Us Weekly's music editor, Ian Drew, shares his picks among the very latest holiday music releases!
There are good and bad ways to do Christmas. Good? Lots of egg nog and lots more presents (anything electronic and rhyming with "phony" always works well at my pad).
And bad? Let's just say any variation of A Very Jerry Springer Christmas fills that category.
But when it comes to music, traditional nuggets -- key picks include "Winter Wonderland," "Jingle Bells" and "Oh, Silent Night" -- jammed out by whatever artists float your boat are always an essential. So, how to choose between Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and, oh, Jim Nabors? Fear not, yuletide fans. These five brand-spanking new releases all provide something for everybody and make perfect stocking stuffers, too!
1. A Very Special Christmas, Volume 7
Talk about a yuletide smorgasboard! Have fond memories of Madonna's version of "Santa Baby" or, say, Stevie Nicks rocking out "Silent Night?" Now, your kids get their own chance to have the current spate of pop stars present their takes, from Miley Cyrus on "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" to Carrie Underwood's "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!" And Ashley Tisdale gets down on "Last Christmas."
2. Sugarland, Gold and Green
Yeehaw! Country's favorite co-ed duo adds their twang to classics ("Winter Wonderland") and a bunch of their own ("Little Wood Guitar" and the title cut). If you're not exhausted from their recent live covers album, this is definitely worth a whirl.
3. The Priests, Harmony
How about a trio of singing clergyman for you traditionalists out there? This somber disc of real standards like "Amazing Grace," "Benedictus," King of Kings" and "The Lords Prayer" is enough to make you enjoy the actual religious aspects of the holiday.
4. Andrea Bocelli, My Christmas
In that vein but with a splash of Italian, the blind opera star leads everyone along in classics en Italia (try out the gorgeous "Caro Gesu Bambino" and "Adeste Fidelis") and behold the only Christmas songs that can break glass this season. How'd he manage to do that on "Santa Claus is Coming To Town?!"
5. REO Speedwagon, Not So Silent Night
The classic rockers couldn't fight the feeling to add their own spin to "The First Noel," "LIttle Drummer Boy" and, get this, a cover of John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Jingle bell rocks, indeed!