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There’s something about being in New York City during Winter Time that has got me feeling really festive. Normally I just stick with my three favorite Christmas Albums; “Jackson 5 Christmas”, Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas”, and the “Motown Christmas Carol” compilation. This year, with three of my favorite singers all releasing Holiday Albums the past few weeks I decided to give them a fair listen and I’m glad I did. All three albums are really cute, and give three different Holiday vibes, and the vocals on all three are amazing. Here is the breakdown.
Mary J. Blige has fully transitioned from a Hip Hop Queen to a more mature adult-oriented artist, and her Holiday offering “A Mary Christmas” is perfectly timed. She displays a nuance and growth in her voice that allows her to tackle the challenging material found on this beautiful album, and she also displays her fearlessness on an album that has those traditional standards but also sees Mary singing with Vocal Goddess Barbra Streisand, as well as singing in Spanish and French.
The album is very diverse as Mary gets jazzy (“Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer”), soulful (“This Christmas”) and extremely traditional (“My Favorite Things”). The highlights are when she shows what a true virtuoso she is, owning French and Spanish on “Petit Papa Noel” and “Noche de Paz (Silent Night)” with Marc Anthony. “A Mary Christmas” is a really well rounded and beautifully arranged Holiday album that screams Classic from the moment you hear it. This is one that will be heard for decades to come.
Kelly Clarkson has sung in basically every genre imaginable in her 10 year career. Though her Holiday offering “Wrapped in Red” is very pop-leaning, she still manages to keep it diverse and show off her vocal dexterity with a bit of country (“Blue Christmas”), some rocking Holiday tunes (“Run Run Rudolph” and “4 Carats”), incredibly soulful crooning (“Every Christmas”), and fun Pop (“Underneath the Tree”).
Though the album is slightly over-long, there’s a lot of great Holiday tunes to chose from and overall every one of them works well. It’s a fun Holiday Album, original, eclectic and an overall great showcase to Clarkson’s true talent.
SHE delivers a unique Holiday album idea with “Loversland”, a Holiday album geared towards lovers. Listening to Tamar’s sultry and relaxed (but still powerhouse) vocals, the album calls to mind a couple hugged up by the fireplace listening to more romantic-tinged Christmas songs. Braxton’s mission was accomplished as this album is very comforting, fun and just the right length. The albums’ songs flow into each other nicely, making for a very cohesive outing that never gives you a dull moment. On top of that, HER vocals are insane on tracks like “Silent Night”, “No Gift” and “Away in a Manger/Little Drummer Boy”.
There’s also a fun side to “Loversland”, like the opening “Sleigh Ride” which has an urban production behind it, and her too cute for words duet with sister Trina Braxton “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”. There’s also a song for the Single Ladies of the Holiday season “She Can Have You”, making for an adorable fun and urban Holiday experience.