list is featured here.
HIFI SIDEBAR: Additional albums are expected to be posted before the holidays wrap up, so be sure to bookmark and revisit the page to read new reviews and posts.
Under The Mistletoe
The last person Justin Bieber wants to be buried under mistletoe with this Christmas is a starstruck fan hungry with a paternity test in hand. Luckily, the Bieb is joined by a diverse slate of pop royalty (Boyz II Men, Usher, The Band Perry) eager to join the teen-pop star on his first egg nog toast, Under The Mistletoe.
It’s hard to imagine Canadian crooner Michael Bublé not ever singing holiday music. His chipper personality and relaxed fluidity, like a 21st century version of Blue Eyes, creates the dreamiest cozy blankets that save us all from the bitter cold of December. On his first holiday full-length disc Christmas, the smooth jazz singer gives the festive crowd something to be jolly about. Dreamy Big Band numbers are in effect (“It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”), so are the wishful arrangements of modern pop jewels (“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home”)…
She & Him
A Very She & Him Christmas
Indie-folk rock duo She & Him – made up of New Girl actress/singer Zooey Deschanel and competent Portland musician M. Ward – puts their infatuation for Beach Boy tempo and Mid-west folk into overdrive on their first holiday outing and third disc to date.
A Christmas EP
Although considered lately to be a pop recluse, Richard Marx is already working on album No. 23. The ”Right Here Waiting” singer/songwriter, known for writing a bundles of AC hits for a laundry list of big names including the Luther Vandross’ Grammy winning “Dance With My Father,” pumps out A Christmas EP as a kickstarter to his upcoming full-length holiday project for 2012.
A Ginuwine Christmas
(Notifi Music Group)
Prepare for a holly un-jolly internal ear bleed with A Ginuwine Christmas. R&B singer Ginuwine tries to squeeze the sexy into Christmas using stale urban beats and unforgiving mixed messages. On the album opener “Mistletoe,” Elgin Lumpkin uses horny “Pony” antics on weak turn-on lines that certainly trivialize the popular porn-and-B sound (“I know my name ain’t Santa Claus, but c’mon sit on my lap”).
A Holiday Carole
How adorable to see Carole King using her name on her first holiday album. It’s the good ole industry gimmick that never fails when developing a title for a Christmas album. A Christmas Carole sure beats “Christmas Tapestry.” The famed singer/songwriter may be a little late in getting in on the Christmas rush, with 2011’s gloomy forecast of economic depravity.
The Music, The Christmas Album, Vol. 2
Still churning up its endless volumes of high-end karaoke, the popular Glee cast returns to the recording booth for another round of holiday cheer on The Christmas Album Vol. 2. As always, the disc returns to the familiar set-up: Spin up the oldies, add some sprinkle to the newbies and produce a few originals.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
It’s an eyebrow raiser to hear Stone Temple Pilots’ frontman Scott Weiland, with his not-so-squeaky clean reputation and grunge-rock resume, offer up a Starbucks stocking stuffer. It’s even more surprising to hear him, dressed in Harry Connick cool, attempting warm mood music for Christmas gatherings.
O Christmas Three
(Chicago II Records)
Cleverly titled O Christmas Tree, Chicago’s third holiday effort (or Chicago XXXIII in Super Bowl language), puts the jazzy brassy rock band back in the hands of producer Phil Ramone for another unpredictable display of arrangements of favorite carols and modern pop oddities.
2010 HOLIDAY GUIDE:
Featuring albums from Annie Lennox, Mariah Carey, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Patrice Wilson, Susan Boyle, Taylor Swift, Sheryl Crow, NOW! That’s What I Call Christmas! 4