Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas is one month from today, I don’t feel as crazy listening to and blogging about Christmas music.
Last Sunday, I highly recommended new holiday music from Rod Stewart, “Merry Christmas, Baby” and “On This Winter’s Night” by Lady Antebellum. Today, I’m reviewing two more new Christmas entries this season and one from four years ago that you definitely need to get if you missed it then.
“CHRISTMAS SPIRIT”– RICHARD MARX
Chicago singer/songwriter Richard Marx was on fire in the late-1980s and early-1990s scoring 14 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
He topped that chart with classics like “Hold On To The Nights”, “Satisfied”, and “Right Here Waiting” and he also reached the Top Four with “Don’t Mean Nothing”, “Should’ve Known Better”, “Endless Summer Nights”, and “Angelina”.
While Marx hasn’t had a Top 40 radio hit since 1994, he’s had many hits on Adult Contemporary radio. His latest album, “Christmas Spirit” has already introduced two new songs you’re hearing this holiday season on the radio, “Little Drummer Boy” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, a duet with singer/songwriter Sara Niemietz.
If you were a fan of Richard Marx during his heyday two decades ago, you’ll love his new Christmas album. “Christmas Spirit” is a perfect collection of holiday songs and it also features a duet with another 1980s pop star, Kenny Loggins, on “Let The Be Peace on Earth” and a duet, “Silent Night” with singer and fiddler Sara Watkins.
There are two new original songs on the 13-song album, the title track, which is spectacular and “Christmas Morning”, which is a decent song.
Marx excels on “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “White Christmas”, and “O Holy Night”.
His version of “Little Drummer Boy” is my favorite on the disc and will likely be a staple of Christmases in the future.
My only regret with “Christmas Spirit” is not a fault of Richard Marx. I wish I had shopped around before buying the CD from Amazon. If you buy the Target version, it comes with four additional songs, “Blue Christmas”, “Silver Bells”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.
“CHRISTMAS WITH SCOTTY McCREERY — SCOTTY McCREERY
The other new purchase I made recently is the second album from 2011 “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery, “Christmas With Scotty McCreery”.
His debut album, “Clear As Day”, was released in the fall of 2011 and sold more than 1.1 million copies and generated three country hits, “I Love You This Big” (#15), “The Trouble With Girls” (#17), and “Water Tower Town”, which barely cracked the Top 40, (#38).
Since I’m not an “American Idol” viewer, all I know about Scotty is that he’s 19-years-old, from North Carolina, is cute, won an ACM Award for “Best New Artist”, and that he has a voice that reminds me of Josh Turner.
McCreery is great on the upbeat classics like “Let It Snow!”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Holly Jolly Christmas”, but the album drags a little on “Mary Did You Know” and on the new song, “Christmas Comin’ Round Again”. The other original song on the album, “Christmas In Heaven” has the potential to be heard again next year.
McCreery has a great voice and this is a decent album for the holidays.
“JOY TO THE WORLD” — FAITH HILL
While it isn’t new, I missed out on buying Faith Hill’s “Joy To The World” when it was released in 2008.
Epic fail on my part. Of the eleven songs on the album, ten are classics and there’s one new song, “A Baby Changes Everything”. That song actually reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Faith’s voice is just angelic with the big band orchestra sound of the album. It features such classics as the title track, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Holly Jolly Christmas”, “Away In The Manger”, “O Holy Night”, “Winter Wonderland”, and “Silent Night”.
Faith blows me away with her version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.
Buy it now and don’t hesitate!