Posts Tagged ‘Scotty McCreery’

My 2012 Favorites CDs

Do you like year-end lists?  Maybe you find them interesting or as a starting point of a heated debated, especially if you disagree.  Yesterday, I shared with you my favorite movies that I watched in 2012.  Now, here are my favorite albums that I bought this year.  Semantics!  Although one of them was released in 2011, I just bought it this year, so it’s new to me and this is my list!  🙂

Just missing out on the Top Ten were #11 “Christmas Spirit” (Richard Marx), #12 “Hello” (Karmin), #13 “Cheers, It’s Christmas” (Blake Shelton), #14 “Christmas With Scotty McCreery (Scotty McCreery) and #15 “Electra Heart (Marina and the Diamonds).

10Ten

“ROCK OF AGES” — ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK

9 CD

KYLIE MINOGUE — “APHRODITE:  LES FOLIES (LIVE IN LONDON)”

#8 CD

LIONEL RICHIE — “TUSKEGEE”

#7 CD

LADY ANTEBELLUM — “ON THIS WINTER’S NIGHT”

#6 CD

ROD STEWART — “MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY”

#5 CD

KYLIE MINOGUE — “THE BEST OF KYLIE MINOGUE”

#4 CD

SCISSOR SISTERS — “MAGIC HOUR”

*NSFW*

#3 CD

CALVIN HARRIS — “18 MONTHS”

#2 CD

MARTIN SOLVEIG — “SMASH”

#1 CD

MADONNA — “MDNA (DELUXE EDITION)”

MDNA

*NSFW* (This is one of the best Madonna songs ever — very angry and violent!)

Here’s to 2013!

Anthony

Three More Holiday Albums Worth The Money

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”.

Richard Marx

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”.

GRADE:  A

“CHRISTMAS WITH SCOTTY McCREERY — SCOTTY McCREERY

ScottyMcCreery

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.

GRADE:  B

“JOY TO THE WORLD” — FAITH HILL

Faith_Hill-Joy_to_The_World

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!

GRADE:  A+

New Christmas Sounds: Two Are Great & One Is A Lump Of Coal

When it comes to Christmas music, the standards are hard to beat.  While there are newer originals that are incredible like “Secret of Giving” by Reba (1999), there are also some really bad new songs each Christmas season.  This Christmas, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Colbie Caillat, and Cee Lo Green all have new albums.

And, while I’ve already bought three new Christmas CDs this year, there are two more that I want to pick up.

Blake Shelton Christmas

Blake Shelton’s “Cheers, it’s Christmas” is one of them and to be honest, while I like his voice, I really want it because he does a duet with Reba on “Oklahoma Christmas”.

Also, I’m not an “American Idol” fan even with the amazing Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.  However, I finally broke down this past summer and bought my first “AI” alumni CD, “Trespassing” by Adam Lambert.  It was great, but it totally bombed!

With that being said, I was very apprehensive about the new holiday disc from last year’s winner Scotty McCreery.

ScottyMcCreery

Yes, he’s cute and he has that great, masculine Josh Turner-like voice, but did I really want to take a chance on “Christmas With Scotty McCreery”.  I finally decided yes, so I’ll going to buy it.

So, what about the three new Christmas CDs that I bought?  Two are fantastic, but one of them has a drawback.  The third is acceptable and I would only recommend it for one reason.  It would be closer to a “lump of coal”.

coal

“MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY” — ROD STEWART

Rod Stewart

Ladies and gay men, you may have swooned in the 1970s when he sang “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks” in the 1980s, but does that gravelly voice translate into holiday cheer?

“Merry Christmas, Baby” is Rod Stewart’s first holiday disc and I can’t believe that we made it through all of the past holidays without him.  This disc is definitely going to be a holiday classic.

Stewart excels in the classics, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, “White Christmas”, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and “Blue Christmas”.

Several duets are featured and my favorite is  “Winter Wonderland” with Michael Buble.  He also has nice duets with Cee Lo Green on “Merry Christmas, Baby” and “We Three Kings” with Mary J. Blige.

Rod does a great duet with the late Ella Fitzgerald on “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”  God rest her soul, but I have to say that I’m not a fan of singers recording new songs with people who have passed on.   (If this trend continues, I hope Madonna releases a Christmas CD next year and does “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” with the late John Lennon.)

There is one original song on the disc, “Red-Suited Super Man”, and it’s a fun song.

“Merry Christmas, Baby” has been played many times since I bought it.  I love this disc.

GRADE:  A

“ON THIS WINTER’S NIGHT”  — LADY ANTEBELLUM

Lady Antebellum Christmas

I absolutely love the harmonies of country music’s hottest trio, Lady Antebellum.  I saw them open for Reba a few years ago and I love their energy and their voices.

You can’t go wrong on their new Christmas album, “On This Winter’s Night”.

Every song on the disc is pure Christmas joy from the upbeat fun of Hillary Scott’s “Holly Jolly Christmas” to Charles Kelley getting down on a fun “Blue Christmas”.  Other perfect standouts are “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “The First Noel”,  “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”, “Silent Night (Lord of My Life)”, and “Silver Bells”.

My only gripe, and this is a big one that long time fans may agree with me on, is that this disc feels like a ripoff to make some quick money on their popularity.

Of the twelve songs, six of them were released on the trio’s 201o EP, “A Merry Little Christmas”.  So, if you’re a fan and you bought that one two years ago, you’re paying for the same six songs this year with only six new songs!  (Santa may place the record company on his “naughty list” for marketing the recycled songs!)

Putting that behind me, if you made confectionery concoctions as tasty as any song on this disc, you’d definitely be in demand year around for your baking!

GRADE:  A 

“This Christmas”  — JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

John Olivia Christmas

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John set the world on fire with the 1978 blockbuster, “Grease”.  Their hit song, “You’re The One That I Want”, is one of the best-selling duets of all-time.  However, while lightning does strike twice, that doesn’t always happen in the entertainment business.  Their follow-up movie together, 1983’s “Two of A Kind”, was a box office bomb, but Olivia did score a top 5 hit, “Twist of Fate”, from the movie soundtrack.

After Travolta got a text from Olivia last year about how successful their “Grease” duet still is, they decided to do a Christmas CD together to benefit her charity, “The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre” in Melbourne, Australia and his charity, “The Jett Travolta Foundation”, in memory of his 16-year-old autistic son, Jett, that died in early 2009 in the Bahamas after he fell and hit his head.

I’ll get the bad news out of the way first and then focus on the good.  The opening song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, is probably the worst version I’ve ever heard.  As much as I love Olivia, she couldn’t get “Physical” enough to save this disaster!  Three songs later, “This Christmas” would have been better without John’s vocals.

Enough picking on John.  I like the man and I love his acting.  He does a fine job singing solo on “This Christmas Waltz”.

He and Olivia are joined by Barbra Streisand on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and it’s excellent.  Four songs later, Cliff Richard joins them on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (you may remember Cliff from Olivia’s 198o’s hit, “Suddenly” from “Xanadu”).  Tony Bennett and The Count Basie Orchestra show up on “Winter Wonderland” and James Taylor drops in on “Deck The Halls”.

Olivia’s solo, “Silent Night” is incredible and their medley “Auld Lang Syne/Christmas Time Is Here” is a great closer to an uneven album.

The most exciting song on “This Christmas” is the one that I think should have been sequenced as the first song on the album, “I Think You Might Like It”.  It’s a very fun song and if I close my eyes while listening to it, I see Danny & Sandy in “Grease” dancing to it around the Christmas tree.  Here is the new video from Olivia & John!

GRADE:  C+   (There are great songs on it and there are some not so great songs, but the album is for a good cause.  It’s Christmas and the holidays are about charity!)

And, while we’re talking about amazing Christmas albums, these three are still my favorites.

Happy listening and Merry Christmas early!

Anthony