Holiday music doesn’t have to be old, boring, or tacky. And sometimes, there’s just nothing better than your favorite pop stars singing your favorite holiday songs.
This year featured an impressive list of new, refreshing Christmas albums by well-known and unexpected pop artists alike, giving holiday music fans plenty to be thankful for.
Check out our round-up of the five most notable albums:
- “Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album”
Love it or hate it, “Glee” is making an impact on the pop culture and music scenes, so it only makes sense that they would release a holiday album this year. And guess what? It’s really good.
Highlights: “O Holy Night” and “Last Christmas”
- Mariah Carey — “Merry Christmas II You”
Mariah’s first Christmas album is a perennial bestseller, and this festive sequel continues her domination of the Christmas charts. The inclusion of classics like “O Holy Night” and “Auld Lang Syne” make this an instant favorite.
Highlights: Current single “Oh Santa!” and an “extra festive” rendition of her own “All I Want For Christmas Is You”
- Katharine McPhee — “Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You”
This “American Idol” alumna might not have had the best luck in terms of record sales since her time on TV, but it’s not because of a lack of talent. The 10 tracks on McPhee’s first-ever Christmas album are well-sung and beautifully arranged, and definitely worthy of a listen.
Highlights: “Silver Bells” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
- Pink Martini — “Joy to the World”
Pink Martini’s unique sound, which blends jazz, new age and classical music into one intriguing hybrid, lends itself well to modern holiday music, and lead singer China Forbes’ ethereal-yet-slightly-raspy voice deeply enriches every song on the album.
Highlights: “Santa Baby” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
- Jessica Simpson — “Happy Christmas”
Like Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson also released her second Christmas album this year. Simpson sticks mostly to the classics, while also throwing in an interesting (in a good way), slightly rock-and-roll version of “Merry Christmas Baby” as a duet with Willie Nelson.
Highlights: “My Only Wish” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
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