31 Days: Just Released Christmas Music

I preordered these new Christmas albums, and they arrived on my doorstep today, their release date. Because of the auto rip feature I told you about, I had the digital copies before the physical albums showed up. Pretty cool.

Wrapped in Red ~ Kelly Clarkson
I was excited about this album, because I love Kelly Clarkson’s voice, and I could see the potential for a fantastic Christmas album. There are some good tracks, but overall I was disappointed. I felt there were a few missed opportunities. The album felt over-produced, and the rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was horrid. It sounded as though the duet was recorded in separate sessions. Clarkson’s sound was much stronger than her partner’s (Ronnie Dunn), and there was zero emotional connection. There are some good tracks, though – mostly the original songs. I was also thrilled to hear a cover of Imogen Heap’s “Just for Now”. I can’t recommend the entire album, but you might want to check out some of the individual tracks.

Under the Influence (Holiday Edition) ~ Straight No Chaser
This is an 8-track companion album to the regular edition of Under the Influence. The title of the album hints at the fact the guys are singing in collaborations with artists they admire. For the Christmas album only half the songs are duets (with Colbie Caillat, Otis Redding, Paul McCartney, and Ceelo Green). Of the others, two are upbeat holiday songs I could take or leave. A third is a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace”, and the last is called “Nutcracker”. This is the gem of the album. The group makes it’s way through many of the major themes from the ballet, but the lyrics view the annual holiday experience of attending the ballet from a male perspective. It’s spot on, and I can’t wait to see them perform it when Andy and I go to their concert in December. As a whole this album is not as good as either of their other two Christmas offerings, but I didn’t expect it would be, since it’s not a full recording. If you’re a SNC fan, it’s still worth the purchase, and even if you’re not you’ll want to listen to “Nutcracker”.

This YouTube video made Straight No Chaser an internet sensation, and led to multiple albums. If you like it, you’ll  like “Nutcracker”.

Here’s another good one. If you don’t like these, your sense of humor is broken. 🙂

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