Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Through the grapevine: The best albums for winter break

Ursula Petersen ’15
Staff Writer

It’s time to gear up everyone because it’s that time of year again; yes, it’s Christmas season. The holidays are right around the corner, so I’m sure we can all agree that the stress of gift-shopping and upcoming finals are about to completely overwhelm us all. But no fear as you start to dive into holiday-consumer madness (aka Westfarms), you have the power of music on your side. I’ve come up with a list of the best holiday albums that will make sure you stay calm while going about your holiday to-do/to-buy list, all while assuring that you won’t become a total scrooge.

Michael Bublé: Christmas

Michael Bublé, if you haven’t heard of him, is well known for his Christmas album. In fact, I exclusively listen to Michael Bublé around Christmas. Once the season is over, his songs take a backseat on the library of my iPod. Bublé has appeared on numerous holiday specials on TV, crooning soulful takes on classic Christmas songs. Bublé manages to give each song a jazzy twist, such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” but the Canadian-born singer does so without losing the meaning or sentiment of the song. My personal favorite Bublé take on a Christmas song? “White Christmas” featuring Shania Twain, who performs an absolutely beautiful duet with Bublé.

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas

If anyone tells you they’ve never listened to this album, they’re lying. Seriously, there’s no way someone hasn’t heard Carey’s take on “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Overall, this is the best selling Christmas album of all time, selling 15 million copies worldwide. While Carey herself might be considered a little bit…crazy (remember when she accused Eminem of being obsessed with her?) her Christmas album is a solid cornerstone of childhood Christmas pasts. And while “All I Want” is one of my all-time favorite songs, no matter what time of year it is, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is another solid song that will have you singing along…after you’ve had a few eggnogs, of course.

‘NSYNC: Home For Christmas

How many of you remember your favorite ‘NSYNC member? Most of us will probably say Justin Timberlake, but let’s be honest, we’re just saying that because we don’t really remember the other ones. But even so, Mr. Jessica Biel and his boy band have produced a Christmas album that will forever be a permanent fixture on my shelf of old CDs at home. And hey, while I might not remember my favorite member, I will always remember how hard I fan-girled over the release of “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.” And hey, if you’re one of those early birds who started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, be sure to check out the always classic “Kiss Me at Midnight,” the perfect song for your New Year’s Eve.

John Denver: Rocky Mountain Christmas

Many of you might look at this title and frown in confusion. Who is John Denver? All I can really tell you is that he was a folk-singer from the 1970s, and as a child, this was one of the only Christmas CDs my mom had in the house, besides recordings of the Vienna Children’s Choir. Year after year, I was subjected to John Denver, and eventually realized that I actually loved this album, old as it was, and it wouldn’t really be Christmas time without the annual attempt to sing “Christmas For Cowboys” while decorating the tree. Even though my parents showed me this album, I’m not saying it’s so traditional you won’t enjoy it. Yeah, it might be approximately forty years old, but it was the 70s after all. Be sure to check out my personal favorite song: “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas).”

Boyz II Men: Christmas Interpretations

Surprisingly, this was another one of the Christmas CDs my mother kept in the house. I’ll say this—if you’re a fan of a cappella, this is exactly the album you’ll want to listen to this year. Two members of the trio were students at a high school exclusively for performing arts, and clearly, when you listen to the album, it shows (or rather, it sings). Hands down, the best song on the album is “Silent Night.” This a cappella version of the song was most famously featured on an episode of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and is possibly one of the only renderings of “Silent Night” that I enjoy.

If none of these Christmas tunes really float your boat, make sure to check out these honorable mentions: Lady Gaga: “Christmas Tree”, Hilary Duff: “Santa Claus Lane” (Ah…the CD I begged for in middle school…), Elvis Presley: “Elvis’ Christmas Album”

So this season, be sure to download some of the songs or albums listed above, plug in the iPod, and blast them as you celebrate with an eggnog or as you ‘jingle all the way’ to do your Christmas shopping. Let the season begin!


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