It’s Christmas time again and a whole slew of new holiday albums have been added to the music store shelves. But which ones are actually worth listening to?
Complete with helpful recommendations to help you figure out which one will make the perfect stocking stuffer for your parents, your siblings or that hard to shop for uncle.
*Every one of these albums was listened to by our Christmas music-loving writer.
CeeLo’s Magic Moment by CeeLo Green
(Courtesy of Elektra/Asylum)
CeeLo is out to make your holiday season a lot more soulful. He manages to take on the classics and make them all his own. On “All I Want For Christmas” he makes Mariah proud, while “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” becomes an a cappella masterpiece that even a Grinch could enjoy. And just try to stay seated during his rockin’ take on “Run Rudolph Run.”
The Voice judge brings out all the stops when it comes to guest stars from Rod Stewart to Christina Aguilera on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to The Muppets on his original Christmas carol “All I Need Is Love,” which pays tribute to The Muppet Show classic “Mahna Mahna.”
Perfect for: Stevie Wonder fans, Kermit the Frog enthusiasts, a cappella aficionados
A Very Merry Perri Christmas by Christina Perri
(Courtesy of Atlantic)
Christina Perri channels Karen Carpenter on her 6-song holiday EP. Her original carol, “Something About December” is about keeping Christmas in your heart all year round even when you’re far away from home.
Christina pulls at the heartstrings with her take on The Carpenter’s “Merry Christmas Darling,” one of her mom’s favorite songs, and brings in her friends for a sweet take on John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”
Perfect for: Lovers of Twilight, fans of The Carpenters
Christmas In The Sand by Colbie Caillat
(Courtesy of Universal Republic)
Love Christmas but hate the snow? Then Colbie’s sunny holiday album might be right up your alley.
The “Bubbly” singer tackles the classics like “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” which sounds like it would be perfect for around a bonfire and recruits Gavin DeGraw for a luau-friendly version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” With “Christmas in the Sand,” her own stab at a holiday classic, is an interesting account of Santa’s surfing trials and tribulations.
Perfect for: Surfers, bitter East Coasters in needing of a little serotonin
On This Winter’s Night by Lady Antebellum
(Courtesy of Capitol)
This sugary sweet holiday album is the equivalent of the claymation Christmas specials we all watch every year.
A horn section gives “A Holly Jolly Christmas” a big band feel while the trio slows down Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” and adds a Spanish guitar solo to make it the perfect theme song for a Disney movie.
Perfect for: Fans of Rankin/Bass Productions, the Brian Setzer Orchestra
A Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary
(Courtesy of Big Machine Records)
Train creates a Christmas mashup by taking “Joy To The World” and mixing it with their 2003 song “Calling All Angels.” Michael Bublè channels Dean Martin for his take on “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” while Jason Mraz jazzes things up for his coffee house rendition of “Winter Wonderland.” OneRepublic offer up their original song, “Christmas Without You,” which is a bittersweet tale about being away for the holidays.
Buying this album will also make you feel good about yourself since a portion of the proceeds go towards the Special Olympics.
Perfect for: Anyone and everyone, play this one on repeat at Christmas dinner.
Christmas Spirit by Richard Marx
(Courtesy of TourDForce)
Richard Marx knows how to sing a ballad and for his Christmas album he does just that. The highlights from his first holiday release (hard to believe right?) are of course when he slows things down and gets to sing straight from the heart like on “The Christmas Song” or “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day,” which sounds like a OneRepublic song.
For the title track, Richard writes the perfect holiday love song and gets a little help from Sara Niemietz. We recommend you play this while under the mistletoe.
Perfect for: Lovers of Eighties ballads, People who follow Richard Marx on Twitter
And there’s more to come, stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.
– Shannon Carlin, CBS Local