The festive season is fast approaching, meaning that some people surely have already begun their Christmas shopping and preparations.
For everyone else who needs a quick solution for a Christmas gift or a soundtrack to a Christmas party, the inevitable Christmas compilation album is their usual saviour.
100% Hits – Christmas 2013 is an inoffensive, versatile collection that suits all ages, as it has a bit of everything for everyone (though Michael Buble’s Cold Christmas Night sounds out of place during Christmas celebrations in the southern hemisphere).
It has updated covers of Christmas Classics, both modern [Christina Perri’s take on John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War is Over)] and traditional [Jewel’s faithful rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing; Chris Isaak’s fun twist of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Jingle Bell Rock by country stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert; Olivia Newton-John’s Silent Night; Josh Groban’s Little Drummer Boy; Natalie Cole’s The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire); Katherine Jenkins and Nathan Pacheco’s duet of O Holy Night].
The moods around Christmastime are also captured on it, such as the loneliness at Christmastime (Coldplay’s Christmas Lights), the rush to get home for Christmas (Kenny Rogers’ I’ll Be Home for Christmas; Chris Rea’s Driving Home For Christmas) and the child-like wonder associated with the occasion (Michael Crawford’s child-like rendition of Scarlet Ribbons).
There are eccentric additions, such as The Pretenders’ performance of Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas and Bobby Fox’s God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen to spice things up. The latter recalls Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, who contribute the banging album closer The Merry Christmas Medley.
White Christmas by Cee Lo Green and Otis Redding’s Merry Christmas Baby (one of the few older recordings here) also add some soul to the album.
Listeners, young and old, should feel warm, cosy and fuzzy by the end of this compilation. However, I still prefer the ‘Home Alone’ film soundtrack as a Christmas album. That movie is the ultimate Christmas movie for me, and therefore has the definitive versions of those Christmas classics. And no Christmas compilation is complete without Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.