6 holiday albums to get you in the festive mood!

2015-11-22 18:00

Los Angeles - Looking for some holiday season tunes to get you in the festive mood? Then this is for you!

These new albums will make sure to kill that awkward silence at the dinner table or put a pep in your step at your office Christmas party.

From Kenny Rogers to Kylie Minogue and even LeAnn Rimes, you wont be disappointed with these catchy jingles.

Here are 6 holiday albums to get you in the festive spirit this year:

1. Kenny Rogers - Once Again It's Christmas (Warner)

If country legend Kenny Rogers sticks to his guns, Once Again it's Christmas will be his sixth and final holiday album, and bittersweet nostalgia infuses all 11 tracks.

The 77-year-old crooner recently announced his retirement and farewell tour, so this mix of mostly classic carols with traditional arrangements is one fans will savor. Highlights include Some Children See Him, with Alison Krauss adding angelic accompaniment, and Children, Go Where I Send Thee, featuring country a cappella band Home Free and a rousing clap-your-hands gospel beat.

His voice is a little softer and raspier than on his first Christmas album 34 years ago, but it fits with selections that make you want to curl up by the fire with a bourbon eggnog and the ones you love.

— Lindsey Tanner

2. Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas (Warner/Parlophone)

Kylie Minogue's first Christmas album is a very mixed bag of big band arrangements, awkward duets, better-than-expected novelty originals and evergreens hardly suited to her vocal limits.

Frank Sinatra is back for a shared Santa Claus Is Coming to Town and his input really does sound recorded in the great beyond. Iggy Pop croaks through The Waitresses' Christmas Wrapping, a very British-sounding, quality American pop tune, while James Corden lifts Yazoo's Only You, hardly a holiday song.

It would have made more sense to include the tunes Minogue helped write — White December and Christmas Isn't Christmas 'Til You Get Here — and maybe a couple more as bonus tracks on her next pop album because under the glossy gift wrap that's all Kylie Christmas has worth keeping.

— Pablo Gorondi

3. The Braxtons - Braxton Family Christmas (Def Jam)

The Christmas album from Toni Braxton and her sisters will only make you wish they were working on a proper, full-length R&B project.

Braxton Family Christmas is soulful and warm and the sisters' harmonies are the album's highlight. They sound like angels on O Holy Night (A cappella) and This Christmas, which opens the 8-track album. And Tamar Braxton, the youngest of the family clan, hits a high note so beautifully on Mary, Did You Know? you'll have to replay it again and again.

Toni, Tamar, Towanda, Trina and Traciis voices are so similar sometimes it's hard to tell who's who. But it doesn't matter because though there are five of them, they sound united — like a real group should.

— Mesfin Fekadu

4. Train - Christmas in Tahoe (Sunken Forest)

Train's 15-track holiday album jauntily careens through six-plus decades of sometimes obscure Christmassy songs, from covers of Elvis' Santa Bring My Baby Back (to Me) to British pop singer Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Lights.

In between are a soaring version of the classic O Holy Night, with frontman Pat Monahan sharing vocals with a background chorus, and three Train originals — all with a contemporary Top 40 feel.

Less well-known holiday fare includes The Band's Christmas Must Be Tonight and Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody, with arrangements sticking close to the originals, punctuated by Monahan's distinctive croon.

Train's own Christmas Island has a calypso beat and catchy vocals — "Give me Christmas on an island, see me smilin" — and will be the one fans can't stop humming.

— Lindsey Tanner

5. Various Artists - The Classic Christmas '80s Album (Sony Legacy)

This compilation brings together some of the most memorable Christmas rock songs from the 1980s, including some you can't get enough of, and some you'll probably be able to tolerate again only after hitting the egg nog hard (I'll leave it up to you to decide which is which.)

No Christmas compilation, particularly one from the '80s, would be complete without The Waitresses' Christmas Wrapping and Wham's Last Christmas, and both show up early here. Run-DMC's crossover holiday hit Christmas In Hollis was one of the first seasonal songs to be embraced by both rock and rap fans, and Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You remains one of the better songs Billy Squier ever recorded.

Whitney Houston (Do You Hear What I Hear?), Hall & Oates (Jingle Bell Rock) and Dave Edmunds (Run Rudolph Run) are part of every pop-rock Christmas, as is the comedic Twelve Days of Christmas by Bob & Doug McKenzie, with the notable refrain: "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... a beer."

— Wayne Parry

6. LeAnn Rimes - Today Is Christmas (Kobalt)

LeAnn Rimes mixes spirited songs that showcase the holiday cheer with more serene, thoughtful songs of the season on Today Is Christmas.

The album features fun takes on family carols like Must Be Santa and Frosty the Snowman with original songs I Still Believe In Santa Claus and the title track.

There's also a beautifully classic rendition of Little Drummer Boy. Rimes also sings a cappella on Auld Lang Syne, a decision she says she made because she wanted to bring out the song's heartbreaking sadness and loneliness.

Rimes duets with singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw on Celebrate Me Home and R&B singer Aloe Blacc on That Spirit of Christmas. The latter just makes you want to dance.

— Caryn Rousseau

Read more on:    christmas 2015  |  music

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