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Sentimental Songs - our top 10 Christmas Picks - Sentimental Songs - our top 10 Christmas Picks

2006-07-14 17:03

1. Nat King Cole - The World of Nat King Cole
A compilation of timeless classics from the master of emotion. He's top of our list because he tops the lists around the world, year after year, lifting our spirits, making us cry. Tuck your cheek into someone's chest to this compilation - the best of the Nat King's work so far.
- Song clips and full review
- Track listing and more

2. Percy Sledge - Shining Through the Rain
Crooner with a bit of punch, this one's for fans of old soul stars like Stevie Wonder, and may be a pleasurable challenge to fans of Sinatra and other swing stars.
- Review and song clips

3. Barbra Streisand - Guilty Pleasures
She's still camp, but Barry Gibb of the BeeGees writes the songs this time, and the duo who collaborated on Guilty 25 years ago balance each other beautifully.
- Full review and song clips
- Get this CD delivered in 24 Hours

4. Celine Dion - On Ne Change Pas
If there's a Celine Dion fan on your Christmas gift list, this is exactly the right thing to buy her.
- Song Listing here
- Song clips and full review

5. Michael Buble - Caught in the Act
On this Live CD/DVD set, the velvet-voiced boy babe of swing, beloved of girls and their mothers all over the globe purrs and preens his sweet way through 8 tracks, produced by Celine Dion's David Foster. Soppy but oh, so extremely smooth!
- Buy it
- Review and song clips

6. Various - The Best Smooth Jazz Ever Vol 2
Not strictly jazz, mainly not smooth, but classic smoky club standards like Nina Simone's "My Baby Just Cares for Me". This misnomer of a 4CD box set makes an affordable gift for someone with a thing for standards. Look out for it when you're shopping.

7. Enya - Amarantine
Pretty much exactly like any other Enya album ever released, but less original and catchy than her first album. Will not disappoint her admirers.
- It's for sale here
- Review and song clips here

8. Cece Winans - Purified
Beautifully produced R&B flavoured gospel with an unashamed sentimental streak. Includes "I Promise" (The Wedding Song). If you gotta have faith, you gotta have this - or give it away to someone who'll love it.
- Buy it here, or get the song listing

9. Rod Stewart - The American Songbook Vol IV
The The Great American Songbook Volume IV, this is the soft side of the heartbreaking bastard from the 80s. Misty eyed ladies will love it.
- Get yer Rod here
- Song clips and full CD review

10. Kenny G. - The Greatest Holiday Classics
If you want to hear it next Christmas, buy it for the Kenny G Fan in your life. And sit back and enjoy. Or not, as the case may be.
- Get your Kenny G here
- Review with song clips

11. For Good Measure a few more in brief...

Faith Hill - Fireflies
Faith Hill is very happy to be a New Country singer. That's probably the most evident emotional message of Fireflies, which is a fair effort as far as New Country music goes. But that doesn't make her an iconic country artist yet. "Dearly Beloved" does hint at Loretta Lynn's cynical smartness, but it's seemingly added in as a comic aside. If Hill can find more of this true-country acidity, she may actually be on to something special. For now, she's mostly okay, if a little mushy and sentimental. Keith Urban fans, give it a try.
- Buy it here

Il Divo - Ancora
It was only a matter of time before operatic pop got its first Euro boy-group. It was also probably predictable that they'd start an album with Mariah Carey's "Hero", and include the likes of "Unchained Melody" - although, thankfully, the producers have opted for Spanish lyric adaptations, which work infinitely better "operatically". The classical input comes from a poorly-considered arrangement of "Ave Maria" (Schubert), and the album is better off without it's unjustified slaughter. Otherwise it's all about three prettier tenors and their pretty voices, and pretty arrangements. It's not really classical, but it could have been worse; they could have included an Andrew Lloyd-Webber song. - Anton Marshall
- Want it? Buy it

For someting more upbeat and poppy also try Eros Rammazzotti's Calma Apparente (he could be a hot blooded Phil Collins) and the latest Il Divo release - Review and song clips here.

- Compiled by Jean Barker

Whether you're big on the sweet and sentimental or are just trying to please someone you care about regardless of your own musical taste, this guide to this year's sentimental releases should be helpful in helping you pick a few gift options. For more info about most of the albums, click the "song clips and review" link for audio and a longer review.
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