Christmas albums of 2013: the best and worst

It’s Christmas! Or near enough to make two Time Out music critics review all the year’s biggest Yuletide LPs

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  • 'Christmas, With Love' – Leona Lewis

     

    Danielle Goldstein ‘We’ve an avalanche of records to plough through, Alexi. Let’s start with LeLew.’
    Alexi Duggins ‘Judging by Leona’s weirdly bouffy bob on the album cover, apparently she prepares for Christmas by having her hair winched on to her head by a cadre of stylists.’
    DG ‘I’m sure that’s her real hair. Shall we listen?’
    AD ‘Must we?’
    DG ‘Yes. It’s a jaunty, Motown-influenced LP of Crimbo standards, with the occasional original song. It’s quite Mariah Carey-ish. I like it.’
    AD ‘Me too. Not sure about that cover of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”, though. It’s identical to the original.’
    DG ‘What would her “X Factor” mentors say, though? Gary would be all like: “You haven’t made this your own, Leona!”’
    AD ‘I suspect they’d say, “It’s Christmas – some idiots will buy it! Let’s piss it on to the charts from a great height”.’
    THE VERDICT Go easy on the hairspray as you blaze a trail in seasonal soul, Leona.

    Buy 'Christmas, With Love' on Amazon | Download 'Christmas, With Love' on iTunes


  • ‘Let There Be Christmas’ – Santa And His Christmas Crackers

     

    DG ‘The sleeve liner says this is “the very first album by Santa”, and that it was created because Christmas has “become far too commercialised”.’
    AD ‘Bullshit! This is cold-hearted, money-grubbing effluent whose natural home is a Clinton Cards speaker system.’
    DG ‘Oh my God… is this… is this a cover of “Kung Fu Fighting” with the lyrics “Everybody was Christmas shopping”? It is!’
    AD ‘This is so galling, I’m amazed they didn’t go straight for the jugular and claim it was recorded by Jesus.’

    THE VERDICT
    Someone pull the plug on Santa and his Crackers, this is a load of tripe.

     


  • 'A Mary Christmas' – Mary J Blige


    DG ‘At last, a puntastic album of chirpy, R&B-tinged covers!’
    AD ‘All this soulful warbling over orchestras is a bit sentimental, innit? I feel like we should be hugging.’
    DG ‘Yeah, to be fair, where are the bangers?’
    AD ‘Christmas isn’t about banging, Danielle, it’s about hugging (I assume).’
    DG ‘Ha! I think you’ll find that statistically most babies are born in September.’
    AD ‘Wait… My mum told me that babies were made from special cuddles.’

    THE VERDICT
    Grab the tissues, these gushing tracks will have you balling.

     


  • 'Wilde Winter Songbook' – Kim Wilde


    DG ‘The ’80s new wave wonder returns. Unlike the Youtube vid of her squawking ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree’ on a train, at least she remembers the words.’
    AD ‘I prefer­­ her pissed on a train.’
    DG ‘No, this is great. Is that Rick Astley on “Winter Wonderland”?’
    AD ‘It is! I’d love to spend Christmas with Rick…’
    DG ‘Snap out of it, Duggins, you’re missing Wilde singing Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” with her family.’
    AD ‘Yuk.’

    THE VERDICT
    Contemporary and classic covers done well.

     



  • 'Christmas Songs' – Bad Religion


    DG ‘It sounds like a drunk uncle slurring over his dinner.’
    AD ‘Come on, these are veteran punk rockers, giving their all to some anarcho Christmas tunes.’
    DG ‘I guess.’
    AD ‘My mum says it’s not right to listen to thrashing guitars at Christmas, but I still do.’
    DG ‘I agree with Mrs D, to be honest.’
    AD ‘Well screw you and my mum.’
    DG ‘Now we’re just squabbling.’
    AD ‘Ah, the spirit of Christmas…’

    THE VERDICT
    Hard and fast punk to rock around the Christmas tree to. Just don’t ask your mum to join in.

     


'Christmas, With Love' – Leona Lewis

 

Danielle Goldstein ‘We’ve an avalanche of records to plough through, Alexi. Let’s start with LeLew.’
Alexi Duggins ‘Judging by Leona’s weirdly bouffy bob on the album cover, apparently she prepares for Christmas by having her hair winched on to her head by a cadre of stylists.’
DG ‘I’m sure that’s her real hair. Shall we listen?’
AD ‘Must we?’
DG ‘Yes. It’s a jaunty, Motown-influenced LP of Crimbo standards, with the occasional original song. It’s quite Mariah Carey-ish. I like it.’
AD ‘Me too. Not sure about that cover of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”, though. It’s identical to the original.’
DG ‘What would her “X Factor” mentors say, though? Gary would be all like: “You haven’t made this your own, Leona!”’
AD ‘I suspect they’d say, “It’s Christmas – some idiots will buy it! Let’s piss it on to the charts from a great height”.’
THE VERDICT Go easy on the hairspray as you blaze a trail in seasonal soul, Leona.

Buy 'Christmas, With Love' on Amazon | Download 'Christmas, With Love' on iTunes



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