Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell Pop
Hark! The herald angels sing... and so do indie rockers, divas, and TV duck callers; we unwrap the latest seasonal albums
Jingle Belles: Divas We Have Heard On High
Who It’s For The girlfriend whose definition of O Holy Night is a bottle of pinot and the Love Actually DVD.
Why They’ll Like It On Wrapped in Red, Kelly Clarkson swings between reverent (“White Christmas”) and charmingly ring-a-ding retro (“My Favorite Things”). Leona Lewis’ Christmas, With Love gives standbys like “Winter Wonderland” ’60s jangle and takes “Ave Maria” straight to church.
Let It Snow, Y’all: A Country Christmas
Who It’s For The families with chimneys rigged to accommodate Santa’s Stetson.
Why They’ll Like It “Tannenbaum,” meet Trace Adkins: The Louisiana native goes vaguely Celtic on his stately The King’s Gift. Gretchen Wilson aims for a kickier twang on Christmas in My Heart, while Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas features the mallard monarchs beard-bragging on goofs like “Hairy Christmas,” with Luke Bryan. Jewel’s Let It Snow is the decaf peppermint mocha of the group: sweet and sleepy.
Soul To The World: Smooth Operators
Who It’s For The R&B fan who likes some jam with their Christmas jelly.
Why They’ll Like It Mary J. Blige wishes you A Mary Christmas with queenly pomp; Marvin Sapp plays postman on the devotional Christmas Card; and Tamar Braxton hangs the mistletoe on Winter Loversland. The Best Man Holiday soundtrack puts John Legend, Emeli Sandé, and more under the tree; and Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas Album mixes oldies (James Brown, Jackson 5) with newer stuff (Mariah, Ashanti).
Slay Ride: Holiday Rebels
Who It’s For The angerball in the corner who wants to deck more than the halls.
Why They’ll Like It Bad Religion thrash through the classics on Christmas Songs, while the likes of Yellowcard and All Time Low manifest the Warped Tour spirit more gently on Punk Goes Christmas. And someone definitely dosed the eggnog on Psych-Out Christmas, featuring gloriously sludgy carols from Iggy Pop, Dead Meadow, the Cosmonauts, and more.
Chestnuts Roasting: The Classics
Who It’s For The aunt who has a sweater for each day of the Advent calendar.
Why They’ll Like It Traditional is still best on Susan Boyle’s Home for Christmas, Johnny Mathis’ Sending You a Little Christmas, Il Volo’s Buon Natale, and Liz Callaway’s Merry and Bright. Feeling a little saucy after that second glass of sherry? Straight No Chaser’s a cappella Under the Influence: Holiday Edition adds CeeLo and Paul McCartney to the mix.
Nativity Scene(sters): It’s Hip-Mas Time!
Who It’s For The nephews who Instagram those same sweaters ironically.
Why They’ll Like It Acoustic Christmas compiles cuddly hipsters like Zooey Deschanel, whose She & Him croon “The Christmas Waltz.” On Quality Street, wry Brit Nick Lowe zings the season with his signature humor (see: “Christmas at the Airport”). Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brass up the standards on It Feels Like Christmas Time, while Erasure’s Snow Globe delivers arsenic-laced synth-poppers like “Blood on the Snow.” Cheers, kids!