Like eggnog, holiday music has a tendency to divide people rather than unite them. For every lover of “Frosty the Snowman” there’s an equally ardent hater. Here, a few selections from this year’s crop, in order of their potential for controversy.
A Mary Christmas, Mary J. Blige
Produced by David Foster (the guy behind Celine Dion and Michael Bublé’s best-selling seasonals), Blige presents a collection of soul-infused classics featuring contributions from Barbra Streisand, Jessie J and Marc Anthony. It’s a reimagining that manages to stay true to the old favorites. Hard to imagine how anyone could object t0 this one.
Ho-ho-whoa! rating (out of 10): 1
Wrapped in Red, Kelly Clarkson
Given her wholesome image, we were surprised to learn that this is Clarkson’s first holiday record. Belting out a combination of original tracks and the usual holiday fare, the “American Idol” winner’s vocal range manages to shine throughout, although some may find the album conventional, bordering on dull.
Ho-ho-whoa! rating: 3
Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas
Though the promo video for this album promises, “Nothing says Christmas more than big, hairy men in Santa hats,” we’re not quite sure what to make of Duck the Halls. Down home and deep fried, this record sees the reality TV show family (and guests) performing originals along with twangy classics. Reliably weird.
Ho-ho-whoa! rating: 7