By Dara Levy
Michael Bublé– ChristmasNothing provides a better soundtrack for any holiday preparation or festivity than Michael Bublé’s warm, smooth voice on Christmas. Bublé tackles every classic holiday tune, managing to add just enough of his own spin onto old favorites.
Those expecting the upbeat, jazzy styling of Mariah Carey’s "All I Want For Christmas Is You" may not be impressed by Bublé’s more refined version, but the track still highlights his talent impeccably. Each song is better than the next, though "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is a must-hear. Bublé’s timeless voice on the album has created an instant classic, which will be around to celebrate the season for many years to come.Justin Bieber– Under the Mistletoe
Deny his talent all you want, but Justin Bieber’s Kidz Bop-esque voice makes for a cheery Christmas album. Original song "Mistletoe" is catchy and romantic (for pre-teen girls, at least), and "Pray," the only nondenominational song on the album, is warm and uplifting. With collaborations ranging from The Band Perry to Busta Rhymes, the album provides something for most music fans out there. Bieber’s duet with Mariah Carey on "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is just as good as the original; Carey’s voice is still the song’s focus. "Someday at Christmas" was recorded before Bieber’s voice dropped, and while it provides a good laugh, it reminds listeners of Bieber’s lack of maturity. On "Only Thing I Ever Get For Christmas," Bieber sings, "Then everything I wished for has come true." If this album is the only thing you get for Christmas, you likely won’t be too happy, but it still makes for a good seasonal listen.
She & Him– A Very She & Him Christmas
Fans of the Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward duo will enjoy this album because as the title indicates, it is very She & Him. However, others will be confused as to why She & Him created such mellow, cheerless recordings for the most joyous time of year. Ironically, "Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree" is the least rockin’ version out there, and "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" lacks any passion and romance. The sound of the ukulele on "I’ll Be Home for Christmas" and other tracks offer a different spin from what holiday listeners are used to. If the album had been more like Deschanel’s shower-singing in Elf, it surely would have been a hit.