It’s the gift-giving month of December y’all!! And that means only one thing! Freezing my arse off in an ice-cold apartment. Oh, that and it’s Christmas time! And while y’all have been busy lamenting about meeting irresponsibly worthless (and opinionated) family members that you vehemently avoid throughout the year and who are better off being trampled under Rudolph’s sleigh instead of being seated at your dinner table during Christmas, I’ve been hard at work here pondering over life-altering issues, like meticulously choosing 10 perfect Christmas albums for y’all to play during this insanely joyous season! That’s right guys..I’m an adorbz blogger with a heart #humblebrag.
So lets get right down to the music now shall we? Here’s a list of 10 Christmas/Holiday Albums that you absolutely MUST play during this season to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and the spirit of giving and peace and yada yada.
1. Wintersong – Sarah McLachlan
Canadian songstress supreme Sarah McLachlan is the epitome of melancholy. Sarah’s ethereal soothing velvety vocals bring life to the Grammy nominated ‘Wintersong’, and mellow renditions of some perennial Christmas classics as well as some great remakes are the highlights of the album. My fave is the staggeringly haunting rendition of Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Song For A Winter’s Night’, and this one induces major chills. A lush rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ and a duet with Diana Krall on ‘Christmas Time Is Here’ are worthy of your playlist. ‘Wintersong’ made all the right moves on the charts as well, peaking at # 7, selling over a million units in the US alone, making it the highest selling holiday album of 2006.
2. My Christmas – Andrea Bocelli
Italian Tenor and living legend Andrea Bocelli’s 13th studio album ‘My Christmas’ became one of the biggest selling albums of his entire career. The highlight of this album? Unlikely duets from every genre possible. There’s everybody from Mary J Blige to The Muppets, Natalie Cole to Reba McEntire, Katherine Jenkins to The Mormon Tabernacle Choir making the album an absolute classic. Warm and inviting, the album touches classical opera and eases in to Pop territory with hints of R’n’B and Country. Apart from the perennial faves ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Silent Night’, it’s ‘Blue Christmas’ with Reba McEntire and ‘What Child Is This’ with Mary J Blige that totally stand out.
3. Noël – Josh Groban
With soothing pitch-perfect vocals that could warm the coldest heart evurr, how can you NOT love golden-voiced Josh Groban? And his pin-up-boy-of-deliciousness good looks also helps get the ladies of the family (including post-menopausal grandmas) all mushy and away from the squabbling, while you slowly consider being adopted into a different family. Anyway, Groban’s baritone and the rich orchestration makes this collection of seasonal classics stand out. Check out Josh’s fantabulous duets with country chanteuse Faith Hill on ‘The First Noel’, and with Brian McKnight on ‘Angels We Have Heard on High‘. ‘Noel’ peaked at # 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart and was also the biggest selling album of 2007 in the US, and has sold over 5.3 million copies in the US to date, making it one of the highest selling holiday albums of all time.
4. These Are Special Times – Celine Dion
Celine Dion is one of those incredibly gifted vocalists whose rendition of ‘Ave Maria’ would make you ashamed of your super secret karaoke sessions in front of the bathroom mirror which you thought was the world’s best kept secret (your vocal cords gently weep). With the unlikely duet ‘I’m Your Angel’ with R’n’B superstar R. Kelly blasting in at # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, this album was a winner right from the start, and continues to be so as long as our hearts go on and on. Packed with classics like ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Blue Christmas’ and new creations like ‘Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day’ and ‘I’m Your Angel’, it was Celine’s voice that made the album a must-have for special times like Christmas.
5. Elvis’ Christmas Album – Elvis Presley
Christmas without Elvis Presley’s booming voice? Really? Can you EVER? I could NEVER. The highest selling Christmas album of all time (13 million copies sold in the US alone) needs to be on your playlist simply cuz its Elvis y’all! Who else can sing ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Back In Town’ like THAT? Throw in a log, get your cocoa and commence your snuggling to this one.
6. Merry Christmas – Mariah Carey
If you haven’t heard Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ until now, your Christmas has been 50 % less joyful than what it should have been. Even your mom knows the lyrics to this one (duhh). The song is considered to be one of the highest selling singles of all time, along with being one of the most played holiday songs ever. The album ‘Merry Christmas’ also contains Mariah’s version of ‘O Holy Night’ which is a sonic masterpiece, guaranteed to induce severe goosebumps. With almost 15 million albums sold worldwide, it’s one of the biggest selling Christmas albums of ALL time. I don’t know about y’all, but my Christmas is just not complete without Mariah!
7. Miracles : The Holiday Album – Kenny G
Apart from occasionally making a dope cameo in Katy Perry’s videos, and playing the sax like literally nobody else in the entire cosmos, Kenny G is also the highest selling instrumental musician of our times (and you thought you were a muti-tasker. WRONG). And his discography boasts of 6 holiday albums out of which the Billboard # 1 ‘Miracles : The Holiday Album’ released in 1994 is clearly his best. A jazzy interpretation of holiday favorites, the album is pleasurable enough to be played on loop, especially the mellow renditions of ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Miracles’. You might wanna give this one a try if you’re with a special someone on Christmas and you’re planning to engage yourselves in a little slow-dancing.
8. And Winter Came… – Enya
There’s no one quite like Enya. Out of the 10 albums I’ve placed here, Enya’s ‘And Winter Came..’ is probably my favorite. I’m mesmerized by Enya’s signature style of ‘layering’ of vocals that provide an ethereal and elegant harmony to almost all her compositions. An album packed with mystical snow-laden themes along with celebratory rhythms, ‘And Winter Came…’ is mysterious yet joyful, and easily conjures up visions of winter in the listener’s mind. Check out the chill-inducing renditions of the hymn ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’, and original compositions like ‘The Spirit Of Christmas Past’ and ‘Last Time By Moonlight’. This one is a beautifully constructed piece of work befitting this joyous season.
9. Christmas – Michael Buble
The newest of the lot, Canadian crooner Michael Buble’s ‘Christmas’ has been dominating the charts worldwide this year, becoming Buble’s 3rd # 1 album on the Billboard 200 Charts, and has been garnering rave reviews everywhere. A set of 15 holiday classics that’ll set your holiday spirits sparkling, the album boasts of Buble’s remake of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, along with a completely flawless duet with none other than Country megastar Shania Twain on ‘White Christmas’. English-Italian trio The Puppini Sisters join Buble on ‘Jingle Bells’ while Latin superstar Thalia join him on the album closer ‘Feliz Navidad’. A perfect gift to ring in the festivities, this is one gift a whole lotta you might see under your trees this year.
10. The Sweetest Gift – Trisha Yearwood
And finally we have one of the most under-rated country vocalist of all time. The queen of melancholy blues Mizz Trisha Yearwood has one of the most powerful and timeless voices in country music. ‘The Sweetest Gift’ was Trisha Yearwood’s first and only Christmas album. Released in 1994 and re-released in 2000, the Gold-certified album showcased Trisha’s ethereal vocal prowess on tracks like ‘Sweet Little Jesus Boy’, ‘The Sweetest Gift’ and ‘Reindeer Boogie’. A personal fave is the haunting ‘Take A Walk Through Bethlehem’. Throughout the entire album, Trisha’s voice remains resonant and vulnerable, bringing forth a fantastic collection of classics, honky-tonk and pop faves. Definitely one of the most under-rated Christmas albums of all time.
So here you go, hope this list gets you through this incredibly amazing season! And hope you guys have a rad time with your family and friends, I know I will!