New Christmas releases spark holiday spirit
Music lovers and holiday enthusiasts alike have been given the gift of new Christmas albums this season. From singer-songwriter and jazz to classic rock and a cappella, a wide variety of genres are covered.
Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, known for hits like “Girls Chase Boys” and “Be OK,” released “Songs for the Season,” a 12-track album featuring 11 holiday classics and one original song. Michaelson is vocal about her love for Christmas and has been putting on an annual Holiday Hop concert in Manhattan every year for the past 12 years in celebration of her favorite holiday.
From Christina Perri to “America’s Got Talent” winner Grace VanderWaal, the album includes many features. The best of these is “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” sung with Leslie Odom, Jr. of “Hamilton.”
Michaelson describes herself as loving songs that are happy and sad at the same time. Though very different from the Mariah Carey original, this version brings a slower, sadder sound to the song that Michaelson loves.
Her original song on the album, which she has performed in Holiday Hops of the past, is “Happy, Happy Christmas.” This follows her pattern of sad songs, with lyrics such as, “It’s always so dark out / And you’re never here,” and the chorus, “Happy, happy Christmas / Love the ones who love you too.” Though it may not fully get you in the Christmas spirit like her “White Christmas” might, it is nonetheless a beautiful, well-written song.
Next up on the list of new Christmas releases is John Legend’s “A Legendary Christmas.” This is a soulful album that kicks off with a bang with a feature from Stevie Wonder on Wonder’s own popular Christmas hit “What Christmas Means to Me.” The album maintains this jazzy Legend feel from start to end, with other highlights being “Silver Bells” and “Christmas Time is Here.”
“Wrap Me Up in Your Love,” one of the originals on the album, continues the soul feel with a very Legend-esque song that fans of the artist are sure to enjoy.
A different kind of legend, Eric Clapton, also released a Christmas album this year. “Happy Xmas” features a bluesy take on a variety of holiday hits, from traditionals like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Silent Night” to lesser known tracks like “Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday” and his original song “For Love on Christmas Day.”
His take on “Jingle Bells” is dedicated to Avicii and is perfect for EDM lovers. If, however, classic Clapton is what you’re looking for, this is definitely not the song.
This year, Pentatonix released their third Christmas album. “Christmas is Here!” is a great addition to the previous two holiday albums the group has released.
From classic carols like “Greensleeves” to a cover of The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather,” Pentatonix has every aspect of Christmas and the winter season covered in this album.
One of the stand-outs on the album is “Grown-Up Christmas List,” which features Kelly Clarkson. Clarkson has previously recorded and released this song, and it was nice to hear the song a cappella. However, it is Clarkson with Pentatonix backing her, so this may be a disappointing track for fans looking for only Pentatonix.
The first Christmas album Pentatonix released included their version of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” and this album follows suit with a cover of “Waltz of the Flowers.” Though this isn’t as successful as the first cover from “The Nutcracker Suite,” fans of both the music from “The Nutcracker” and fans of a cappella should be excited by this version.
Whether you’re looking for a soundtrack for a holiday party, a casual gathering with friends or calm music to listen to during finals week, these albums have all the options to get you in the Christmas spirit.