Review: Holiday albums from CeeLo and others
This CD cover image released by Atlantic Records shows CeeLo Green's holiday release, “CeeLo’s Magic Moment.” (AP Photo/Atlantic Records)
Here are The Associated Press' reviews of selected holiday albums:
"CeeLo's Magic Moment" (Atlantic Records)
CeeLo Green is certainly having a pop culture moment, but he can't sustain the magic throughout this uneven album of 14 Christmas cover songs. The opening track, "What Christmas Means To Me," kicks things off with a flourish of horns and keyboards, but by the time Kermit the Frog appears for "All I Need Is Love" and Straight No Chaser joins him for "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch," you'll be hitting the skip button.
In between there's a decent duet with fellow "The Voice" judge Christina Aguilera on "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and a rather bland rendition of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas."
It's when the beat slows and the instruments are mostly stripped away that CeeLo shines. His voice soars over piano and strings on "Mary, Did You Know?" and he does Joni Mitchell proud on "River."
All in all, a decent disc for the background music at a holiday party. Just keep the remote handy.
— Rob Merrill, Associated Press
Lady Antebellum, "On This Winter's Night" (Capitol Nashville)
Lady Antebellum gave us a Christmas tease two years ago with "A Merry Little Christmas," an EP that had only a handful of tracks. On their first full-length holiday album, "On This Winter's Night," they show there's more where that came from, offering plenty of holiday cheer with their trademark gorgeous harmonies, interwoven with beautiful renditions of holiday staples.
The trio puts their unique stamp on songs like "All I Want For Christmas Is You," turning Mariah Carey's upbeat classic into a lovely, soulful slow groove; do Donny Hathaway proud on "This Christmas"; and give an emotional, stirring version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas." There's not a rendition on the album that disappoints. Lady Antebellum also offers an original song with the album's title track: their voices meld together beautifully on this tune about the true meaning of Christmas.
"On This Winter's Night" is full of Christmas classics — and deserves to become one in its own right.
— Nekesa Mumbi Moody, AP Music Writer
Various Artists, "NOW That's What I Call Today's Christmas" (EMI/Capitol Records)
Let's keep it real — listening to a Christmas album from one single artist can be tiring. Sure, sometimes it's magical. But most of the time it isn't.
That's why "NOW That's What I Call Today's Christmas" is so appealing. True, some songs borrow from singers' full-length Christmas albums, like Justin Bieber's "Mistletoe," Mariah Carey's "Oh Santa!" and Christina Aguilera's decade-old jam "Christmas Time." But this album has new tunes, too, and overall, the 18-track set is an adventure.