Plenty of holiday music to go around The Sheaf December 6, 2013 12:00 am Culture WILLIAM LOUISON Just one of the holiday albums that can brighten your winter break. There is so much to celebrate at this time of year — from peppermint everything to Christmas movies to decorations, light displays, gussied-up trees and more — but it would all seem a little lackluster without the delightful sound of holiday tunes playing in the background almost everywhere. It’s practically a given nowadays that almost every musical artist is likely to release some sort of holiday music collection throughout their careers, ‘re-interpreting’ or ‘re-imagining’ the classics that many have come to love. Holidays are when waves of holiday records crash into the ocean of album releases, sometimes changing the tide and sometimes slipping in completely unnoticed — and 2013 is no different. From Jewel’s second foray into the Christmas genre to Il Volo’s Buon Natale, there certainly is something for everyone this holiday season. Glee fans will be pleased to note that, despite what Columbia Records chairman and CEO Rob Stringer said, there is most definitely going to be a Glee christmas album this year. On their fourth volume already, it’s fair to say the show’s Christmas spirit has become something of an annual tradition. Leona Lewis’s old styled album, Christmas, With Love is reminiscent of Phil Spectre, while Mary J. Blige puts her signature R&B spin on holiday favourites and boasts collaborations with Jessie J, Marc Antony, The Clark Sisters and Barbra Streisand on A Mary Christmas. Wrapped in Red is Kelly Clarkson’s addition to this year’s Christmas roster. Though known for her big voice, if Wrapped in Red shows anything it’s that Clarkson definitely knows when to dial things down to create an intimate mood for the listener. And, of course, Susan Boyle’s Home For Christmas is everything that one would expect it to be, proving to be a perfect follow up to 2010’s The Gift. After hearing “White Christmas” sung a hundred different ways, a few more really can’t hurt. Besides, while some classics are better left alone — there’s a reason that they are so beloved — almost no one can deny the excitement in listening to long-loved holiday tunes being crooned out by their favourite singer. Those who are looking for a more alternative spin on their Christmas music know that they are few and far between. You can always look back to last year with 58-track epic Sufjan Stevens project Silver & Gold. The album contains classics and original Stevens songs with unique feeling to go along with them. So will the continual stream of new Christmas releases affect our love of classics by the likes of Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald? Probably not. Although, they do provide a bit of fun for the time being and it can be refreshing to hear a different voice or take on holiday favourites. But one thing that is for sure is that as each year brings more festive music to the scene, there is definitely plenty of holiday music to go around. With such a wide variety to choose from, there’s sure to be something to fit everyone’s taste. – Photo: Supplied me Phil Spector, not Phil Spectre.